Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Remembering Meagan – My Sister

September 24, 2016

“Kayla, I’m in the emergency room with Mark right now, Meagan had a heart-attack.”  This is the phone call that I received from my dad at around 4:45am on July 4th.  A phone call that I could not comprehend and a phone call that has forever changed mine and my families lives.

It was the day before, that Sunday, my family and I were all up at my dad’s house having a cook-out for the 4th of July.  Two months to the day after my sister, Meagan, gave birth to her sweet little baby boy Kayden.  I remember sitting with her in the living room just chit chatting as always and I was like wow Meagan you really look good for just having a baby.  Meagan was always so beautiful and was the cutest pregnant person too.  This was her second pregnancy as she had Grayson too about 17 months prior.  The perfect beautiful family they were, Meagan, her loving husband Mark and their two sons Grayson and Kayden.

I remember crying in bed right after the phone call from my father, a heart- attack, a heart- attack.  How is that even possible?  Meagan is a healthy, active, beautiful, smart, loving, 29 year old.  How can this be true?  My husband and I quick got ready and headed to the hospital.  What seemed like hours that went past until we could finally go see Meagan in ICU.

Prior to her being in the ER or the ICU that early morning of July 4th she came walking down the stairs where her husband Mark was still up watching T.V.  Meagan made it into the kitchen which is open to the living room.  Before Mark had a chance to look over she collapsed.  Mark rushed over, Meagan didn’t have a pulse, he started CPR right away and called 911.  When she got to the hospital the Dr.’s performed surgery on her heart giving her multiple stints.

When we finally got back to see Meagan she was hooked up to machine after machine after machine and was induced into a coma.  Before we could even comprehend this she coded and we were rushed out of the room so they could do the proper procedures to bring her back.  The Dr.’s were able to get her stable.  Later she coded again.  The Dr.’s were able to get her stable.  While waiting in the waiting room the Dr.’s came out and gave us the full update of what was going on.  They diagnosed Meagan with SCAD.  As so many people, we had never heard of this and had many questions for the Dr.’s.  Later they transferred Meagan to another hospital to better assist her needs 24/7.

That night the doctor’s literally told her us she had a 1% chance of living.  1% chance.

They told us if Meagan did make it through this and become stable on her own she would need a heart and a lung transplant.  Day’s went by and she proved the Dr.’s wrong.  Her heart started beating on its own again and her lungs started looking better and better.  She needed less and less support from the ventilator.  Her MRI’s and CT Scans looked rather “good” for all she had been through.  The neurologist was hopeful.  During this time though she had a lot of other medical issues that appeared.  Her one leg started to loose blood flow and they had to amputate it.  Her stomach filled up with so much fluid they ended up draining about 9 liters of fluid.  Her kidneys started to fail so she had to go on dialysis.

It was during this time after they took care of some of the items causing even more stress on her body that we began to see Meagan open up her eyes, not conscious but her eyes were open.  A step towards hope.  She then began moving her head, and blinking, and moving her eyes.  I will never forget the one day I came after work.  I was there every single day to see her but the one day I was talking to her about Hawaii, where her husband Mark and her got married and where my now husband and I went for our honeymoon.  I was telling Meagan about the lieu we booked and all of a sudden she began to cry.  Facial emotions, tears and everything.  It was at that moment where I knew she heard me and all of our conversations we had and the rest of my family had with her.  She was starting to feel emotion and pain.  I really had a lot of hope.  Gosh I would pray I don’t even know how many times a day for a miracle to happen to Meagan and for her to “wake-up” from her coma and one day come home to her family and us.  We knew it would be a long long process to recovery but we were all there and ready to help her and her husband and kids.  Meagan was the strongest person I knew.

It was then the week of July 25th, I came after work to see her and I remember having to put on a gown and gloves to see Meagan.  The Dr.’s were unsure of what was wrong and had never seen anything like this.  Her skin became really red and dark.  Meagan was always blessed with beautiful naturally tanner skin but this tan skin was just not right especially for her not being out in the sun.  Her eyes became all red and blood-shot.  It was so scary.  We questioned the Dr.’s time after time to double check on things and to please find what is wrong and what they can do to make this better.  Because of this she started a high fever and her heart rate and blood pressure started to go down-hill.

It was Wednesday, July 27 that Meagan passed away.  The hardest day for my family and I.  Even today, it just is so hard to comprehend and make sense of this.  I still wait for a text or call from her.  We talked every single day after work about our days and what was new and what we were up to that weekend.  She was my best girl-friend I could ever ask for, she was my sister, she was my role model growing up.

It’s been an emotional roller coaster to say the least for all of us.  She left her husband and two little boys behind.  We have all been helping them out in all ways possible and will always continue to.  We are a very close family.

Meagan was supposed to be my matron of honor, I got married three weeks after she passed.  It was a very emotional day in many of ways.  I released a Monarch butterfly that I raised from a caterpillar prior to the ceremony in honor of Meagan and said a prayer.  It just so happened to grow into a beautiful butterfly the day before my wedding day.

The day after she passed I was on my way to her husband, my brother-in-law’s house and I was driving on the main road and a Monarch butterfly flew right in front of my windshield.  It was at that moment that I knew it was Meagan sending me a sign and telling me hi.  From that day on I keep seeing Monarch butterflies.  From my rehearsal when Mark, Grayson and I were walking together and one flew right in front of us to my husband and I being in Hawaii and seeing them to my run yesterday.  I was thinking about Meagan and I crossed the street to the other side of the road and there in the grass was a Monarch.  As soon as I approached it is flew next to me for a few seconds and then flew in front of me again and then went on its way.

Meagan has touched so many lives and she will forever be in our hearts.  It just so happens that the SCAD 5K walk/run is in our backyard in Bethlehem, PA along with the Galla this coming Saturday.  All of our family and friends will be there to support SCAD and the research for it and in honor of Meagan all other this has taken a toll on.

They say SCAD is rare but this needs to be known and aware to women.  It breaks my heart to personally see what this can do.  Since Meagan’s passing her story has been shared in the newspapers, internet, fundraisers, word of mouth.  It is in my hopes that her story has made others aware of this and continues to.