I just had a heart attack!

nancyinmichFebruary 18, 2011

on Tuesday as I was driving myself home from work.

I went straight to the hospital once I felt the strange new pain radiate down my arm. At the hospital, I was processed in minutes and rushed to an EKG. The lady then rushed off to "have the doctor sign off on it" and when she returned, she RAN my wheelchair to the new area for receiving ambulances and into a "resuscitation room." The name alone scared me!

There, a team of 8 to 10 met me and asked if I could stand, told me to take off my top and bottom, and while I was doing that, a lady whipped off my bra. I lay down and a very choreographed dance went on around me for several minutes. The doctor actually had a podium, I think. She had welcomed me as my flying wheelchair arrived. They asked questions and I answered, they redid the EKG, and it became very clear that something was happening. The doc said I was very smart to come right to the hospital.

As things calmed and they said they were admitting me, one called out and asked if I was going to the cath lab. The doc said no - to ICU. Whoa, Jenny! I asked them to look for my husband, "can you find me a husband along the way?" At which they all joked with me about the hospital being a bad place to be husband hunting. I went into a regular ER room for a while and we did find my DH as we got there. Soon I was up in the ICU!

Eventually I learned that the initial EKG was "suspicious," the initial blood work did not show any heart muscle damage,

and we were not sure I had a heart attack, but the 1:00 am bloodwork did show it. So I did have a heart attack. A cardiologist saw me and said I would likely have a cardiac cath in the morning. I was up all night, kind of too anxious and blown away to sleep.

Would you believe you can now use your cell phone and even your laptop in ICU? I spent the night on the Garden Web and Petfinder, just reading and skipping around. It was like a regular all-nighter on-line, and surprisingly comforting!

They did a cath at 11 am and the doc was shocked to see that my coronary arteries are immaculate. No plaque. No cholesterol build-up. But one tiny artery off to the side did show a 90% blockage down where it was too narrow to do anything about. "Tortuous," he described it to my DH later, a bit of a twist, some sharp curve, and maybe something blocking from inside, too.

In the end, I had a small heart attack in the interior wall. I seem to have a few risk factors for heart attacks, but not the ones you most think about. I have never smoked, drink only occasionally and not much, no cocaine use in my past, cholesterol was low (140 to 170) up until the last few years. Blood pressure was occasionally high at the doc's office, but not at home. BUT I am quite obese. My sister (who also has only obesity as a risk factor) had a tiny heart attack almost a year ago.) Neither parent had heart attacks. My other risk factors are that I have been stressed lately at work, I have several autoimmune diseases that leave me in a constant state of inflammation, and I (gulp!) have white hair. Never heard of the white hair one before, but found it today on line.

I am not looking for a list of "I am so sorry" comments in the style of the kitchen forum "Lovely, such a nice use of your space!" replies. I guess I just want to tell you. It has got me kind of flummoxed. I am only just 52! It has been rattling around my brain all day as I try to figure out how my life will change, and how my vision of myself will change, and who will I tell (my nursing home clients?) about it.

It also makes me wonder how much do we NOT know about heart attacks. The doc said, as he showed me the image on the fluoroscope, that he was shocked to see how clean my arteries are. It sounds almost like they do not know why I had a heart attack. Heck - a week ago I was shoveling snow and breathless outside in 15 degree weather! Why did I not have it then? I really think there is a whole other part of heart disease that is not cholesterol and high blood pressure that the docs don't even investigate because there is no drug-maker financing the research.

Oh, yea, since the AMA or AHA, or whatever the organization is that determines these things, has a protocol for treating heart disease, I DO get to take a beta blocker, an ace inhibitor, a statin and Plavix. Two meds for BP (and mine is not high), one for cholesterol (and mine is not high enough to warrant medicating it otherwise) and a blood thinner (for someone who already bruises like a ripe Georgia peach) because research says that this is what works for most people with heart attacks. Hello? Most people with heart attacks also have blockages! What do you do to treat those of us without them?

Have any of you had a similar experience? Any insights? It is so weird to be walking around today so different from what I was on Tuesday.

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Am amazed at your foresight. I might have let this go as just "something" else. It looks like your are in good hands with the doctor.

Oddly, with your story, I realized that there are no women I know who have had a heart attack or stroke. While this is still being identified as the #1 medical concern for us.

Am assuming they did not find Type II Diabetes with the amount of testing done. This is very hard on the heart if one has it, especially not taken care of.

Wish you well. It must be a frightening thought for you every day.

Just to add a thought, don't feel bad about responses. Few people check this side. I've never figured out why and it has been this way for years.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 5:45AM
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Wow, Nancy! Bravo for driving to the ER.

