Thursday, February 25, 2016

Welcome back, honey!”

Remember last week, when Vicki left us hanging after...."I coded"....thanks for coming back to read the rest of the story!

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SLAP! Right across the face. Why was the nurse slapping me, for crying out loud! I had been asking her and the doctor what was happening and no one would answer me. How rude! He had simply said “Well, we know what it is now so we’re going to fix it”. Fix what?!?  Then the nurse leaned in close with what I interpreted as a sadistic smile, slapped me, and said “Welcome come back honey!”.

Over the next 48 hours my husband slowly told some of me the details of what had happened… how I had “died” and only thought I was talking to the doctor, and how I couldn’t possibly have known how they were prepping me for defibrillator paddles. Weird. Two procedures and four stents later the doctor educated us on atherosclerosis, a fancy name for “hey your arteries are clogged because they’re full of junk”. It’s a type of coronary artery disease and is the leading cause of strokes, heart attacks, and vascular disease. The doctor also explained how multiple clogged arteries had led to my sudden cardiac arrest, or SCA. And how my heart had decided to start beating on its own again without defibrillation. I had been one of the fortunate ones. 

But how could all of this have happened to me? I’m not your typical heart attack candidate. I’ve been an athlete and active all my life, don’t have high blood pressure, am not diabetic, have never smoked, am not obese, and have good cholesterol numbers….all of which are one or more factors usually found in cardiovascular patients. The doctor didn’t have an answer for me. He just shrugged his shoulders and muttered something about stress or genetics.

The truth of the matter is, no one really knows what causes cardiovascular disease. Yet it is the #1 killer, worldwide : “One of every three deaths in the U.S. in 2013 were from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, while heart disease and stroke were the No. 1 and No. 2 killers worldwide, according to American Heart Association’s 2016 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update.”

So here I am today, a year in the clear past four hospital stays, a heart attack, six stents and one
Welcome back! Vicki shares some specifics to think about to keep your heart healthy. #NWARKCares
Color Vibe, first activity post recovery. 
You don't have to run, but not finishing is not an option!
by-pass later. I don’t have science to back it, but my intuition tells me that stress played a major role in my heart health. And since I can’t change or control my genetics, I am determined to try and manage my stress levels better. Plus I schedule regular visits to my doctor. That’s something I encourage all of you to do as well, especially women, who’s symptoms are not as classic as men’s. A simple blood cholesterol check could save your life. It already has for several friends of mine.

And at the very least, plan to donate or join me and thousands of others at the 2016 NWA Heart Walk at Arvest Ballpark on April 16. Help us raise awareness and save lives.

This post is part of the #NWArkCares series by the Northwest Arkansas Bloggers group. To view other posts, visit the Northwest Arkansas Bloggers Pinterest Board or follow #NWArkCares through social media.

1 comment:

Tomi Clark said...

Thank YOU so much for sharing your story. This is a story of so many women I know who thought they were too young or too healthy for a heart attack. Truth is - just as you said - there is so much power in knowing your cholesterol numbers. A few moments that could save your life. Again, thanks for sharing your story.