Looking at the last year of my life brings so many emotions. I'm sad and miss the me that I lost. I'm angry that I didn't know before it happened, so I could better prepare myself for what the future would bring. I'm proud for how I've dealt with the last year.
August 11, 2021 I went to the walk in for chest pain. I left there after a simple discussion with the doctor. A discussion where I was told 29 is too young for my fears of experiencing heart problems to be realistic. A discussion where the doctor told me I had a panic disorder, even after I told him I wasn't new to anxiety, and the pain I was feeling was not similar enough to be comfortable with just getting sent home with medications to relieve anxiety. After leaving the doctor that day my husband and I discussed the pros and cons to me taking the medicine I had been prescribed. I wasn't big on taking medications unless it was something I knew I couldn't handle on my own. And I had the tools I needed to help my anxiety. The pain was getting worse so we went to the pharmacy to pick up the medicine and I took it immediately, knowing it would take a bit to start working. I just wanted the pain to go away.
After getting home I spent some time using the tools I had learned over the years to get myself into the right state of mind. It didn't seem to be working the way I had hoped it would. So my husband and I went outside to smoke a cigarette (worst possible thing to do at the time right?). Halfway through the cigarette I started to feel a burning that went from my chest, through my stomach, and down my arms and legs. Like my blood was boiling. Then it went back up through my body and stayed in my chest. I remember laying in my bed and stretching my body out, I thought I could be having a severe muscle spasm in my ribs so I was doing my best to stop it. I was crying to my husband, "please make it stop." But couldn't get out any more words to even let him know what was going on or where I was hurting.
After a few moments of trying to figure out how to stop the pain, the ambulance was called. It took between 20-30 minutes for the ambulance to arrive and I was taken to the closest hospital. I was immediately given blood thinners as well as all medicine that is typically given to those that have experienced a heart attack. The next few hours were spent taking repeat blood tests to figure out exactly what was going on and it was confirmed that my heart was under distress. With every test, my levels were going up. The hospital I was at didn't have a cathlab. So the calls to other hospitals started. Due to covid, all the hospitals in the area were too full to take me on. The next day, a call was received, letting the ER doctor know there was a bed open for me at big hospital roughly and hour away from where I was. I was transferred by ambulance and got my angioplasty the next morning. Showing I did have a heart attack and ended up getting a stent placed at the same time.
Everything changed after this. First it was my heart attack, then my problem with not being able to eat, then my brain infection leading to where I am now. Its so hard to believe that at this time one year ago I was getting my kids ready for a normal day. A day that included my husband getting a drug test for a job he got the day before, then going to see why I had been experiences chest pain for four days. A day that was suppose to include coming home from our "must do's" then spending the rest of the day in the pool with the kiddos.
Today is not just my heart attack anniversary. It is the birthday of the new me. The old me died August 11, 2021 and the person I was suppose to spend the rest of my life being was born. The person that would see life in a completely new way. And learn how to live in a different way than I had been living for the last 29 years.
Cheers to the first year. It's been absolute hell, full of pain, unanswered questions and mourning what life use to be. But its also been wonderful. Celebrating the little things, seeing how compassionate my family is, and finally getting to recognize how strong I truly am when I have my mind set on something. I can't wait to see where this next year takes me.