I know a man who called his wife to tell her he was having chest pains (and other symptoms) and said he thought he'd take a nap. I told her to go home immediately and get him to a doctor. Can you believe she wasn't going to? After prompting, she took him to the cardiologist, who sent him home....and he had a heart attack on the way back to the house!

It sounds like you worked with a fabulous set of doctors and nurses. Isn't it amazing how a "pill" is always the first response? I've always wondered about that, too.

There are 8 women in my area at work, all under 50 except for one, and 4 of them are on BP meds. It must be more common than I thought.

Emagineer, I never knew about the relationship of Diabetes. Thanks for sharing that! DH's mom is diabetic, and we can't get her moving and shaking.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 8:20AM
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Nancy I am so glad you got attention and a good work up right away.

I am with you on all the meds. Don't even get me started on doctors.

WE had a good friend have a heart attack while visiting us and they were way back up on the mountain riding their snowmobiles. He rode out and drove back to CA the next day. Finally three days later he also drove himself to the hospital and was admitted and had to have a stint. I do not know about what meds he might be on afterwards.

I do know he has never had any more trouble and lives life like this never happened. I happened to ask him the last time he was up here about having any more trouble with his heart and he said he has been perfectly fine.

Wishing the same for you.

Now I am going to go look up white hair???


    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Nancy- How scary! And good for you to go right in to the hospital. Many people would have been too afraid and justified going home for a while, to see if they felt better. It takes courage to go to the hospital, especially by yourself!

My grandmother was overweight and never had diabetes, but she did have heart problems. She did not have a heart attack, but she did have a pacemaker and took blood thinners, high blood pressure medicine, etc. Her blood pressure had always been low, until she got into her 50s.

One thing to watch on blood thinners is your diet. Lettuce and some other foods will also thin your blood, but I'm sure your doctor has given you a list of these foods (it's probably also on the Internet).

I think stress is a HUGE reason people have health problems and all the doctors tell you is don't get stressed or you need to reduce your stress. Oh, that's easy...I'll just tell everyone and everything that's stressing me out...STOP, I'm not supposed to have this much stress!!! :)

What really helps me (and I need to do more of it, since I've fallen off a bit since the holidays) is yoga...even the breathing can be calming. It's not a high exercise program, it's just breathing, to begin with. You can start doing some slow, easy stretching exercises, as you feel like it. There are some good tapes out there (mine are so old they're VCRs...LOL) but they do help. Finding your 'inner calm' so to speak, amidst the chaos.

Hope you're feeling better and that all this will prevent any episodes in the future. Yes, medications are often piled on, but part of it seems to be the doctors aren't sure, so they're trying to medicate everything. That may decrease in the next few months, as more problems are ruled out...and if you can lose a little weight.

I know we don't know each other well at all, but please learn from my grandmother's mistakes. She lived to be 92, but she was not very mobile in her later years. She said she wished she had lost more weight, back in her 50s and 60s, so she wouldn't have had to worry about it, as life slowed down more.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery and hopes for a bright and stress-free (or at least stress-reduced) future. Thank you for sharing your experience (however scary) because you never know, who may see this as a wake up call of their own. Take care and enjoy your spring! :)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 10:53AM
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Oh my gosh Nancy! You were so smart to go straight to the hospital! Are you a nurse? (you mentioned nursing home). I am so glad you are ok. It really is a puzzle why you had it with no plaque. I thought heart attacks only happened because of a lot of plaque. Sounds like you had a good team around you too. I agree about doctors and overmedicating, but without the usual suspects, he's probably covering all bases and will probably take you off some of the things after watching you for awhile. When will you be released?

I'm sorry about not replying to this post. I check this board once a week or so, but haven't checked it in a long time.

You've convinced me - I'm going to make a dr appt Monday. I'm older than you and have high cholesterol and have been having funny sharp chest type pains on & off for about 6 months. I really think they are nothing, but I guess it's time to stop wondering.

I've had two friends who had heart attacks while driving home from trips. Maybe it's something about driving?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 12:21PM
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wow! so glad you headed straight to the hospital. i'm one that wouldn't I guess. I always figure it'll go away - and I'm so used to odd pains here and there from my autoimmune disease.

so many meds - yep, that's what they do. a few yrs back I was taking over 30 a day. some were several a day of the same kind. I eventually quit taking some that i knew wouldn't kill me to stop taking. i'm mostly take about 10-12 now. One was switched to the liquid form tho because the pills were so huge I had trouble swallowing them.

after listening to Dr T Colin Campbell (the China Study) this past yr I've decided to change my eating habits. or attempt to anyway. He did a study for about 40 yrs on diet and health and found that meat and dairy played a huge part in it. They found they could even 'turn off' a cancer tumor by starving it of meat/dairy products (milk was a big factor). the results with charts, case histories etc are in the book.

