My Heart and Monorail Stent...
We must trust our instincts. I've been losing energy and feeling fatigued for several years. I nap every day when I come home from work. I've been tested for thyroid disease, Vitamin D deficiency, sleep apnea, and I've even had a stress test and EKG in the last year. In the past few months I've had difficulty going up a flight of stairs, and sometimes have trouble getting a good, deep breath.
I am a 49-year old woman. In the evening on December 15, 2010 I had discomfort, or sensation in my mid-back on the right side, like a soreness or muscle ache. I had two episodes that lasted no more than five or ten minutes. It slightly referred to my right neck/jaw but I didn't think that much of it because when I'm stressed out I clench my teeth at night and it passed quickly. The next day I had the ache in my back again and the pain went up my right side and to my eye. I thought it was a migraine. Over the weekend, I was fatigued and achy, the discomfort on and off, but it was making me anxious.
11 p.m. Monday night Dec. 20, the discomfort turned to pain that felt like a "brain freeze" in my back, I was nauseous, anxious and clammy. I thought for sure I had some intestinal issues...or gall bladder or kidney. I went to the emergency room, and they drew blood and ran an EKG (which they said was normal). My cardiac enzymes came back slightly elevated, and because of that, they admitted me. Cardiac enzyme tests are run every 8 hours for at least three cycles. They did a chest x-ray, CT scan with contrast to check for blood clots, and an ultrasound of my organs - all normal. The second enzyme test was elevated a little more, but the third one was down lower than the first, so they released me with instructions to follow up with my primary care physician and a cardiologist for a stress test with contrast. The cardiologist couldn't get me in until January 3, but on the 23rd I saw a fill-in PCP for my doctor who is on maternity leave.
He was skeptical of the emergency dept ordering all the tests they did..."running up the insurance bill." On my diagnosis he wrote "Headache, Mixed Tension," and prescribed a combo anti-anxiety/muscle relaxer to "get me through the
holidays." As I left the office, he told me to get a massage; which I did that afternoon. Well, Christmas Eve into Christmas Day was the worst. I had the pain for at least 2 hours straight in the middle of the night. I know now I should have gone back to the ED then, but I suffered through it waiting for the muscle relaxers to work. Around 10 pm Christmas night I went back to the hospital.
I was taken immediately for an EKG which showed changes. The ED doctor told me he was calling a Code Heart and the Cardiac Intervention Team immediately came into place (like eight people) and a CI Specialist was called in. Within minutes I had oxygen, IV lines in both arms, cardiac leads and De-Fib pads on me, and the pulse points in my feet and ankles marked. Everything moved VERY fast and my blood pressure went to 210/170. The CI doctor arrived and took me to the cath lab for an angiogram. Next thing I know, I woke up in ICU and was told I had been in the midst of a heart attack, I had a 99% blockage in my left anterior descending artery and that a stent was put in. There is no doubt in my mind that this doctor saved my life.
So, now I begin let all this sink in, and to heal. On echo my heart function shows "near" normal but has damage on the heart walls. This could resolve, or not. I will be off work for at least three weeks. No strenuous activity, no housework, no lifting, etc. Denial is big; acceptance is hard. Even though I'm well aware of my family history of heart disease, I guess there was always a part of me that thought I'd avoid it until I was at least in my 60's, which is when my parents experienced their first cardiac events. I believe strongly in the body/mind connection, so I'm trying to think positive thoughts and send lots of love and acceptance to my new stent. I am optimistic that I will soon feel better than before and have more energy, which I've been lacking for years. I accept ALL good thoughts and prayers. It has been proven that people who are prayed for recover and heal faster than those who are not. It's been a very emotional time for me, my family, and friends.