Monday, October 10, 2016

Serious as a Heart Attack

     I used to say this phrase a lot.  And now I know just what it means.  Some of you follow me on my personal page and already know this.... but Yours truly had a heart attack last Friday!  Yes, that is why there was a lack of posting on my Coastal Star Decor page last week.

No, I didn't know there was a problem, 
No, I am was not on any medication.
No, I don't smoke. Never. Not even once.
No, I am not a regular drinker.  Maybe an occasional cocktail once/twice a year. Maybe.
Yep, only 46 years old.  
(All of you that I told I was 68 so that I looked really good to you, I guess the gig is up.)

I already feel empowered to be an advocate for heart health as a survivor.  So here is my story,  I hope that any of this story may help you.  The most asked question of me this past week were from women asking about my symptoms.  I want to share my experience, and yes please feel free to share this if you think it may help someone.  Women are not always the targets for heart health literature but I am here to say, yes HEART ATTACKS HAPPEN TO WOMEN, EVEN YOUNG(ISH), WELL MIDDLE AGE(ISH) WOMEN!

It was Friday morning and I was prepping pieces for the Poquoson Seafood Festival.  I was cutting wood with my chop saw and building.  I had just unloaded my lumber from my truck and had given a joy ride to my Rottie up and down our street.  I felt anxious about my workload, but was feeling pretty good at having the entire day to do what I love.
Sophie, Coastal Star's newest assistant enjoying job perks.
As I was cutting my wood I noticed I was sweating a lot.  The morning was a beautiful 73 degrees and I was frustrated at how uncomfortable I was beginning to feel.  I thought Kim get a grip on yourself, it is not that hot.  My elbows started to ache, both of them equally.  Shucks, my arthritis is flaring.  I had loaded two loads of lumber the day prior so I was not surprised I was getting achy.  But then the pain started moving up my arms and within 10 minutes my arms were too heavy to lift.  Again, a heart attack was NOT on my agenda for the day, so I began to think... FLU?  MONO?  WHAT IN THE WORLD?  

OK, I will finish this piece and go inside to sit a moment and assess. 

I didn't finish the piece.

As I walk to the house I realize I am out of breath and beginning to be nauseated, and I am mad as a hornet that I am about to spend my free day getting sick.  Walking in the house is when I felt the truck being dropped on my chest.  The chest pain is unreal and I now know I am having a heart attack.  I tell my daughter how I feel and notice that my jaw feels tight, like it was locking up.  

Off to the Emergency Room we go. (yes, no need to comment....next time we will call 911, and you should too) Within 5 minutes of my arrival they do an EKG, see I am indeed having a heart attack and 20 minutes later I am in surgery where they find an artery 100% blocked and they insert two stents for me.  It is one week and 3 days from the event and I am already feeling like a new person.  I have cardiac rehab and a lifetime of medicine taking ahead of me, but I feel blessed to be able to do it.  And the best news is that I have little if any permanent damage to my heart!

Were there any symptoms before the heart attack in hindsight?  I think so.  I had a general tiredness feeling all summer.  I attributed it to my RA and just thought it was par for the course.  And the RA, well my symptoms have been 10% post heart attack of what they were all summer.  HMMM?  Will continue to monitor that of course but HMMMMM?  My mood was short and I had to watch my temper.  Again, something I chalked up to the arthritis pain and achiness.  In the month prior to my attack, I had three big Dr Appts where they listened to my heart with a stethoscope.  Nothing was said or noticed then.  I do have genetics against me, my Dad and his Dad both died in their 50's having had heart attacks. 

I do NOT have any medical education, and please don't take my symptoms to mean they are the only ones.  These are just my symptoms I experienced.  I think women can have a spectrum of symptoms that we too easily ignore.  If your intuition tells you something is wrong, please get seen asap.  I wish I had.  Heart attacks hurt.  Bad.

So here is my story, I will keep you guys posted on my progress, and if you have ANY questions about me that could help you about you or a loved one, please ask.  I have a journey of recovery ahead of me.  I am blessed.  I have had an outpouring of love and kindness since my heart attack.  I joke with my family that I feel like I had a funeral without having to die to get it.  I hope to pay back with information and to let my blog followers and fellow Coastal lovers know that I so appreciate you and your support of me and my little business.  

Keep creating, do what you love, and take care of yourselves.