I'm not much of a meat eater anyway but have cut that back even - and am working toward cutting out the dairy more - and white flour products (ugh...donuts!)the sweets are my downfall! I'm hoping that I can do better once I get moved and have counter space to work at - for cleaning/cutting/preparing the veggies and fruits. I bought a high powered processor and am going to get an overthesink colander and eventually a dehydrator.

the book is on Amazon for about 12.00 - it's a thick book tho.

you take care of yourself! spend some time now relaxing and reflecting. Stress is a major (along with our diets) factor in today's society. It's the enemy of my autoimmune problem!

Those who have changed their diets this way have found that they also lost weight. I'm hoping that will be in my case also! one dietitian said that when you feed your body natural foods it will eventually balance itself out to it's natural weight. yea!

when you think about it, the Garden of Eden didn't have any drive throughs or donut shops. (bummer)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 1:38PM
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I didn't know you could turn off a cancer tumor. I eat too many fats and sugars. I eat when I'm bored, nervous, stressed, lonely, or it's within reach. ;) I wish I liked healthy food better.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 2:39PM
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I switched to soy milk about ten years ago...and the biggest benefit is probably no more ice cream...although there is some soy and other alternatives.

Once you cut back on dairy and red meat, there are some real health advantages. I actually quit dairy because I was having some trouble with my sinuses (ended up being my back, which is getting much better) but I stayed off the dairy, anyway. I read some of Marilu Henner's books, about cooking and nutrition, which helped explain some of the negative impacts of certain foods.

However, I do a lot of baking and make all kinds of treats...just substitute margerine and soy milk for butter and milk. I use soy cheese, instead of regular...and my husband even eats all these things. I have shredded cheddar and a little parmesan he can add, if he likes, but it's been better for his health, too.

I can still make cakes, muffins, biscuits (get the plain soymilk, so they don't taste like vanilla) cookies, etc. If sugar is a problem, I know there are some wonderful substitutes out there, too. I enjoy baking, so I don't mind...and we live 30 minutes from fast food, which certainly doesn't hurt, either :)

Again, best wishes for a speedy recovery, Nancy!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 4:22PM
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Oh NANCY, my lord, lady, I've been writing and answering you on the other side and never once thought something could be wrong with you. We did not get too wild and crazy with Woodstock, did we?

Sugar, take care of yourself, we need your free spirit among us for a long time.

I read your post above half way, now I go back to finish it. When I realized that you had written it to describe the hospital events, I had a good feeling that you were on the happy end of the event. But I want to check again, and make sure you are at home doing your GW typing, and not holed up in the ICU sneaking time on the computer.

You were really really wise to get to the hospital without delay.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 9:32PM
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Well, so it's okay to have cell phone and laptop even in ICU. That is the best way to have visitors in there, I suppose.

And the white hair factor, I'll have to look that one up too, because both my brother and myself have totally white hair. He has high cholesterol, and I have low...usually runs around 110, much to the surprise of my doctors who always think it will be high. I guess that is my one saving grace to keep me from having a heart attack. I do have HBP, which was induced by high stress and no rest for 20 years while I worked 24 hours a day as a boat captain. Plus no regular mealtime, no regular schedule, and I worked 302 days a year away from home, only 63 days total off the boat per year. That was the way the offshore oil field works, folks. And they don't like women. Lots of harrassment.
And of course, Type II diabetes is also a result of stress, as well as poor diet.

About 10 years ago I had a heart cath, and they found no plaque at all either. It was a big relief to find that out, because I had not been able to take a stress test. When you take Beta blockers, it puts your heart rate so low that you could run all day on a treadmill and your heart rate wouldn't go up. My heart rate was around 47/minute, and I had cold hands and feet all the time. Not good if you also have diabetes, because poor circulation can cause you to lose your feet AND your hands. A small abrasion could turn to gangrene overnight, they say. Boy, that scared the bee-jeez out of me, you betcha. Anyway, I went back to my regular GP instead of the endocrinologist who was getting very invasive to my body with TESTS. And the GP changed me from Beta blockers (hard on the kidneys, another blessing of diabetes), and put me on 20mg Lisinopril tab once a day. That is for HBP. When I had an episode last year with my heart (lockjaw, pain in the arm), 911 took me in and the most adorable doctor in cowboy boots ended up prescribing 3.125mg Carvedilol 2 times a day. Minimum amount. Anyway, my BP is apparently under control since I test around 120 over 70 most every time I go to the doctor. And while in the hospital that time, they gave me a CHEMICAL STRESS TEST...which is believe me excrutiatingly painful...but the doc said I was not going to croak from a bad heart any time soon. If I get infections for any reason, my blood sugar can go up, so I start looking for the problem. Diabetes has side effects, like skin problems, dry skin leading to all sorts of susceptibilities. And my other lovely lady doctor keeps me supplied with salves, ointments, and creams. Only the latest med, a mere 15 GRAMS in the tube, COSTS $88/tube, not covered by Medicare OR private insurance. Bummer. I am super cautious of any skin problems, even thorns or splinters, shingles, yeast, herpes, eczema, colds, you name it. You don't want diabetes, even if you are NOT fat. So do what you can to maintain a good nutritious diet, my friends. Without stress, and without depression. Both of those lovely maladies folks think you can brush away like a fly, but it is more complicated than that.

