Heart Disease

Heart to Heart
Heart to Heart

After surviving a rare coronary artery dissection and massive heart attack while nine months pregnant, Nefertari has devoted her life to uplifting other heart patients and promoting heart health awareness.

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Dealing with my Diagnosis

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Returning home to four children with a new baby and a failing heart was not an easy task.

I was a very sick mother of five. When I first got home from the hospital, I went straight to bed. I was barely able to walk or talk, yet I had a new baby to care for and four other children who were super-excited to see us. To them, I looked fine. I had no visible scars and my belly was flat—so why was mommy so sad and sick?

That’s a question I needed to understand for myself before I could try explaining to my children what had happened to me. I was released from the hospital with very strict instructions. I had to return every two days to get my blood count and the levels of a blood thinner I was on checked.

At my first visit, I asked the doctor if he could explain to me what I could expect my future to hold. He was very honest with me. He said, “What happened to you is very rare and the heart attack that followed did some significant damage.” My coronary artery had torn, causing blood to collect and cut off the supply to the bottom of my heart, which led to a massive heart attack.

I had to have three stents placed into the torn artery to repair it. Because my heart was so weak, it wasn't pumping blood efficiently, so the fluid was collecting in my lungs and causing me to have pulmonary edema.   

At the time, my heart was only functioning at a 12 percent ejection fraction (a normal rate is 50 to 15 percent). On top of everything, he told me that I also had pneumonia. Then he said, “You’re a very sick woman. If I were you, I would go home and enjoy every second with my children.” 

Hearing those words was very scary. I wasn't ready to give up on life, so I made the decision to fight. I did some research and learned that eating healthy foods, keeping a positive attitude, and moving my body helps to prolong life. I adapted to this lifestyle and I try to stick to it.

Things have turned around a little since then. However, I still hear the doctor’s words just as clearly as the day the he said them. I know that I must live my life one day at a time and that it’s better to enjoy every moment than to wait for something bad to happen. That was three years ago—and I'm still kicking.

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Tags: Accepting the New Me , Learning Limitations

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About the Author

After surviving a heart attack, Nefertari has devoted her life to promoting heart health awareness.

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