Hi, Ann here. Well, we all know that life periodically throws you a curve ball and on Thursday, December 14, 2017 I received a biggie.
While getting ready for a business meeting, I got the feeling of heartburn. I don't get heartburn very often and only in the evening. So, I went to the kitchen and drank a large glass of water. Then, back to the bathroom to finish putting on my makeup. The feeling didn't go away so I went back to the kitchen and took one Alka Seltzer in water... then back to the make-up.
Makeup done and the feeling did not ease. I began thinking about how heart attack symptoms in women can be different than in men. I decided I better cancel my appointment and drive to the ER. However, I noticed my hands were shaking, and that quiet little voice got louder, "Call John." I called John at work and was surprised when I heard myself say, "It's probably nothing, but I'm scared."
The ride to the hospital was maybe 15 minutes and there was no waiting line at the ER registration. I told them my complaint (and actually said, "chest pain", not heartburn), they took some very basic information and I was escorted to a nearby room.
An EMT did an EKG and people in another room viewed it electronically. That's when things switched into hyper drive. While a doctor calmly told me that my EKG showed I may be having a heart attack, and they needed to get me to the Cath Lab, 3-4 other people were starting an IV, removing my clothes, asking me questions, etc.
The rest is a blur until after the angio. I was told that the angio showed I did not have a heart attack, I had no plaque and no stent was needed, but instead had Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD). I had one small vessel that was blocked, but it was too small to put in a stent. Up to ICU I go...
The next morning they performed an echo cardio gram. The technician only took two quick looks at my heart and got up to leave (so I thought), but instead said, " I saw your cardiologist at the desk, I'm going to go talk to him." The doctor came in and the technician resumed the test and immediately said, "You have a large mass on top of your heart and it has to be removed."
Enter the shock, fear and panic. My whole body tingled and my mind was racing. New diagnosis: Myxoma. Open heart surgery was in my future! And, soon.
The cardiologist did a fabulous job of telling me how he was absolutely positive that I'd survive the procedure without any issues because I'm healthy with a good, strong heart - with no other issues except the tumor. The 8-week recovery will be tough, as to be expected.
I had no forewarning about this issue that has apparently been growing for ~14 years (when I had a stress test with school). I've been assured there was nothing I could have done to prevent this.
The tumor is in my left ventricle and they'll need to take some healthy tissue, too, so it doesn't grow back. I'll need a bovine patch or two since they'll be removing a portion of the wall separating two chambers. I'll be on life support for two days and in the hospital for 5-7 before being released to a rehab center or home, depending on how I progress.
The upside: 1) My faith 2) My heart is very healthy 3) Catching this early before the tumor could break apart and travel elsewhere 4) I have a high tolerance to pain 5) A lot of people are praying for me (Thank You, please don't stop. My nephew's brain surgery ~3 years ago showed me the power of prayer. I'm praying my recovery will be as amazing as his.)
I've been through a plethora of tests, consultations, etc. My discomfort has been minimal with slight heart pain or occasional shortness of breath. I'm no longer able to lay on my left side without discomfort.
What you can do for me: 1) If you believe God, pray for me. If you don't believe in God, pray for me anyway! 2) Please, I know you want to show your love and support, but please, No flowers, No plants, No visitors. Cards are okay, sent to my home. South Metro Chapter friends, check with Gloria for the I don't feel comfortable putting my address here, contact me via FB or text and I will provide before my surgery.