Friday, March 27, 2009

After much internal debate

I have decided to share my recent excitement.

On Tuesday March 3 while watching The Biggest Loser, I started to experience some chest pain...within about 20 minutes I realized (or finally admitted to myself that I needed to go to the hospital) To make a very long story short and sweet. I was admitted and had an angiogram done. They discovered I had a 90% blockage. So I had angioplasty and 2 medicated stents placed in one of my arteries. I have been home now for a couple weeks and I am getting better and stronger everyday.

One of the reasons I didn't want to share my story was I didn't want people passing judgement on me and my health and lifestyle.

Full disclosure moment LOL
I'm 41
I smoke
I'm overweight
I am not overly active

One of the reasons I finally decided to share my story is because I do not fit the mold for heart problems. (Woman under 50 don't usually have heart problems) And I wanted women to take symptoms seriously...and not to ignore I did.

Denial is very real....I did it for more than two weeks. I was lucky when I had the big attack (was not an actual heart attack..thank god)I had classic signals that even I could not ignore.

Chest pain.
Pain down my left arm
Left arm and hand numb
Pain in my throat
Pain in my jaw (both sides)
throwing up

Take it from no ignore these signs.

Some signs I had before the big day. Mild chest pain when walking to the train. ( is cold out and I'm out of shape)
Out of breath (out of shape)
heartburn that would not go away with medication (Rolaids etc) (just chalked that up to just being weird)
Generally not feeling well (February blahs)

I am lucky, I had a doctor in the emergency room who didn't care that I didn't fit the mold and who listened to my symptoms. I had a cardiologist that didn't care that I didn't fit the mold and sent me for an angiogram.

Now, the good news. I am no longer a smoker. I have not smoked since March 3. I no longer live on Coke/Pepsi and chips...and I have cut out salt. I have lost 12 lbs since this happened and hope to lose more.

This has certainly been quite a month and I learned much. Knowledge is power and I educated myself quickly. One of the sites that provided tons of info was The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Educate yourself and don't ignore the signs no matter how scary it is. (the alternative is much scarier)


Penny said...

I am so glad you are okay. It could have been awful. Are you feeling better? Very proud of you for cutting out the smoking and dropping a few pounds. We want you to be around for many, many more years! Thank goodness you recognized that you were in trouble.

32point5 said...

My friend, don't ever scare us like that again! I am so thankful that you are feeling better; take each day at a time.
I am so proud of you! Quitting smoking and changing eating habits are very difficult adjustments. I need you to be around for ever -- we've invested too much money together in the RSP (Retirement Sewing Plan) Feel better XOXO

Cat said...

What can I say Steph... I'm proud of your effort to quit smoking and change eating habits and especially to share your story for the purpose of helping others. Lemme know when you're ready to hit the gym!

Mary-Kay C. said...

Isn't that a wake call. I hope you do great on the weight loss and your quitting smoking. I'm glad that you had such great doctors that actually listened to your issues. Keep up the good work and maybe all of us should sit up and listen and know when to get help.

Sara said...

I'm glad you didn't ignore the signs and went to the ER. Great job on not smoking and improving your diet! You can do it! And if you want to snag my "Protect your heart" blinkie your welcome to it!

pwl said...


I wondered why you had been so quiet online lately. I'm dealing with diabetes myself - and losing weight isn't easy - especially with every passing year. Good luck, good thoughts, and remember there are others out there with perhaps similar problems. (While I haven't had a heart problem - touch wood - I'm on 3 prescriptions for high blood pressure, and 2 for cholesterol).

{Hugs again}

crazyquiltlady said...

You rock Newbie- glad you are sewing again--good for the boredom-

Lynn and Wayne said...

We are proud of you. Lots of love ......

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you are doing really good. I am now approaching my 60th birthday and wanted you to know that I've experienced 7 years of good health since I had a similar incident back in 2002. Good luck to you girl, you'll do just fine. And GREAT JOB giving up those cigs. Now you'll not only get healthier, you'll get RICH!

Blogless Linda from MN

Anonymous said...

Thanks for listing the address for the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. There are some really good recipes on there!!

Linda from MN

Quilting Newbie said...

Linda from MN

You are very welcome!! Thank you for all your encouragement!!!