Oct 8
elstonizer , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Two Widow Makers , same time

I had quit smoking nearly 4 yrs ago, had been going to the gym 3-4 times a week for 2 yrs, been going to Weight Watchers 2 yrs   ( down 45lbs ), was very active, physically around the house, and retired for almost 5 yrs, 62 yrs old this December. I thought I was doing everything correctly to insure good health. I was rarely ever sick. I did return to work as a contractor at my old job for the last 4 months, part time a few days a week.

 On June 17, I took the day off to be home for a delivery of a new coal stove. While waiting I kept pretty busy doing things,  I weeded my garden for a few hours, then I went to an area I was filling in with dirt  and shoveled dirt for maybe 2 hours. Then the stove came, 600lbs.   got the old stove out of the house and the new one in place..  but not uncrated. I had called for a cement truck ( 3 yds ) to pour a footing for a root cellar I was building. He came around 2:30 , chuted the cement in my forms, and I then proceeded to skreet and trowel the cement till it was smooth and level........It was 87 degrees out and humid.
   Next thing I know, Just as I finished up,  I got chest pains, and was short of breath.  Went in the house said I didn't feel so good, and tried to sit it out , walk it off.... after maybe 30 - 35 mins nothing helped.  My daughter rushed me to the hospital, in record time....
   I walked into the ER with my daughter, told them I think I had a heart attack, next thing I knew, I was laid out with lots of people working on me.......  then, after about 35 mins , I was rushed by ambulance to another hospital 51 miles away.
  They took me right in and I was on the operating table nearly 4 hrs. First thing they did was put a pump in my heart to help it ... ( through my groin ) I ended up with 6 stints in my heart.
I was in intensive care 6 days, in the hospital 10 days.
I HAD A MASSIVE HEART ATTACK TWICE AT THE SAME TIME , LEFT AND RIGHT WIDOW MAKERS. I found out the right side - 50 % don't make it to the hospital, and left side - only 10% survive it...... HOW LUCKY AM I ?
  The doctor said, if I had it 3 yrs ago , I would never have made it, thats how technology has advanced. Worse hes ever seen....Yikes !!!!
I have been wearing a LIFE VEST since I left the hospital on June 27, and still am wearing it for maybe 3 more weeks... Dr says it a precaution....
My meds have been changed a number of times since the attacks, and this past week I have felt like my old self. Still can't do much, Drs orders.  ITS CRAZY TO SAY, BUT I FEEL LIKE NOTHING EVER EVEN HAPPENED TO ME, Except some shortness of breath, that seems to be getting better every day.
 Two more weeks, then a EKG to see how I am doing, then hopefully cardiac rehab....

I am pretty sure I was suffering from depression about my condition and the fate of my future, these past couple of weeks.  After doing some research , I have found some blogs and forums written by survivors of similar attacks. That lessened my worries some.

Thank You, 

Its now been 110 days since my Heart Attacks........  I wore that LifeVest for 98 days........ Luckly, I did not need an implanted defibrillator.  My 
ejection fraction (EF) was found to be 42 , from my last MRI.  I am hoping that I will be able to improve that number through diet and exercise.  Has anyone improved their number over time ?   My next Dr visit is in 5 days............ Then , I hope to find out if I will need Cardiac Rehab, and if I can return to work, still don't know for sure what my limitations are...... I am and basically always heve been, somewhat overweight. I struggle with it every day.... and now it is so important that I lose weight.   It is so hard........ I have been eating mostly plant based foods, and vegan type "meats" , I have had some chicken, and turkey, but can't seem to lose.......maybe its the Meds ???? 
How do others cope with this ? 
looking forward to any suggestions.

