Mar 14
superfletch21
superfletch21 , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

The Journey Ahead

2 years ago at the age of 39 life changed.  After working a long Sunday (my day off) I climbed into bed at about 10pm.  I had been experiencing what I thought was acid reflux/heartburn for weeks now.  The heart burn started again and then both wrists started to hurt pretty bad.  The pain moved to both elbow and eventually both shoulders.  The pain in my chest worsened and I begain to to sweat.  I started to pace the house between the bedroom and kitcken sink, I must have drank gallons of water, I was so thirsty.  After about an hour or so I finally decided to have my wife take me to the ER.  Sure enough I was having a full blown heart attack.  I was air lifted to the next largest city and in the morning recieved a stent for a 98% blocked artery.  I was told over and over how lucky I was to be alive due to the severity of the heart attack.  After that I began to recover and feel better until a few months ago.  I begain to have shortness of breath and waking up choking at night.  I thought it was just my asthma acting up and eating too late at night.  It was close to my annual follow up with my cardiologist and I went in for an echocardiogram a week before the visit.  Well it turns out my ejection fraction (EF) went down from 47% to 27%.  This past Friday I was in the cath lab again.  They found no blockages, I guess kind of unfortunately, I was hoping they would fix me) so now my medicines have all been changed around for now.  I guess I am pretty terrified because now the initial diagnosis is heart failure.  There is now talk of a pacemaker/difibulator possibly in the near future.  Both of my grandfathers died at a young age from HF and I watched my mother die at 58 from HF.  Here is sit at 42 wondering if I will see my 50th birthday.  Struggling to accept the journey I have been given.....
8 Comments
  • OLDGUY
    OLDGUY,
    For what it's worth. I am fitted with a biv-icd, crt-d, or if you prefer biventricular pacemaker with defib. At 53 I 100% occluded after having a prolonged heart attack for almost a week. (Trust me it is possible. - gp misdiagnosed as muscle issue in my back.) I was in a major stemi for over an hour and a half. They did and emergency stent just to save my life and reopen the artery. My ef was at about 30% post heart attack. After several echo's and a few months they decided that my ef was dropping and medicines were not helping. I was doing good to walk around inside my house. Fast forward to after device - feel great most days. Some days I get a little tired and sleepy around noon but for the most part I can do most of what I want when I want and I am only 2 weeks after device receipt. My Ep says that Ii can expect improvement for up to a year and based on my response to the device I can expect to live at or near a full life. So please try the pacemaker they are suggesting. It can give you your life back.
  • neilrobin
    neilrobin,
    About two years ago I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF) after returning from a South Pacific cruise. I also have diabetes, AFib and high blood pressure but controlled. My ejection fraction was 50% and couldn't climb more than one flight of stairs w/o stopping. My doctors did a nuclear test using Technecium 99m and I was so radioactive for about a day that I think I glowed in the dark. My gieger counter overloaded when held out in front of me. Also, sometimes when I laid down I had difficulty breathing, a classic sign of CHF. The bottom line was I had CHF and I needed to learn how to take care of it. We all will perish in time so I realized that I have to make the best of whatever time I have left. I learned that mortality of CHF patients was obviously higher over a healthy person but people have lived with it for years if they do the right things. Minimize salt intake, eat healthy low fat meals and involve yourself in a regular exercise program. I joined a gym (Anytime Fitness) and spend two active hours every other day doing Cardio exercises. This not only helps my CHF but also the diabetes. I'm 77 years old and looking forward to extended travel later this year for as long as I can. I will never climb mountains again but that's OK. Do the right thing as the life you extend will be yours! Good luck and stay with your rehab, Neil
  • nitro1
    nitro1,
    The other 2 comments are excellent. I'm 77 and my STEMI was a year ago..took 5 stents and a balloon. I might add that my EF is 24%...and so of course, have CHF..BUT talking about watching your salt intake...that means less than 1,000mg/day. That's RESTRICTED sodium intake! Made all the difference with me. I was able to get off the Lasix. Check labels..the big change is no processed food. With that low an EF, my MD's suggest no cardio...just enough to keep the body in shape. I'm on 150mg of Metoprolol and Losarten 25mg. Also have a dual channel defib ICD that is set for a pulse no lower than 60. Without it my pulse was 40 to 45. The Meto keeps my BP around 90/50. I'm doing real fine for a 77yr old... EF 24%. I do pool walking and light weight training (2.5lbs each hand). But then I'm not expected to do much at 77 as you are at 41. BTW, I'm a Vietnam Vet and the VA is taking excellent care of me. At 41..I see your point..but you should have a long life ahead. Take your meds....have the ICD...that gives security. It's the paramedic in your chest! Listen to your body. Good luck!!
