I was able to go one time to rehab then I went into AFIB.
I was in AFIB for 8 days straight medications was not stopping my crazy heart beats. AFIB is quite exhausting your heart rate goes high then 30 beats slower then higher again all this back and forth feels like your heart is running a marathon. It makes you physically drained and exhausted. You can not even think about taking a walk any form of exertion increases your heart rate. Your chest pounds and you just can not breathe good it is a horrible feeling.
My dr suggested a Tranesphogeal echo to check out for any new clots, the new stent and my mitral valve all which could be causing the AFIB. As it turns out I had no new clots, the stent was fine and the mitral valve was the same.
My AFIB was from a chain of events. Apparently my body hated the heart attack so much that it decided to rebel against me. It has also screwed up some of my blood work which the Dr.’s all tell me will even back out in time.
He was able to get some good pics in 3D of my heart and then came the fun part.
They had to do a Cardioversion which is a procedure used to return an abnormal heartbeat to a normal rhythm.
I was already under deep anesthesia from the tee echo so the cardioversion came next.
It is like in the movies when someone has a heart attack and they bring out the paddles to shock the heart. They do this to get the heart back beating correctly.
My heart has returned to a normal rhythm but I feel like I have been beat up. Hopefully I will feel better in a few days.
I am adding another medication this medication hopefully will keep my heart in rhythm it is called Amiodarone it is a antiarrhythmics. I hate taking medication but it seems I have no choice.
Today I am starting cardiac rehab. It has been three weeks since my heart attack.
I will be doing rehab 3 x a week for 10 – 12 weeks. I set my appointments for early since I get up early anyway and that way I can still take mother in law to the church 2 x a week.
Rehab will not cost me any copays so that is a good thing.
Ever since I have been home from the hospital Jack and I walk for 30 minutes outdoors around 7:00 a.m. By the time I do that I am pooped out. I take a daily nap which I never did before the heart attack.
I see the cardiologist this week and will find out what testing is going to be done to evaluate my heart function. I have met my deductible on my health insurance as well as the maximum out of pocket so I want the best testing available.
Last week we ate salmon patties and tuna casserole to get in our two fish meals a week. I am sure fish will get old to me I would rather eat chicken.
On Monday and Tuesday I take my mother in law to the church and the ladies get together and make quilts and rosaries.
This past Monday I took her to church and all of a sudden while inside the building I got extreme left sided center chest pain. I was sweating really bad but the AC was out in the building for some reason. Then I got short of breath and my arms and shoulders got tingly and numb.
Since I do a lot of reading and have always been interested in medical information I knew what it was but at the same time I knew I was in a room of 12 ladies in their mid 70s – 95. I did not want to have a heart attack and scare them all to death. I got in mother in laws van and drove home its like a 10 minute drive. I called Jack and talked to him all the way home.
When I got home he wanted me to go to the ER right then but even though I knew what was happening I was in denial. I tried to blow it off that the peanut butter toast I had for breakfast gave me indigestion even though it had never done this before.
About 3:30 I emailed my cardio told him my symptoms went from left center chest pain to numb arms and shoulders but then the pain traveled from the left to the right after about 3 hours. He suggested I go to the ER right away so by this time was around 5:45 p.m. We were in the ER about 6:15 p.m. The really bad pain that was a 10+ was now around a 5 and on the opposite side.
We get to the ER and there are 60 people in there. I wanted to just leave but we stayed. There were people all around with puke bags and stuff all I could think of was all the germs in that room circulating all around. I kept my mask on and did not dare to take if off. I kept telling myself not to go the restroom.
We found out there were no empty rooms in the hospital they have 293 beds.
I was taken back fairly quickly for a EKG it was a bit squirly but not crazy. A few hours later finally blood work was done and my troponin levels were high that is the enzyme that tells if you have had a heart attack. At this point the Dr informed me I had a heart attack. I was immediately put in a ER room and put on a heparin IV for the next 6 hrs. During that time my blood was checked 2 or 3 times and for some reason my Troponin levels were going up and not down.
Troponins are a group of proteins found in skeletal and heart (cardiac) muscle fibers that regulate muscular contraction. Troponin tests measure the level of cardiac-specific troponin in the blood to help detect heart injury.
Next thing I know this nurse rushes in the room early a.m. takes my ice water and on her way out the door says no more drinking anything your going to surgery. Finally the nurse that was in charge of me came in there and explained the cardiologist was concerned about heart damage and I was going for a heart catherization and a stent.
I had surgery at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. I kept praying to god to watch over me and take care of me I still have lots of life I want to live. I tried my best not to fall asleep but the drugs knocked me out but I woke back up and talked to the Dr. a a few times. It is only 62 degrees in the catherization lab I was freezing. The nice thing is there is a 70″ screen and you can watch the procedure as its happening IF you are awake.
I had a blockage in the left anterior descending artery which branches off the left coronary artery that supplies blood to the left side front of the heart. I learned I had heart damage from this heart attack. The inside wall of the LA upper portion inside is damaged. I am grateful my cardiologist was able to meet me at the hospital and do my surgery.
