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One year ago today - heart attack!

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Wiserallthetime posted 8/1/2014 16:41 PM

Today is my one year anniversary of having a heart attack. It was not your usual, garden-variety, artery blockage heart attack; it was one no one really hears much about, but that can be just as deadly.
The technical name is Takotsubo. It is also called "stress cardiomyopathy" or "broken heart syndrome". It is brought on by extreme emotional distress and is mostly seen in women. The emotional distress situations listed include divorce or a relationship break up. Such was my situation - over 20 years of marriage being tossed away by my cheating husband, despite all the chances I gave him to do the right thing.... (Due to the contentiousness of the divorce situation, I cannot share much - just leave it at LTA with my BFF that has destroyed both my and her families, with children in both. The history and details are much more sordid than that, but I am unable to tell at this time, fearing legal repercussions....because of this, I have only lurked here for a long time, joining today just to share this important information....)
The good news is, if you are having such an attack, which gives you much the same symptoms as the other type heart attack, and get help right away, you can survive, and the damaged heart muscle can heal rather quickly. My personal good news is I knew my family history regarding the blockages-type attacks, and I was able to get help quickly when I had my attack; I am now nearly "cleared" by my cardiologist as well.

I write this today to warn you all, especially anyone new to the immense pain the situation causes, to be careful. Know the signs of a heart attack; don't be afraid to seek help because it might "just be a panic attack" (statement not meant to downgrade panic attacks, as I have had mild ones of those too, so I know....but it is a phrase we use to downplay things or because we might be embarrassed if that is "all it is"....I know - I started to that day....). It is better to be embarrassed than to be dead. Regardless of how you feel today, maybe feeling like you'd be better off if you were dead, I guarantee you, it will feel differently a year from now. I am still in the midst of the divorce process; a year ago, I wished I were dead so I didn't have to deal with it all, but today, I wrote a note of gratitude to the people who helped me when I had my attack - I am grateful because I am alive today. What a difference a year makes!!

I am no doctor, but I am a survivor, so if anyone has questions about Takotsubo, please ask. I will try to answer. I never knew about this possible problem until I suffered it; I hope to make as many people aware as possible - before they or someone they know suffers it as well.

freelancer posted 8/1/2014 17:12 PM

My mom died of broken heart syndrome two weeks after I told her of my husband's As. I told her days after DD#2 and she died just weeks later.

I am sorry you went through that.

Wiserallthetime posted 8/1/2014 21:59 PM

Thanks for the thoughts,'s been a rough few years, with more to come. But, I am here; I survived, and I will fight to give my children the best I can, despite these circumstances. (And, yes, this is a huge change from where I was a year ago - crying in the fetal position day after day on the shower floor, wishing I were dead and feeling like perhaps WH was right and I WAS crazy after all; I am not "healed" yet, but I have come a very long way....)

And, I am so very sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine going through all of this without my parents. My mom, especially, has been there for me with everything I have needed from childcare to simply listening. I feel for you, having lost that support. It sounds like she probably had done exactly what my parents had done for my husband - accept and love him as their own son, only to see him turn not only on their daughter, but them as well as he re-wrote the marital history to assuage his own guilt and shame.... That re-writing is hurtful enough; I am very sorry you can count the loss of your mom amongst the damage done by your husband's As.

ItsNotUitsMe posted 8/2/2014 07:31 AM

Glad you are doing well. I also suffered a heart attack in the midst of the D trauma. It was more the traditional type but certainly fast tracked by the severe non-stop stress for a couple of years. I signed up for wireless service in the hospital just to be able to keep in touch with my lawyer and trade information required for an upcoming hearing.

The attack happened in the middle of fixing a leak in my basement during a hurricane. I immediately assumed the hyperventilating, sweating and pain was some type of anxiety attack. In all fairness ive never had a panic attack or a heart attack so I had no idea what was going on. AND I was only 39 years old and seemingly in good physical shape and a regular gym goer.

I called my mother and asked her to come over to help me with the leak so I can rest and try to regain my composure. I actually tried to sleep off a heart attack! I had chest pains that mimicked muscle soreness for a month afterwards and did not seek medical attention until the pain returned a month later very randomly.

There was some more drama in there but finally ended up in the ER a few days later straight from the doctor's office where they confirmed I had (and was having) a heart attack. Next day surgery revealed a 99% blockage in my LAD (aka Widowmaker) Called that because most people with this issue immediately drop dead from a massive heart attack. How I lasted 2 months, I'll never know, but I'm here 3 years later.

Did not mean to t/j your thread Wiser, but believe in your message and wanted to second the warning.

To deal with all that was going on in my life, I was constantly sucking it up and marching forward and doing what I needed to survive. That included sucking up this physical pain and getting on with things. In reality, by not seeking medical attention immediately, my heart was irreversibly damaged.

Do not underestimate how much emotional stress affects your body physically.

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