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.See all posts »
One Day Up, Two Days Rest
Four years ago, I experienced a SCAD (spontaneous coronary artery dissection), which lead to my development of heart disease.
Because everything happened so quickly, it has taken me a while to accept how much this event has changed my life. Before my heart attack, I was a very energetic person, and my brain still hasn't quite caught up to the fact that my body can't do the things it used to. It's a constant battle between desire and ability.
I have major damage to the left top front of my heart. The muscle tissue is no longer strong enough to beat properly, which leaves the burden on the rest of my heart.
When this happens, my doctor explains, it's like having a sprained ankle that won't heal because you keep walking on it. The difference is that, unlike a sprained or fractured ankle, we can't stop using our hearts for several months until they heal.
On the days that I am able to take it easy, I have fewer symptoms. But when I choose to do anything -- and I mean anything -- I pay for it the next day. Just like walking on a sprained ankle.
When activity puts a strain on my heart, my entire body feels very, very tired as a result. My heart is tired as well, and does its best to keep up, but can't efficiently pump blood throughout my body and the rest of my organs suffer because they are not getting the blood supply that they would like. Ultimately, all organs decide to rest, and I end up in bed.
Even when I am laid up in my bed, my mind is still active. My head says, "I'm fine. I would love to go to the mall..."
From the neck down my body says,"Do anything except move!"
I have been told not to be too hard on myself. My body is doing its job during this recovery phase. It usually takes two days, but sometimes it's three. My body lets me know when it's had enough rest -- I can fold a basket of clothes with out needing to lie down afterwards.
It's a battle to live with such a devestating injury to the most vital organ in the body, but I am so thankful that my life was spared thanks to wonderful doctors, state-of-the-art technology, and my belief system, that I cannot do anything except smile when I put my hand on my chest and feel that very slow,faint beat. I'm still here, and I'm still fighting.
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