However, I do know that it is possible to control your attitude, and that is very important. I just want to point out one thing which a lay preacher pointed out to me many years ago, and then I've heard the same thing from other sources since then. He said, God is the great I AM. He is the great Creator. But, also when we think, we are creating when we say I AM this, or I AM that. For instance, I AM sick, I am angry, etc. I AM being discriminated against. If you can control your thoughts to make the I AMs more positive, that will be reflected in your life. I came to say, I don't have problems, I have situations that must be dealt with. It can be a creative effort too.

Sweet dreams, Nancy up in Michigan, from ML down in south Alabama...same time zone I'm sure.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 10:32PM
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Nancy I never got around to mentioning the plethora of meds that they are throwing at your problem.

My opinion: they are giving you ONE med for your PROBLEM, and then the other meds are there to CONTROL THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THAT ONE MEDICATION. Yeah, like years ago my gyn wanted to give me hormone therapy. I was greatly concerned after reading some of the side effects of that medication. So I told him I would NOT take it. I have managed quite well without hormone supplements, thank you.

When you begin taking some of those heart meds, they all have warnings about DO NOT STOP TAKING THIS, because that could trigger a physical response in your body. I'd discuss this with the doctor first chance you get. You are being dosed and are now taking a chemical cocktail which, I bet, makes you feel insecure about even walking around your house, for pete sake! I'm not poo-poo-ing meds, but none of those doctors know YOU, nor the way you live. If you can get your regular doctor on board with this, does he not know you much better than any one else that you trust with your medical care? He knows that you work on your house, are active physically even though you don't go to a gym or whatever.

It might be a good idea for you to get the hospital dietician to advise you about diet. And also about exercise, which with heart they usually approve of walking with a purpose....not just meandering....although I like to meander with a camera in my hand and a long walking stick to beat off any wild animals which might turn up!

All the sudden attention has to be disconcerting to someone like you reticent to be in the limelight. Take it as your 15 minutes of fame. Offer to give autographs. And be good to yourself. Keep smiling, sweetie. I'm old enough to be your mama, and I give good advice. :)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 10:29AM
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I'm glad to hear you are doing well Nancy. Sorry you had to go through that. I guess it's one of those bridges we are all going to have to cross at some point in our lives.

And it gets me to thinking about my own health. I was in really good shape about two years ago but a new girlfriend and a hip problem knocked me off my daily routine of walking three or four miles. The hip is better now, the girlfriend is gone but she helped me put on about 25 pounds. I was out doing yard work this weekend and can really feel it. My habit is to walk at 5am. I need a few more weeks before it warms up enough for me to be able to convince myself to get out and walk in the morning. I'm 50 in March and your story gives me resolve.

Speaking of hospital units, do you remember the Olympic snow skiier from a few years back, Peekaboo Street? I heard once that she donated some of her endorsement earnings to her local hospital to help them build a new ICU wing. The called it the Peekaboo ICU!

Sorry, my co-workers get some that humor almost daily.

Looking forward to hearing about your recovery.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 11:54AM
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Peekaboo ICU, is something I plan to pass along to a nurse friend. I betcha they have heard it already. Nurses have a sense of humor for sure.

Well, it is time for everyone to begin walking. Even my DH is ready for his daily walk with our dachshund Dixie girl, but I'm hoping he finishes the 2" mosaic tile floor in the master bath first, and reinstalls the toilet and the slipper tub. While they are gone I might just take a bubble bath. Although I too need to do some walking...with my camera, of course.

Nancy, when do you think they will discharge you? Any resolution of the problem so far? I think you should go home wearing sandals, muumuu and big dangling earrings, with a very colorful bandana around your head. With some John Lennon shades on. What a cool lady, they'll be thinking.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 7:47PM
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Twice I have gotten about a half-hour into typing a response to your wonderfully supportive comments, but have lost it. I would try again but I am tired and it would sound really stale. I will try again tomorrow.

I am fine, went home from the hospital on Friday afternoon. Tomorrow is my first day back at work!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 9:49PM
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Good heavens I'm shocked by your story, thank goodness you were wise enough to get yourself checked out.

