Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

March 4th Forever Changed My Life

June 5, 2016

March 4, 2016 was a day that forever changed my life. I had a heart attack.

I have always thought of myself as a sturdy, healthy woman. I am 58 and postmenopausal. But there I was in the emergency room with what seemed like a gazillion people buzzing around me.
I had just started working out at the gym a few weeks earlier. I had decided it was time to resume exercising in earnest after healing from a big toe fusion a year ago and an ankle fusion 3 years prior.

It was a Friday afternoon after work and I was headed to the gym. As I crossed the parking lot to my car, I felt a pressure in the center of my chest. I wondered whether I had some cross-contamination from gluten at lunch in the cafeteria. I changed at the gym, still feeling ‘odd’. I thought I just needed to ‘work it out’.

I stretched and sat on the rower. Then I started feeling nauseous, ran back to the locker room and violently vomited. I felt sweaty and lightheaded. Pressure was growing in my chest. I decided to go to the desk to get my blood pressure checked. (I’m on beta-blockers for PVC’s.) My blood pressure was very high and I was asked if I was coming down with something? I decided to go cool off in my car. There I googled heart attack symptoms for a woman and drove to the ER…. Of course, in hindsight that was a very, very bad idea. (Also, the gym staff have been educated to a woman’s heart attack symptoms.)

I was treated in the ER and transferred to a larger hospital with a Cardiac Unit. By the time I had the cath on Monday morning, my SCAD was already healing.

As soon as I was released I signed up for Cardiac Rehab. What a godsend!!! It allowed me to regain my confidence in exerting myself. It taught me how to listen better to my body. It helped with the depression that one experiences when they face their mortality.

I have a BIG pill box now. I keep my nitro in my cell phone case. The chances of having another SCAD is real. But now I feel stronger than before. I just graduated last week from Cardiac Rehab and plan to continue my workouts.

I believe that IF you survive your first SCAD, you are still destined to do GREAT things in life!