The One Where I Almost Died - Hopefully My One and Only Angioplasty Story

What an exciting week this has been folks!

Sit back and let me tell you a little story about how I cheated death..

About four weeks ago, I was going for my nightly stroll through my neighborhood and felt something weird in my chest. Like something heavy was compressing it. The pain went away when I stopped walking, but even really slow walking - to get home from around the corner - brought it on again. I went home and rested, and everything was fine. The next night, I headed out again-totally fine! Yay.

But two days later - same thing happened, but it came about after just picking up some yard debris in the yard. My yard isn't that big...but I was sweating and heaving and trying to uncompress my chest by walking it out....it didn't work. I came in and laid down-it went away. But I knew this was something, so I made an appt to see a doctor, any doctor, and was able to get an appt within two days. I was really sure that she was under the belief that I was just out of shape and unused to normal exercise, but she referred me to do a stress test, which I was able to schedule for a few days later. I got my results back 3 days after that and was told that my test showed that I most likely have coronary heart disease and I needed to see a cardiologist within the week. The cardiologists office had a cancellation for the next morning, so I took that one...and when I arrived for the consult, he told me that he wanted to admit me to the hospital immediately and that they suspected I have a 70% blockage of a main artery to my heart.

*gasp*

Scary stuff. 

This all happened within a four-week period. It was just barely over a month ago that I was walking through the redwood forest in California!!! And I was TOTALLY fine.

And my cholesterol levels have been checked in the last six months, and were totally normal-just like they were five years ago when I had them checked.
And my blood pressure has never been high, not ever.
And I'm not a smoker, never have been (except for a few times when I pretended to be so I could ask a cute boy at the bar if I could bum a smoke-wonderful pick up line, right?).

So all signs pointed to me having a healthy heart.

Oh, except that pesky family history. Which apparently can account for a lot.

Off I went to the hospital, where I got checked in and was told they wanted to do an angiogram from the right wrist, where they would enter with some magic wirey-tubes and spray some dye into my vein to see where it went when it reached my heart. Surprisingly, there is almost NO pain when doing this and you are kept awake-a bit drugged up, but awake, so I was able to watch it on the screen. I was a bit groggy, but I remember seeing the dye go in one area of the heart and burst out like a firework as the dye was distributed all around, then another area -same thing...and then the third area....total dud. No firework.

They told me I had a 99% blockage of a main artery leaving my heart. 99%, as in just one tiny percentage away from being completely and totally shut down.

They pulled out of my arm and sent me to a room, where a heart surgeon came in and spoke for what seemed like 15 minutes about the procedure for having heart surgery to fix the nearly-fully-blocked artery. But he ended his speech with: I don't think you're a good candidate though, given you are so low risk and you are so young.

I'm 37!!!!!

So the heart surgeon who doesn't know how to communicate good news left and someone else came in and told me they wanted to do an angioplasty to insert a tube into my artery to keep it open and clear. Perfect. But not today, nope, tomorrow worked better. Boo- cancel the beach trip, cancel the bbq with friends.

My mom and my sister had driven like maniacs to be there, and thankfully they were there to keep me company, but more importantly, to stay with Andrew while he waited for news.


We didn't get started until late in the day Friday, which meant I had to stay for another night -but they did the angioplasty on Friday afternoon and considered it a success and sent me home less than 24 hrs later.

And this is my new life now:
drugs drugs and more drugs.


I potentially will have to take these drugs for the rest of my life. Awesome. But I potentially will have a long life-so that really IS awesome.

Within a month time frame, I went from thinking I was 100% normal, to hearing a cardiologist refer to my day as being an "aborted heart attack."

So let this serve as a reminder to all of you - if you ever feel like something just isn't right, or something happens and you can't explain it - especially with your heart (which is VERY necessary for every aspect of life) - go see your doctor!!! 

All signs pointed to me having a normal heart, and aside from the extra weight I carry, I am a low-risk candidate...but here I am, recovering from an aborted heart attack. Crazy, all of this is so surreal.

My mom and sister made sure I was taken care of in the hospital and situated at home after, my son has been my ROCK and is helping me do everything (I can't lift over 5 lbs this week), and my friends have all been so incredibly supportive. My amazing coworkers even brought over meals for the first 4 nights home!

This whole story sucks big time, but there is a happy ending and I really hope you will all remember to take good care of yourselves.

11 comments:

  1. Kaylen's mom said...:

    So glad you are doing better. You gave your dad and I (and the rest of the family) quite a scare!!! Sorry about the bad family heart history - great family--lousy cardiac genes.
    Love you much!! Mom & Dad

  1. Brian Miller said...:

    i am glad that you caught this and can deal with it so that you can enjoy that long life kaylen...

  1. Oh, heaven help me, I am SO glad you didn't continue to ignore it!
    My father-in-law went to his cardiologist two weeks ago to be told the same thing after feeling uncomfortable pressure in his chest. He was taken to the hospital immediately and four hours later, recovering after an angioplasty. It saved his life. It saved your life. I'm thankful that both of you listened to your bodies.

  1. Oh thank GOD you listened to your instincts and had that checked out. Honey, take care of you!

  1. Denis said...:

    Glad you're okay and will be fine!

  1. debbie said...:

    I am so glad you are feeling better. I was just wondering how painful it was, and what the recovery is like?

  1. Slyde said...:

    holy shit.

    we'll, i'm glad to hear that the angio was a success and you seem to be on the mend.. stay healthy! :)

  1. Mom Taxi Julie said...:

    OH my gosh!! I'm the same age. How freaking scary!

  1. Julie said...:

    WOW, I just don't stop by for a little bit and this happens. WOW I am glad you listened to your body. I'm glad you're okay now and healing and taking extra good care. Thank goodness for your son. Take care and God Bless!!

  1. Unknown Mami said...:

    Terrifying and somehow lucky at the same time. I'm so glad that Andrew did not have to be alone.

  1. carma said...:

    Thank God you got help in time!!!! This is frightening. Yep, better to accept having to take the prescriptions than to not be around for your sweet son well into the future.

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