I want to HEARTILY echo the sentiments of everyone when it comes to medications. I have had many health issues since I was born (some concerning the cardiac system, w/daily chest pain for no apparent reason) and I think nothing has helped my overall wellbeing half as much as quitting ALL my medications, cooking for myself, exercising and #1...quitting my day job. I'm not suggesting of course that you quit your job, especially if you enjoy it, but try to find ways to stay calm and take a step back occasionally. Stress will steal your life and it compounds on itself if you don't keep it in check.

I am sure we are all thinking of you and hoping you will be 100% very soon!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 6:15PM
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I agree, stress is a major factor. My job when I got really sick was very stressful. for yrs I loved it - and then management changed and so did the whole 'feel' of the dept. it was so sad... I was preparing to take early retirement and just get a part time job somewhere when I got so sick. I was about 5 wks from giving my retirement notice! I guess God had other plans...

I've been walking more this past yr - especially the past 6 months with my furkids. I think they'll walk me to death sometimes!

check out that book - it surprised me that they know so much about what triggers it - yet, we seldom hear that part! I watched some people who eat whole/natural foods 'cook' a time back and they made a cheesecake and chocolate pudding! imagine that - i was thrilled. they even make their own 'butter' out of natural ingredients and for sweetener they often use agave for a sweetner. something else too but i don't remember what it it is. They do eat good - and have goodies too. They don't really cook most things tho - it's natural (raw). i'm hoping by making my own spaghetti sauce and veggie juice for soups that it will help cut down on the salt and misc unknowns in premade ones.

ML - that is really something about the 'I AM'. hadn't thought of that before but so many of us in this life do center on ourselves as 'I am...'. what a lesson! thank you!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 9:33PM
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I agree, stress is a major factor. My job when I got really sick was very stressful. for yrs I loved it - and then management changed and so did the whole 'feel' of the dept. it was so sad... I was preparing to take early retirement and just get a part time job somewhere when I got so sick. I was about 5 wks from giving my retirement notice! I guess God had other plans...

I've been walking more this past yr - especially the past 6 months with my furkids. I think they'll walk me to death sometimes!

check out that book - it surprised me that they know so much about what triggers it - yet, we seldom hear that part! I watched some people who eat whole/natural foods 'cook' a time back and they made a cheesecake and chocolate pudding! imagine that - i was thrilled. they even make their own 'butter' out of natural ingredients and for sweetener they often use agave for a sweetner. something else too but i don't remember what it it is. They do eat good - and have goodies too. They don't really cook most things tho - it's natural (raw). i'm hoping by making my own spaghetti sauce and veggie juice for soups that it will help cut down on the salt and misc unknowns in premade ones.

ML - that is really something about the 'I AM'. hadn't thought of that before but so many of us in this life do center on ourselves as 'I am...'. what a lesson! thank you!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 11:08PM
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Well, it is tomorrow now, and I am not back at work. I re-read my discharge instructions and they do not say to resume activities as tolerated, but to resume normal "household" activities as tolerated. Nothing about work. Before discharge, I asked one of the many docs I saw if I could go to work on Tuesday, and he said I could if I wanted, but I do not have that in writing. So I am waiting for my boss to call me back and I will probably stay off work until I see my PCP on Friday.

Many of you have commented on how I knew to go to the hospital. That part was easy for me to decide because I used to be the cardiac social worker at a small local hospital. We had the first open-heart surgery program in the county. I saw everyone who had surgery and heard a lot of stories about people�s heart attacks. So as I drove to the hospital, I thought about my symptoms and reflected on how "classic" they were. Chest pressure, center of chest, radiating down the left arm, sweating. Women often have atypical heart pain. One of my ladies who had surgery only had a pain that clenched around her throat that made it difficult to swallow - no other symptoms. She went to the ER for that, was diagnosed with heart blockages and was in surgery the same day. If I remember right, she was the one who could not stop smoking and she had a number of later heart attacks. So my symptoms were typical heart attack symptoms. They were not like my asthma symptoms, where I feel a wheezy pain that makes me cough. They were not like my fibromyalgia pain that makes my intercostal (rib) muscles all contract. I tried taking a deep breath and stretching out my ribcage, and the pain did not change. So it was not muscular. When my arm started hurting, I was fairly certain it was cardiac.

Emagineer, I am insulin resistant - a step before actual diabetes. From Yahoo Health:
"If you have diabetes, you are more inclined to develop blood vessel disease. The common name for this condition is hardening of the arteries. It is also called atherosclerosis. It is a condition wherein blood vessels become narrowed or blocked by a buildup of fat and cholesterol. This can lead to heart damage and damage to the legs, feet, and brain." So diabetes makes it more likely to get hardening and blocking of our arteries if we are diabetic.

