Ok…I guess the only way to do this is jump right in with a timeline. That’s the only way I have been able to recount what happened over an 11 day span…
Tuesday, 9/16/14: I started the day like any other. Scrolling thru Facebook, Instagram and emails with one eye open and the brightness setting turned down on my phone waiting till the clock struck 6am. My husband is usually headed out the door while I am sitting in the sink starting my makeup. (Yes, that is the only way I can do it!) We always ask how the other slept and how we are feeling that morning. (He later told me, though I don’t remember, that I mentioned feeling funny.) I arrived at my office ready to conquer the day, same ole same ole. Drank coffee, talked to patients, met with reps, and laughed with my co-workers. At 3pm, I was sitting at my desk talking to a regular patient when BAM! I felt like someone drove something directly thru my chest and it splintered throughout my back. My right elbow was in intense pain. I stood up and walked around the corner where one of my doctors and two nurses (who happen to be my best friends) were standing. (Funny side note: They were watching the security cameras where a ladder had fallen on one of said nurses while she was crouched down by the washing machine. No worries! She was semi-unharmed and after watching…it was effing hilarious.) I could barely speak. I just remember saying, “it hurts so bad!” and running to the nurse’s office. They said when I finally sat up, they had never seen me in so much pain before. Plus, I was dripping sweat. Thankfully, there is a surgical center just an elevator ride away where there was an EKG machine ready to save my life. After one of the nurses downstairs hooked everything up (meanwhile I am stomping my leopard heels on the bed), they immediately assumed it was hooked up incorrectly. They re-set and ran 2 more test. The next thing I tasted was aspirin. I was then very calmly told that I was going to be ok but they thought it best I head to the ER. After arriving at the hospital I found out the reason for the trip…my EKG was showing I had a heart attack! Um…what?!? One of my best friends (nurse) and one of the sweetest men who also happens to run our surgical center stayed with me the entire time while my poor husband made the terrible hour drive from work not knowing what he was about to walk into. My mom was being constantly updated while packing to jet from Mississippi to Florida along with my aunt and uncle. (Cue the tears as I type!) After a bazillon tests, a million vials of blood and an overnight stay with zero sleep I was told I had suffered a severe heart attack. Again…what the hell did you just say?!? Then I was told the cardiologist would do a Cath (catheterization) where they would enter thru my artery in my groin. Oh, and I would be awake. Of course, what is the first thing I think…ugggghhhh I didn’t get to shave last night! (Too much info?) Fast forward thru all of the medical mumbo jumbo of the cath process and they inform me the cause of my heart attack. I had 75% blockage in my LAD (left anterior descending) also known as “the widow maker.” Charming. This resulted in 2 stents. I spent quite sometime in cath recovery laying super SUPER still. Cool. Real cool. The night was spent being checked on, monitored and mainly…awake. After being discharged I headed home to rest. I was so happy to be home. Honestly, the next few days were kind of a blur. I spent time with family and friends relaxing and just enjoying being alive. But, at this point I had not yet wrapped my mind around what had actually happened.
Saturday, 9/20/14: I woke up feeling exhausted but ok. At 9am, I sat on the couch, took 2 sips of coffee and here we go again. My arm started cramping, hands began to tingle and the pain began to build in my chest and back again. To the ER we go! This time around started off dramatic once again. EKG was off the charts and the needles were flying. My cardiologist ruled out a second heart attack because A. all of my other arteries were completely clear and B. the bazillion of test said I didn’t. I did have some pain while he was examining my abdomen which result in a CT scan. Thankfully this scan did not show any major issues however it did show a new problem. Sarcoidosis http://bit.ly/1v2FuMQ in my lungs and spleen. Again, another night in what my husband and I began jokingly calling “the resort.” Again, I was discharged to head home. On Tuesday, my mom took me to see my general practitioner just to update her on the craziness of the week before. I was eager to swing by my office to see everyone and let them see me and see that I was ok. I could immediately feel the love which felt amazing. The love I felt the entire week was immeasurable. The visits, prayers, the cards, the hugs, messages, my house full of flowers…it just filled my heart. (Pun intended.)
