I want to give a head’s up to all you ladies out there, both younger and older ladies.
As many of you are already aware from a previous post, I suffered a heart attack last March. According to my cardiologist this was actually my second heart attack. I was not aware I’d had the first one. I knew I’d been unwell for quite a few years, suffered from a lot of pain. I had gone to my family doctor, had EKG’s, and other tests. They were all normal. My heart had grown a new artery, thus saving my life.
This time around, I never dreamed I was having a heart attack, thought it was heartburn or gas. As before my blood pressure, pulse, heart rhythm and EKG were all normal. I wasn’t short of breath, just burning in the center of my chest. It was not the big dramatic event most of us think of when we think of heart attack. Although if I’d not called an ambulance and not gone to the ER, it no doubt it would have become one. In the ER, they suspected I might be having a gall bladder attack, but thank goodness for the young physician who took the time to run different tests for the heart as well.
I was diagnosed by the ER doctor after running a series of blood tests over several hours. Apparently there’s an enzyme that’s released into your blood stream when your heart is in distress and it took several hours for this to become elevated enough for them to realize I was indeed having a heart attack. I was transferred to another hospital and had a heart cath and stent treatment.
So if you are having any kind of problem, burning or pain in your chest, upper back, arms, neck-discomfort or tiredness when walking any distance, climbing stairs…whatever, please go get checked out and be persistent even if your tests are all normal. See a cardiologist not just your family doctor. Since visiting my cardiologist, I’ve met so many young women who have had heart attacks and not from some obscure heart problem, but from blocked arteries just like me. The cardiologist diagnosed me and them with a genetic condition where your body produces too much cholesterol from birth and your liver doesn’t function quite right so can’t handle it correctly.
Since last March, I’ve managed to get off my cholesterol meds as well as my diabetic meds. Although I may have to go back on a lower dose of the diabetic meds at some point. Hoping to keep the cholesterol numbers where the doc wants so I can stay off those. Making good diet and exercise choices may not be fun and may not save my life, but if it keeps me off certain meds, I can deal with it. Hate taking meds of any kind. Lifestyle changes are never easy, but the thing I’ve had the most problem with is overcoming the sadness and anxiety. For months I felt like all the joy and hope had been sucked out of my life. Like I had no future, so couldn’t look forward to anything. Most of the people I know who have gone through this are on antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds, but my doctor didn’t want me to start those unless I wasn’t able to cope without them. I finally just made up my mind that this is my life, such as it is, and I’d better make the most of each and every day of it, no matter how long or short the time may be. That doesn’t mean I don’t still have fear or anxiety or sadness, but with God’s help, I push it away and do something that makes me happy or takes me away for a while, read a book, paint a picture. And a good walk always helps too.
I still have changes to make, increase the exercise, stay on my diet, control my blood sugar–but for now I’m doing okay. Seriously ladies and gentleman too, if you are having a problem don’t wait. Get it checked out. If it’s nothing–Great! If it is something, you’ll get treatment and feel good knowing you did what you needed to do to save your life. Most of us have a tendency to think these things happen to others not to us. It can happen to anyone. One of the things that I hear from people who find out I had a heart attack is wow, but you’ve always been so active and didn’t eat bad stuff. It’s like we think only 60+ couch potatoes who stuff down french fires, chips and fried chicken daily can have heart disease. Not so. I know plenty of couch potatoes who eat nothing but bad stuff and are very heart healthy and I know 30 year olds who are physically fit and still have clogged arteries. It’s not fair, but then little in life is. You live the life you’re given and deal because you can do nothing less.