After I kind of debriefed the whole heart attack/hospital stay stuff with DH over the weekend, I learned that the little tortuous artery that caused my heart attack was actually 90% blocked. It was the only block I had. The only treatment, since it was too tiny for angioplasty or a stent, is to take the meds. I will have a lot of questions to ask the cardiologist when I see him on the 3rd of March, that is sure. Like - can that spot have another heart attack? Is part of my heart dead there from the heart attack? Do I have to take the meds to keep from having another attack? I fear the answers will be yes, I have to take the meds. I have caught glimpses of people talking about how evil Plavix is on line, and I am a little afraid to read about it. I am a bit in denial about this whole thing.

Another reason I was not afraid to go to the hospital is that I have been to this particular ER a lot. My mom went there for her congestive heart failure episodes, I took my father in law there several times, and I was there when I hit my head in October and the previous autumn for dopplers after I fell and my leg swelled. I was also here when my sister had a heart attack last spring and when my DH had a panic attack a few years ago. I know the place well.

Lavender Lass, I have good news about Vitamin K. I am not taking Coumadin, so I don�t need to count my Vit. K. I am taking Plavix. It has its own problems, I hear!

I agree about the stress. On Sunday, DH was waiting for movers to meet him at an office building where we had purchased the bookshelves from a law office. He called me to tell me that the movers were running late, and instead of telling me that he had it all in hand, he said something about having to be out of the office by 4:00 and what if the movers were not done by then? I started my usual problem-solving mode (call the movers and tell them you have to be out by 4, ask if they can guarantee it or if we should reschedule, ask the property manager what other times are available for us to pick up the shelves...) Well, after I laid out a plan for him, DH tells me he already talked to the movers, and do I want him to call them back? I asked if they said they could guarantee that they could be out by 4:00? "They didn�t say they couldn�t," DH said. The whole conversation just stressed me out. Why didn�t he just tell me he had it all in hand, instead of presenting the problem to me as he had? Earlier he had called me to ask if he should take off the top molding. I had asked him if he meant the molding that went across all of the 7 bookcases, and he said yeah. Well, how could he take the bookcases apart without taking it off? Why call me with such questions? That stresses me out! I need to do what I tell others to do all day - think about his calls differently. Instead of thinking that he can�t make a decision to tie his shoes without checking in, I should think of how hard he tries to please me. I also need to do more relaxation exercises. I am not able to do yoga, but I can do stretching and deep breathing.

As for diet, I was decreasing my food intake, getting ready to start my high protein, low carb way of eating again. I have lost weight successfully like this before. I am going to put the very low carb stuff on hold until after I finish cardiac rehab. From what I read today, it seems I get into rehab after I see the Cardiologist on March 3. Steph, my DH is a vegetarian and he cooks on the weekends. He will keep me eating lots of healthy food. He is finding the kitchen I designed for him easy to work in. Steph, the cardiologist took me off my Mobic, so now I have a lot of aches and pains. I saw my Rheumatololgist yesterday and he was not a lot of help. Plus, the info I brought him from my opthalmologist had all of his attention. He did a dozen blood tests and scheduled me for a longer appointment in two weeks. He is thinking of giving my autoimmune problems a new label. As for my fibro, all he had to offer were pain meds. Okay, I have some, but I sure do not want to get used to taking them. I will have to hold out hope that the far infra-red sauna eases my pain. Jim will be here tomorrow to run the electrical line for the sauna.

Marti, I also eat for comfort. Nothing eases troubles better than a taste and sensation and texture in the mouth.

ML, despite my history of comfort eating, I have been taking pretty good care of myself lately. I decided not to return to work today. It tired me out to shower and get ready. I called to make my cardiac appointment and so I re-read my discharge papers and it really did not say I could return to work, just that I could return to "normal household activities." So I made an appt. with my primary doc for Friday, the cardiologist for the following Thursday, and we will see what they say.

ML, I always thought my low cholesterol would keep me from having a heart attack, and here I am. My cholesterol used to be low, only getting above 180 in the last couple of years. I used to "compete" for lower cholesterol test results with my veggie DH, and it was at 140 just a few years ago. I know that my autoimmune disorders put me at increased risk of heart disease because of the chronic inflammation. That causes arteries to clog. There are so many different issues related to our hearts! I do appreciate your advice and concern. My DH knows more than most dietitians (since they know little about healthy vegetarianism, he usually has them beat in that area) and my primary doc is into diet and health, too. As for exercise, I do it in the warm arthritis-approved pool at a nearby rec center. I do underwater callisthentics, really, doing resistance and core-muscle building along with aerobic exercise. I just renewed my membership and was trying to get caught up with work so I could start leaving early for water aerobics, instead of staying late. ML, I shall listen like you are my mama, since mine passed away and I miss her.

