Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

My Second Story

May 26, 2018

It’s been a while since I wrote about SCAD. Life after SCAD has changed for new survivors, it’s a whole new world since my episode. My first story started after the birth of my 3rd child, on January 4, 1994. I was 33 years old, a mother of 3 children, what should have been one of the happiest times, ended in the ER, being told I was having a Heart Attack. What???

Then I was told I should never get pregnant again, that would basically guarantee not having another heart attack. Why? No real answers, just a surprise that I survived, SCAD was usually found in autopsies. What?

The fear I had was, “don’t get pregnant”. If I get pregnant, I will die, if I’m not as lucky as the first time. Who will raise my children? For the next 19 years, I really believed, that as long as I don’t get pregnant, I would be fine. I was told that the hormones during pregnancy was the only cause of SCAD.

I didn’t get pregnant, I went to my Cardiologist every 6 months, routine blood work, Stress Test, boy have they come a long way! I felt lost having had a heart attack caused by SCAD, but I wasn’t afraid. “As long as I didn’t get pregnant!” I kept telling myself, I am fine.

2 years later, I ended up in the ER, was transferred to Lankenau Hospital, had EPS Study and diagnosed with Ventricular Tachycardia. That was what scared me. I had SCAD under control, as long as I didn’t get pregnant! But trying to control my stress and anxiety was a whole different story.

19 years later, I was admitted into the hospital for Diverticulitis. That’s when I searched for Post-Partum Coronary Artery Dissection and found SCAD Research. When I found my discharge papers, there it was written Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. For some strange reason, I felt scared, it became real. I haven’t stopped talking about it since. Most people I met didn’t even know I had a heart attack, unless I mentioned it and then it was even, matter of fact, just my luck, no information to explain, just don’t get pregnant!

Over the last 6 years, I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster! Happy to have finally found the information. Angry because there is a lot more to it than, just don’t get pregnant. Jealous that some women were planning pregnancy, I missed out on. Helpless for the new survivors. Anxious learning about women during menopause, HRT and exercise. Confused when men were diagnosed! I felt like I was lied to, my medical records were destroyed, only the last 10 years?? I couldn’t be part of the Research. But my biggest fear is for my 3 children, I never dreamt that SCAD could ever affect them. I worried so much, I didn’t want anything else to do with it! I turned off my computer for the last 3 years! My daughter recently got married, hopefully babies are around the corner! I don’t want to think of SCAD, I want it to be a happy time for her. What about my 2 sons, I have too many questions, I had to turn back and find some more answers.

When I first found it, I was determined to “Spread the Word”, so I did! I wanted everyone to know what SCAD is! I feel like, Mission Accomplished. There is a whole lot I don’t know about SCAD, but I do know that SCAD is being taught, I can see it. It’s amazing! And I cannot thank SCAD Research enough!

Last October, during surgery for a deviated nasal caused by a fatal car accident in 1988. Which I now wonder if that had anything to do with SCAD, I was pretty beat up, but six years before SCAD? Now, in 2016, having a 3rd time surgery on my nose, I coded. I woke up thinking all was good, only to learn nothing was done. Ended up in the Catheterization Lab, telling them that I can’t get one because of SCAD! I was scared it would cause another dissection, but all went well. I did however learn that I now have 2 “rare” heart conditions, I had heart failure caused by Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy. I read where some have been misdiagnosed for SCAD and Takotsubo, I don’t understand how that could be possible. Takotsubo changes the shape of the heart. It wasn’t until my 3 cath. that I was diagnosed with SCAD in the RCA, the doctor didn’t recognize SCAD,and I assume it is hard to see. I feel confident that SCAD is being looked for and/or ruled out today.

The Doctors at Temple Hospital reassured me that they knew quite a lot of information about SCAD. I listened to them talking to each other, I understood what they were saying and I felt safe for the first time. I do feel the 3 heart problems, SCAD, VTAC and TS, were caused by some level of stress. I still need to get tested for FMD, which I have been avoiding for the last 6 years.

I have witnessed the changes personally in the Cath. Lab! Keep up the great work everybody!

Bless Your Heart!