On February 17, 2010, I experienced a cardiac “event.” I had been complaining to my physician for 18 months about shortness of breath, tightness in the chest and not getting good rest. Because I have suffered from panic/anxiety disorder since 1998, my doctor assured me that it was just my anxiety. In her defense, my blood pressure was controlled, EKG normal, stress level in my life – very, very high.
I was unhappy hearing that answer for so long and the symptoms seemed to be getting worse. I insisted that my doctor schedule me for a stress test, which she did, but under protest. She told me that she was sending me so that I could see, once and for all, that this was all stress. No problem, right? Wrong! The test was scheduled for 2/17/10 at 7:30 am.
I have always been a plus size girl, but the treadmill didn’t scare me. I was able to walk on it for 9 minutes at a pretty fast pace, which reassured me, made me think, “Maybe, she’s right. Maybe this is all in my head?” I live about ½ an hour from the hospital where the test was conducted. By the time I made it home, my doctor was on the phone – I needed to immediately see a cardiologist. The test results were NOT good.
Three arteries blocked – two more than 90%. While I lived under a lot of stress, who doesn’t? I was grateful that I didn’t have a heart attack. There is a reason that I was allowed to live and not drop dead. I had stents placed in the two arteries that were so blocked. My cardiologist believes that the third is treatable with diet, medication and exercise. I am working hard every day to make sure that happens.
Now, about those instincts. Those little voices that we tend to ignore or push aside because we are too busy or preoccupied. It’s time to pay attention to them. I knew, in my gut and in my heart, that something was wrong. If I am really honest with myself, I wanted to hear that this was just my anxiety. I did not want to know that there might be a real problem. It had to get to a point where I was afraid enough to start paying attention. Not anymore.
This “event” was my wake up call. Listen to your inner voice. Follow your instincts. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Listen to your heart and your head. You need to look out for YOU. Take good care of yourself…with love.