Scott, I have heard about the Picabo ICU! I don�t want to visit any more ICUs for a while. Here is a bit of encouragement from me to get back to your walking. If my story can inspire any of you, my friends, to take better care of yourselves, I am happy to provide the service!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 11:26PM
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So glad you are doing well with this Nancy. You know yourself better then any of us and when you are ready to go back to work with Dr's ok is the time to do so. Must be really hard to balance all the issues with fibro and everything else. I really hope you sail through recovery. Even as much as you know about all of this it has to be stressful at this time for you. Hang in there and know we all care about you.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 9:31PM
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Nancy, I read a post on the discussion side and thought I'd check to see if you were home when you posted it. Yep. So very glad that they released you.

However, I really enjoyed the mental image of you sitting up in bed in the ICU with monitors attached to you, and you clicking away on your laptop keyboard. Quite different from my idea of typical ICU stuff.

I took the two dogs and the two parrots to the vet this morning, did not have breakfast or coffee beforehand. Then I went to the City Animal Shelter to buy the dog licenses. By that time, it was after noon, and I was worn out. I only had a bottle of glucose tablets to munch on to keep my blood sugar from bottoming out, did not expect to have to wait for the license place to take an hour lunch break. So this afternoon, I was done in. So were the two puppies, who had all their annual shots. So I did nothing today, just took a nap on the sofa with the two dogs laying beside me.

Sometimmes you need to listen to your body when it says take a break. Don't go back to work if taking a shower tires you out.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 11:46PM
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Nancy, how are you today? It's scary to think you can take care of yourself, eat well, have low cholesterol and still have a problem. I hope your energy returns soon. You'll go back to work and take it easy or part time at first won't you?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 12:08AM
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Hi all!
Marti, I went to my Primary Care Physician (PCP) today and she okayed me for work for Monday. I can work whatever hours I need to, because I am a contractor and my boss likes me. I just don't get paid if I don't work!

I ran around doing errands today. I saw the doc, then stopped off at a used office furniture place and bought three 36" wide x 20" deep and 30" tall storage cabinets for my next project - the library. I will start a thread about it on the other side soon. I also went to a used furniture store and put $20 down on a used hotel desk for that project. Then I met my sis for an early dinner and stopped off at the pharmacy on the way home. No SOB, no bad tiredness. I think I am ready for work.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 7:54PM
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Nancy, you know that if you skip a few days showing up around here, we will all stress out ourselves?

Not wanting to be a burden or a nag, but please keep in touch until it is apparent you are doing very well.

If today is your first day back at work, I'll be waiting for the HOW DID IT GO report.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 1:17PM
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It went well, ML!

Remember it is just one tiny artery, not even two milimeters big, down at the end of a branch. It can't kill me even if it blocks totally. And I don't even have plaque anywhere else.

It was good to be back at work, organizing and planning today. My coworker, who almost died of pneumonia, and who was out for 6 weeks, also returned today. Since there are only three of us in total, I am sure the boss was relieved that the two of us returned today!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 7:04PM
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Here is an update: I saw the cardiac nurse on Thursday, at my new doctor's office. She says that the Cardiac cath showed that I had NO MUSCLE DAMAGE in my heart! The blockage is on a tiny artery, around the backside of the heart. It is not a place where they would even do a bypass. I could still have a heart attack in the area, but it wouldn't really affect my heart function much if I did.

I don't have any restrictions, and can do my water aerobic exercises when I like. I do not need cardiac rehab. I will likely get off the Plavix in a few months, and maybe other heart meds, too. I see the doc in late April.

Now, for having had a heart attack, I would say that this is about the best news I could have had.

Meanwhile, however, my rheumatologist is working on a new diagnosis. He has x-rays and one last blood test to do, then I meet with him on the 15th for his verdict. I think he is leaning toward a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis or a connective tissue disorder.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 11:40PM
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No muscle damage is terrific news! I just wish there was something they could do to prevent another attack. Are you going to change your diet or do anything yourself? Rheumatoid Arthritis. Ugh. I hope not.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 12:38PM
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Nancy, are you back hitting on all cylinders? Is the Plavix working as expected? Any changes in your diet/exercise routines?

Does working on your house count as exercise?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 9:39AM
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Hi to my Smaller Homes friends!

I appreciate your support and care more than you can know.

