Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

How to scare your husband on Halloween

February 22, 2015

I am 54, healthy and relatively fit – by that I mean pre-SCAD I was jogging up to 5 miles a pop. To start at the beginning – May 22nd, I was home alone when I experienced chest pains and nausea in the evening. I laid down and waited 30 minutes or so and it dissipated. Great – must be indigestion. Went to sleep. Next day I felt OK except that I was totally out of breath anytime I tried to even move.

Eventually my dear friend (thank god) persuaded me to call my Dr who said get to the ER (I drove myself) where I was told you are having a heart attack and was admitted.  The next day they did a treadmill stress test and decided it was not a heart attack and was costochondritis – basically a muscle strain – and sent me home. Phew I thought, close call. I went back to my normal life, rode a 136 mile bike ride, continued jogging etc.

Then – Halloween rolled around. The day before (10/30) I had a stressful event – my neighbor died in her sleep and was found by her teenage daughter, it was a bad day for all and I spent several hours with the family, EMT, and police. That evening I experienced chest pains again similar to what happened in May and thought must be anxiety due to the situation. The next day – Halloween – started out as a normal day, I was working at my laptop (I work from home) when I suddenly experienced severe chest pains, nausea, and a rush of heat. I did as before and went and laid down but this time I knew it was far worse. I called to my husband (also working from home thankfully) he rushed over and took one look at me and dialed 911. The EMTs arrived within about 7-10 minutes and confirmed heart attack. I was in the hospital within about 25 minutes and the cardiologist was waiting for me. I was taken straight to the cath lab for an angiogram where they discovered several dissections.

I do not remember much about all that but I do remember that by the time I was on my way up to a room my right arm was extremely painful, I did not make it to the room as my arm had a haematoma from the angiogram so I was rushed back down to the cath lab. I woke up in ICU with a brachial stent in my right arm. This is one Halloween we are never going to forget. I spent 2 days in ICU and a further week in the cardio ward.

I am now almost 4 months post SCAD # 2, being medically managed (no cardiac stents), going to cardiac rehab and I just hit the 3 mile mark on the treadmill at 4 mph. I am adjusting to my ‘new normal’ as I train for this years bike rides, 70 miles end of May, and 188 miles in August. I have joined the club no one wants to join ‘SCAD Survivors’ but in doing so I have met some wonderful people – fellow SCADSters and my medical team. My poor husband says there are better ways to scare him on Halloween but he is thankful that I am still around to scare him in more traditional ways. Thank you for allowing me to share my story.