Saturday, July 10, 2010

As I Promised

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had a heart attack 13 years ago, when I was 50.  I had not been plagued with headaches, allergies,  or aches and pains, so when I woke up at 3 a.m.  and had this burning sensation that kept moving across my chest (left to right, right to left). What I mean by burning, is a heat sensation, not a burning sensation like you would attribute gastro-heartburn.  This burning sensation lasted less than 5  minutes. I fell back to sleep.  I awakened around 6 a.m. and now I just wasn't feeling right.  I was getting clammy, but my stomach wasn't upset.  My husband  was getting to leave for work, I asked him not to go in that day.  I said, "I'm not feeling just right. Something is wrong."  I  called my primary care doctor.  The doctor on call said," Take a couple of Tums, and call the office during office hours, to make an appointment to come in."  Well!!!! I did wait 'til the office was open, but I walked in without an appointment.  I was probably seen within 15 minutes, by my doctor. She did an EKG, and came back with my husband.  She said, "You are having a heart attack.  I am sending you to the hospital. Your husband will take you.  The ER will have all they need."  So off I went.  I did throw-up in the parking lot.  Remember I said I was feeling clammy.  Other than that I felt great.  If this was a school day,(I was teaching 5th grade at the time), I would have gone to work.  I was admitted, and the next day I had an angiogram done. The results- not good- 5 blockages-  a 99% - a 97% and another one that was 78%.
There was 1 more blockage, but it did not warrant  a by-pass.  I was to have the by-pass surgery done the next day, (Friday).  Surgery was postponed to Monday. I had to stay in the hospital.  So that Monday I went in for a triple and came out with a quadruple by-pass.  On Wednesday, I went home for lunch.  That's right- one day of rest before I went home.  They dubbed me a "rabbit", which means quick recovery. Spent July recovering- and by the third week in August I was driving down to The Outer Banks, for my annual vacation, before returning to the classroom for another year.  I have had no problems since.  Actually, the one blockage that was not by-passed has remained the same. No advancement.  So ladies, my advice is to listen to your body. You know when things aren't just right.  I had no shortness of breath, no pain radiating down my arm, no back pain- in other words, none of the symptoms one would associate with a heart attack.  Heart disease runs in my family.  I expected I too would have to deal with it, but not at 50!  I've added a website you can go to, to learn a bit more.

Something funny did happen after surgery.  As I was coming out of the anaesthesia, I felt someone pulling a zipper up on my chest.  It sounded like a zipper being zipped.  I remember asking, "Did you put in a zipper in case you have to go back in?"  The zipper I heard was on the bra they were putting on me.  Still have that bra. Hope I never have to wear it again.


  1. Oh, thank you so much for sharing Cheryl - so that we know of other things that could be symptoms of a heart attack! I'm so very glad that everything turned out okay for you!! And, I hope you never have to wear that bra again either (smile)!!!

  2. Hi Cheryl!
    Thanks so much for sharing!! How scary for you but glad everything worked out!! I too have heart disease in my I really like to hear about other women's symptoms as they are suppose to be different then a man's. I am so thankful that having a heart attack now isn't an automatic death sentence~ but like you said you have to listen to your body and get to the hospital!! Thanks again for sharing!
    Take care!

  3. Cheryl, I really appreciate you posting this and educating us. This is quite a story and so glad you are alive a well to be with your family and to tell us about it. Thanks so much!!