Wednesday, 9/24/14: My mom had left after my appointment Tuesday and Nathan went to work so this was the first morning I woke up alone. I was ok, still in shock, but ok. Nathan told me he was heading home at lunch which I was really excited about because even though it had been less than 24 hours I missed him and my mom so much. We had lunch at the house together and he sat in the kitchen to start working from home. I suddenly got a wave of tired and went to lay in bed. Damn…tell me this isn’t happening again. First the arm, then the chest, then the back. I let Nathan know what was going down and he immediately jumped into action. I placed my Nitro http://1.usa.gov/1ubrC4Z pills under my tongue. According to the doc, after pill 3, time to head to the ER. Not going to lie, I was being stubborn as $#!t. I did NOT want to go back to the hospital. I don’t know that I have ever seen my husband’s face so serious and I knew I did not have a choice. Once we arrived, the pain was not going away. You see, with the other 2 episodes after about 45 minutes the pain began to subside. So not the case here. It was intense, I was nauseated and I just wanted it all to stop. I was later admitted to ICU. I had the BEST nurse. He was so kind, knowledgeable and respectful. He knew we were scared and wanted to take care of us. (My friend and I would later refer to him as Dad Jeff.) In the midst of all of the chaos, I was told I would have another Cath. The next day, they got me all ready to rock and roll in the Cath Lab. Round two on the table. In recovery I had another amazing nurse. He was known as cath Jeff. (Jeff must be a popular name for good nurses.) He kept me comfortable, especially after I found out I would spend the next 8 hours laying completely still. (The IV of happiness kept me comfortable too.) I was by no means able to process anything at this point. I did see my cardiologist come in and bring Nathan away. I was later told that I had what was known as Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection http://mayocl.in/YQd9yX This was something else that totally baffled everyone. The heart attack, the Sarcoids, the SCAD (the now ELEVEN medications I take a day)…none of it made sense. I am 29 years old, in good health, with no family history, markers normal, cholesterol great…why did this happen.
I was discharged on Friday and honestly felt better than I did all week. I returned home to rest. It wasn’t until Saturday that it all hit me. Like a ton of bricks. As we sat on the couch watching football, I realized…I honestly had no idea what had really transpired over the past 11 days. Nathan and Rachel sat with me and began to tell me everything that had happened and everything the doctors had told them. The two lines that made me finally understand the magnitude of the situation…my husband said when he sat down with my cardiologist to look at the SCAD on the computer screen he asked him, “Is this life threatening?” to which my doctor replied, “She survived the life threatening part.” Tears began to roll down my face (and still are now). I was not the only one that had a heart attack. I was not the only one that survived this. Everyone who loves me had their hearts broken each time my chest began to ache, each time a new diagnosis was read. I wasn’t the strong one. They were. More friends joined us and we spent the rest of the day relaxing, laughing and enjoying life. By the time I got in bed, Nathan was already asleep. As I laid there I got a sudden surge of fear. I was so used to being hooked up to monitors watching my every breath and heart beat and now here I was on my own. I began to cry. Within a few minutes I took a deep breath. I was not alone. I had so many people praying for my health and wellness, praying for me, praying for Nathan and praying for our family. This entire time I have been surrounded with love and prayer. I knew I was safe. I was ok.
This journey is not over. We still do not have all of the answers to our questions, but hopefully they will come soon. Positivity is key in all of this. We are so blessed to have all of your love and support. We truly could not do this without you. I will never be able to thank you enough.
Please take the time to learn about heart disease in woman here, https://www.goredforwomen.org/
True story…I had red lipstick on until I went to bed the night of my heart attack. (This was in the ER first time around.)
Never go anywhere without your handbag!