The cardio said the blood thinner I was on saved my life it was Clopidogrel I was given it last September after the aorta illiac stent was put in. He changed me to a super blood thinner Brilinta 90 mg 2 x a day that should prevent any further heart attacks. It had only been 10 months since my last stent. It is those inherited disorders that will catch up to you at some point.
They ordered breathing treatments because I was very short of breath but my oxygen levels were 93-95 so I did not need or want oxygen I hate that thing in my nose or on my face. I was given the breathing treatments every 4 hours and the dr called in a script for a home nebulizer with 2 medications. This could be a side effect from the heart attack and it seems to be getting a bit better every day.
I finally got to come home Thursday night around 7:00 p.m. The cardio ordered cardiac rehab but I am not sure when I get to start it. I might have to wait until I see him for the follow up visit in about 3 weeks but I did call rehab to check on it.
My after affects of this heart attack I feel like I have been ran over by a freight train, chest is bruised and sore and I am exhausted. My whole body aches. Walking 500 steps seems like 5000. I have been through a lot in my lifetime and never have I ever felt this bad. I already have about 8 bruises from the blood thinners.
From what I have been told and read it says it can take up to 8 months to fully recover from a heart attack. I am stubborn I will not push myself to hard but will try to walk short walks a few times a day by short I mean 500 steps.
Never ignore symptoms and then go into denial. Pay attention to your body and what it is trying to tell you. Now I know for sure what a heart attack feels like I will get to the ER right away if this ever happens again. I am hoping by sharing my story I can help save someone else’s life.
I had my transesophageal Tee Echo last week it is the one test that can give the best look at the heart and valves.
They do lots of measurements on the regurgitation, valve diameters, heartbeats, and other stuff.
Both my surgeon and my cardiologist have come to the conclusion that I can put off my valve surgery for now. This is a good thing because I was honestly dreading having my chest cracked open and that was the only surgery option I had.
How long it can be put off who knows but we are aiming for a year or so.
Some might ask why to put off something that is inevitable. Well, there are complications anytime you put a mechanical item into your body. There are complications for some people with the blood thinners and it requires monthly monitoring for some people it is weekly for others. This depends on how your body handles the drugs well I have A LOT of issues with medications so my luck I would be one that would have complications.
Right now my symptoms ( extreme shortness of breath, dizziness) are being managed by adding new medications, changing old medications to better medications or reducing the dosage of an existing medication.
I feel very blessed and I am thankful I get to wait a while on this surgery. Thank you for all the prayers and good thoughts I appreciate your support.
The carotid artery scan last week the results were great.
I had my heart Cath on Wednesday of this week and the best thing happened to me.
My arteries are that of an 18-year-old. There were no blockages or partial blockages my arteries are perfect.
I contribute this to a change in our diets 26 years ago when my father n law had a heart attack. I made the decision at that time to stop frying so many foods and now we maybe have something fried 2 x a month.
I have young arteries and even though I will be doing heart valve replacement very soon this is such a blessing.
I have spent the last few weeks at Dr. Appointments, testing and getting my results on follow up visits.
I have had 3 EKGs, 1 regular stress test, 1 nuclear stress test, 1 echocardiogram and I wore a Holter monitor for 24 hours. The only results that are not back yet are the Holter Monitor.
I have mitral valve stenosis this was discovered about 12 – 14 years ago. Almost every year without fail I have gotten my yearly echo that is until I got breast cancer and then I had other priorities to take care of. No one should ever put off their yearly heart testing that was not very smart of me but I have no one to blame but myself.
Mitral valve stenosis is caused by Rheumatic Fever but I never had that as a child or an adult. This was verified with my parents. Think of stenosis as a hose that is being stepped on and blood can not flow through the valve properly there is leakage spewing and backflow.
My mitral valve is what they call Moderate/ Severe, there is moderate regurgitation or leakage, as well as my Left Atrium, is now enlarged. There is an estimated right ventricle systolic pressure of 45 – 50 mmHg. I am sure this will be verified by a heart catheter in the very near future.
The symptoms that this causes me are cough, chest pain, and soreness like a bruised feeling as well as dizziness and fatigue.
The Cardiologist says right now we have to get my pulse rate down to around 50 it runs 74- 80. To do this we have decreased my thyroid medication, changed BP meds to a channel blocker 2 x a day. He even added Lasix even though I am not retaining fluid he thinks there is fluid we are not seeing. All these things will ease up the pressures around the heart and hopefully help some of my symptoms.
On top of all this, I have lung issues emphysema and asthma so my lungs are not in the best shape.
In order for me to have Mitral Valve Replacement surgery the heart and the lungs have to be in the best shape, we can get them with medication. With getting an artificial valve replacement I will have to be on 2 blood thinners for the rest of my life.
I have a pulmonologist appointment this Friday and we will see if there is anything else we can do for my lungs to get them ready for this surgery.
Hopefully, by January this surgery can happen. It is open heart surgery which means more recoup time for me. The thought of cracked ribs scares me to death as well as being put on a heart-lung machine but I am trying to stay calm and not overreact.
I am sharing my story with you all in the hopes I can help someone else. I want others to learn through my experiences and I will do my best to keep everyone updated as new things happen.