I have been working toward a weight loss diet since the first of the year. I need to lose almost 200 lbs. In the past I have done liquid protein diets, both without and with other foods. This time, I am going to use the liquid protein to replace some meals and to use between my smaller meals. I figure that doing weight loss this way is a more sustainable way, and that I will likely need to use the liquid protein for some meals the rest of my life. Falling into the fast-food/drive-through habit is too easy for me, since I am on the road for my job. If I can leave the house with a liquid protein packet making a nice cappucino-like drink in home-brewed coffee, I won't be stopping for breakfast with bacon and white-flour breading. That saves a few hundred calories right there! I am trying to leave some snacking (a few individual Dove chocolates at night, a handful of pretzels, some air-popped popcorn) in my diet so that I learn to eat the way I always revert to - but with moderation, instead. DH is the sodium-sleuth, and since he does most of the shopping, I can eat low sodium if I do not sabotage his efforts! We still get take-out, but mostly Middle Eastern, and I get salads with some meat most of the time. So that is my plan - to establish better habits overall, use liquid protein drinks to keep my nutrition up, and eat fewer calories while avoiding sodium and white carbs.

I started PT this week. We started with my ankles because that is where the worst pain is. Stan, my PT Man (a genius!) first studied my walk and added to my orthotics (he made them) to correct my left foot's roll. I am doing strengthening exercises, too. Next is my elbows, then my hand. Once I am done with the PT, I plan to get into that nice warm pool at the community center of a nearby suburb a few days a week to work out in the water.

I am walking almost as fast as I used to walk as I cruise through my nursing homes, but get out of breath. No major heart pains since the one I had in my first week back at work.

I am working to recognize my patterns of tension, worry, and stress. I drive around doing deep, slow breathing exercises and relaxing my shoulders! My biggest, best, and most time consuming change has been working my sauna into my schedule. I have done 30 to 60 minute sessions before bed, a 40 minute session as soon as I got home for work, and even a short 15 minute session before showering to go to work. It feels SO GOOD! I wake up without stiffness if I use it at night. As a matter of fact, it is warmed up for me now, and I am going to go indulge in a full hour in the baking, far-infrared 130 degree little cabin in our smallest bedroom right now!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 1:41PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH


Thank goodness that you had no heart-muscle damage! I'm so happy that you were able to recognize the symptoms, and get to the hospital quickly. I hope you continue to enjoy good health--and your sauna!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 11:55AM
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Hi Mama, I am doing quite well. I even managed to let my heart slip out of my mind for a while last week. I just suddenly realized I had not thought about it for a while.

I am doing physical therapy for my ankles and legs two days a week, and making good progress. I am getting strength back in my left leg. The knee on that side is half ruined and my muscles just get weak from non-use.

I finally get to see my cardiologist on April 21. Then I have to convince him to let me use my sauna (or find a new cardiologist!).

It is good to see you back, Mama. I can't look at your kitchen photos without thinking of your Dear Husband, I hope that you find comfort (and not just loss) in finishing it without him there.

Well, but he IS there, everywhere you look, isn't he? I tear up every time I think of you there. I visualize my tears as little prayers of strength and healing for you.

I think that even though my heart attack was a tiny little thing, it scared me into thinking how I don't want to leave my DH alone, how selfish I would be to ignore my warning and not try to be healthier for my DH. Sometimes, life can give us challenges we never wanted to meet!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 10:37PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Thank you, Nancy, and thank you for thinking of my husband. Don't know what I'd do if I didn't have the kitchen as a distraction. Hang out more on GW, I guess. :D

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 12:12PM
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My brother just had a heart attack. Main artery 100% blockage and two others at 70%. He had the one at 100 stented. The other two he opted not to do now. He changed diet and lost 25 pounds in 4 weeks. He was in ER 3 wks prior misdiagnosed. He is scared, has a tough time being on any medications. Wants to stop Plavix and aspirin but is afraid. BP and Cholesterol have come down to very normal levels now. Has had a really difficult time getting back on track and feeling stable again. Has no pain but lots of gas in stomach and burping still. Seems to be more when nervous about things. I wish I knew how to help to get him through this. He is always afraid he will have another heart attack especially if he stops all meds...eating right has been perfect though. Any suggestions please.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 7:07AM
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I'm so sorry RR. I hope Nancy will check back in and give you some advice. Changing the diet seems like a good idea to start. What does his doctor say about the other two blocked 70%?

Nancy, you are doing great. Are you using the "easier to ask forgiveness than permission" technique with the sauna & your doctor? lol I finally went to see my GP last week and started a new diet today. I'm hungry. I've got to figure out how to eat and be satisfied or I'll give up and go back to high sugar, high sodium foods.

Mamabear, I think of your husband every time I see your kitchen pictures also. I'm glad it helps you to work on it. I love seeing your progress.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 6:16PM
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Nancy and everyone. I hope your health is improving. I am so grateful to read your posts, I am 46 have no risk factor other than obesity last week whilst at work in ER I had a strange feeling in my chest and arm. I was diagnosesed as having a heart attack and after angio a blockage in a minor posterior artery much like Nancy. I am completely shellshocked and frightened but your posts have reassured me. Thanks from over the pond

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 7:32PM
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