Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

My SCAD Story

July 5, 2013

Five weeks ago today I was on a 4 mile walk in Glenwood, Minnesota – my small hometown. I now reside in Colorado Springs but I was at home helping my father move from his home into an assisted living apartment. The SCAD event happened on a Tuesday morning and we had had a very busy and active weekend with the move. The Friday night before my event I had traveled all day and later in the evening I experienced some shoulder blade pain and pain across my chest but I just did some stretching and contributed it to the long day of travel. It wasn’t until I was on my walk on May 28 that the real stuff started. I was about a mile into my beautiful walk when the shoulder blade pain began. I did some stretching. Then at mile 2 I was in a park and I had to sit on benches three different times and press my back into the bench to get some relief. I am a walker and hiker so sitting down is not something I normally do when I am out exercising. The pain started across my chest and up my neck and jaw. My arms were both so painful and my hands were going numb. I kept walking and if a car had come by I would have asked for a ride back to my Dad’s house. I really do not remember getting back to Dad’s but I did and went directly to the iPad and typed in Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack. My 92 year old father drove me to the small town hospital. The ER got me under control and I waited in a hospital bed for 6 hours so they could do a 2nd blood test to check my troponin level. Immediately after that result I was taken by ambulance to a larger hospital in St. Cloud, MN. On May 29 in the afternoon I had my first angiogram which lasted over 3 hours because of the SCAD event. Drs. Pelzel and Dahle saved my life! On May 31 I had another attack and another angiogram. The next day I spent 10 hours in Atrial Fibrillation. I have been back in Colorado for over a month. I am in Cardiac Rehab three times a week and I will see a cardiologist on July 8th. I’ve been to one cardiac support group meeting. I am happy to keep finding good information on the internet. I am hoping that I will be accepted in to the SCAD Study at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. They have all my records and I’m just waiting for them to confirm my SCAD event. I have my appointments set up in Rochester for September. My life was certainly turned upside down. I am almost 62 years old. I do not drink, I do not smoke, I do not have diabetes, I weigh 138 pounds, I have great cholesterol levels, I have low blood pressure, and I walk or hike at least 25 miles a week. My grandmother died in 1959 of a massive heart attack and an uncle died suddenly of a heart attack – on my mother’s side of the family. I never gave that much thought because my father’s side of the family lives to 95-105 years of age. I always counted on that!