  • GSergent
    Mine is a similar story fifteen years ago, working on property cutting brush, no pain just sweating and hard breathing blamed it on heat and working. Went to home and wife said I didn't look right, when I laid across my bed it dawned on me it might be more, from some first responder training I had taken. Told my wife and like your daughter she set a new record getting to hospital. I was med-flighted to a larger hospital where four stents were put in, widow maker 95% blocked. My EF is 40, which everyone is alright with since I am now 70. Everything was great for fifteen years then last December I passed out and was taken to ER where it was found my heart wasn't beating normally, I now have a pacemaker for bradycardia and I am again doing great. The pacemaker monitors the heart 24/7 and the last download showed mild atrial fibrillation, new med was added and doing fine. WE are fortunate to live at a time that advances in heart care is much better than 40 years ago when several of my relatives died of heart failure. I too battled weight most of my life, usually 225 240, but now consistently 195-200. No diet they don't work, mild exercise (walking and chores at home), balanced diet with normal portions and the biggest change I made was for another reason. I have a moderately enlarged prostate that caused me to wake several times a night for bathroom. Made it a strict rule to not eat or drink anything after 6:00 in the evening, sleep much better and last most of my weight after doing that. I would imagine depression happenings to everyone after a chronic illness, did me more than once, I also have crohn's disease and a seizure disorder. A heart attack always happens to other people not me! But it did and it was an adjustment, each time I went through I would think, I'm alive and it beats the alternative! There are so many people I know, family and friends that didn't make it, soon I began to feel I was fortunate to have the health I have, fortunate to have the doctors, nurses, facilities, family and friends that have helped through all this. Yes indeed I am blessed!
  • elstonizer
    Wow, Thank you so much for the encouragement...you help restore faith in the fact that my life isn't over and I can certainly look more to the future..... Your after 6 comment hit home big time to me.... I do get up a lot at night to use the restroom....... I am going to do that very same thing ! Have you eliminated any type of foods ? or just moderate what and how much you eat ? I see a lot of comments of going Vegan, or the Mediterranean diet..... after heart attacks.....Can and will the EF number improve with diet and exercise ? or will it never get any better? Thanks for your response, exactly what I needed.... Mike
  • mingo1
    21 years ago I had a big one! Widow Maker and defibrillator 3 moths later. My ejection fraction is 28%. But...life is good and I do most everything. A few ablations, but no other heart related surgeries. I do watch my weight and do need to walk much more as the weight goes up in the hot months of Phoenix. I have had some 30 other surgeries and have aches and pains, but am glad to be fairly normal. Bad things do happen, but please look at all the good things that are to come. I wish you all the very, very best.
  • shirleymom
    Twelve years ago, I had a massive heart attack, died twice on the way to the hospital, had 3 emergency stents that day, had another heart attack, and six weeks later I had six bypasses. Twelve years!!!! Wow. I feel great and have only dealt with edema once and an occasional chest pain. When I was in the waiting room at my surgeon's office, there were other people who had six bypasses, but they were very sick. I felt great and also felt a little guilty. I now consider myself lucky and cherish this time with my grandchildren. I walk with a cane because of my back (I grew up on a horse), but otherwise, feel great. Enjoy your life. you have been given a second life just like I received. Smile! Do things you want to do. Seek your passion!
  • hiflier12
    Mike, Oct. 21, 2015 I had open heart surgery and 3 by passes. All 3 were on the left side and were 99%, 98%, and 95% blocked. I had one night to be taken to the hospital because I could not breathe, and had been getting worse over time. I am now 72 and never had a major operation or event. That night they took 2000 ml (2 liters) of liquid off my lungs and ordered a heart cath that discovered the problem. I am a type 2 diabetic as well and have had COPD and Congestive Heart Failure for some time. I had smoked heavy for over 50 years. I would suggest some things to you. I am overweight by about 50 lbs also. None of us here is capable of advising you how to lose or what to eat. You really need to discuss that with your cardiologist as each person has things that need to be taken into account different. Just going vegan is not always a good thing, as any heavy starches such as potatoes change quick to sugars. Please discuss this and your losing weight with your Dr. also because some meds can effect that as well. I have to take Lasik to get rid of fluids from the CHF and monitor my weight that I do not gain. It is a life change, and I lost 45 lbs when I had my operation, and heart rehab afterwards. My lovely wife died last March after battling inoperable lung cancer for 7 years. So now I am trying to be a cook without the great guidance of her. And it is hard I have found to cook for just one. Do not be worried about depression right after your operation, it is very normal in a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. Mine was I wanted to get healed now, but glad I followed Dr. orders. Keep a positive outlook and keep as active as your doctor will allow. And stay away from salt, I am limited to 2 grams a day. A lot of boxed foods, yes even veggies have tons of salt in them for preservative and now I always read the labels to see how much, and try to use fresh whenever I can to avoid that. Again ask your Dr. about a diet, losing weight, exercise for you. The very best to you Mike. Hope this is of some help to you and/or others.
  • elstonizer
    hiflier12, Thank you so much for your encouraging words, I am planning on doing exactly what you have suggested. As a matter of fact, I see my doctor tomorrow, and I have tons of questions for him. I will discuss diet, and exercise, cardiac rehab..... etc. I have been feeling so good, its hard to believe what I went through, but I know that I did. Sorry for your loss, that has to be one of the hardest things a person has to go through. having folks like you respond to me has been a blessing. It has helped me realize that that quality of my life can go on for years yet, and that I should not be afraid, but that I need to look to the future. wish me luck tomorrow, I haven't seen the doctor for a while, and last time I was still wearing that lifevest,,,,,,,,,,,now , Thankfully that is a memory !
  • Ireneb
    I like what you say about seek your passion. I have always tried to do that and didn't lack motivation. Now I do. I may be just tiring of the chf, bypasses and scents. Just had my sixth one last month. Ever just get sick of being Sick? Seems in my head at night, I plan to do things but then get so tired when I try the next day. I wonder if this will go away.
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