  • Lace
    Lace,
    Hi I a 50 year old I have CHF and I am on Coumadin I have a pacemaker and I have 4 opened have surgery I have the the 4 one I changed the marital valve again and the Tricuspid valve . God Blessing Always
  • mingo1
    mingo1,
    I had a LAD heart attack in 1993 and an ICD/pacemaker the same year. I have lived with an EF of 28% since that time and am 69 years old. I can do just about anything I want except strenuous exercise. I know that having this device seems like a tough road ahead and there are some bumps. Having had several shocks over all these years has saved my life and they only hurt for a second. Live strong for sure.
  • ActiveLarry
    ActiveLarry,
    Too many people think a stent or two fixes the heart after a lifetime of bad diet, inappropriate exercise, excess excitement. Adrenaline is not your friend. To save your life, yes. To get hyped up about sports, politics, or anything else, no. Its corrosive to your arteries. Their habits got them there, so without changed habits, problems will continue to show up. Low salt diet ? If it comes in a bag or box or bottle, it may be highly salted, moderate to highly. The label may say 560 milligrams of salt, but is that the jar, or one small serving ? The serving count is listed at the top. Multiply servings times sodium content. Five servings at 560 mans 3,300 mg in the whole jar. VERY low fat diet ? That means only very lean meat, and no dairy, especially no cheese or ice cream, which are "foods" comprised mainly of saturated fat. In the case of ice cream, throw in sugar, too. NO fried foods ? Yup. Frying alters oils creating transfats. Attacks your good cholesterol, boosts your bad cholesterol. Oops. Not enough anti-oxidants in your diet. Please spell out S-H-O-R-T-E-N M-Y L-I-F-E . Exercise too hard, blast that CO2 through your arteries, its corrosive too. We can tolerate some, but not in large amounts or for a long time Your doctor will direct you to find a personal trainer, likely not well versed in arterial health, and a nutritionist, likely unaware of the top research in neutriceutical foods that have a DIRECT or indirect impact on arterial health. My cardiologist said my heart looked like that of a 100 year old man, said I had three years to live, no matter what I did. Because most people do almost nothing, learn almost nothing, do ... whatever. That was 11 years ago, and I am doing fine. I am better, because I did do almost everything, and continue to. Heart Disease is rarely genetic. Not using our brains to help maintain our health is not genetic, but it looks that way. Families have habits. Stress can be very harmful. Did you get it ? Do you give it ?
  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie,
    I am excited to share that we have developed a comprehensive heart failure patient education center http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartFailure/Heart-Failure_UCM_002019_SubHomePage.jsp that you are welcome to use including a new heart failure management tool http://www.ksw-gtg.com/aha-heartfailure/ . I am very glad that you are here and sharing your story with us! I look forward to getting to know you more. :) Best Katie
  • shirleyuno1
    shirleyuno1,
    I took at 39 had a heart attached. Divorce mother of three I was terrified. I did have a blockage they was cleared by angioplasty. Life went on, felt pretty good, lost weight and was walking four miles a day. 10 years later I. Was vey tired, just had no energy. On annual appointment with cardiologist before dawn a stress test and found myEf was 25 and I could drop dead at any time. A pacemaker/difibulator was putting and I am so happy I have. It hassavedmylife more than once and my Ef got to 35-45! After 7 years my eart was going into tacna rid and I was put on a new med and things settled down, however in Jan 2017 I rand out do the new med and just couldn't find the time to go get the necessary blood work to get it renewed. Big mistake, as a result I had a heart attack at the end of Jan. Which has brought my Ef to 20-15. Needless to say I am going on long term disability, something I am not certain about. Moral of story, If they want to put in a pacemaker, do it, it will save your life and do what they're says and don't worry about work, your health is more important. Hang in there!
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