I got my first sad email last week. A person that had read my blog and corresponded with me before had a second "event." He's alive, and will be starting his second round of cardiac rehab soon. What's sad is that he KNEW he was having problems and didn't go get it checked
out. He didn't go to the hospital. Do you guys know what happened? Do you understand? Permanent, irreversible heart damage. He's never going to get better and he's going to die... much sooner than he should. After a few emails and a virtual hug of goodwill to my heart buddy I made him a promise. Full disclosure. Let's shine a harsh light on heart disease. This is exactly what a heart attack looks like.
The only editing I did to these pictures was to crop out my personal information. That's right guys, this is my very own heart. Let's take a deep, bracing breath and continue shall we? Look at the top image. That is my heart during a massive LAD heart attack. See the faint circle around the LAD that says Before? That's where my heart was failing. That's the blockage. See what's beneath it? You can see all the veins starving. That's my heart being strangled and starting to die. The whole thing looks wilted doesn't it? Now look at the bottom part of the picture. In a short bit of time I'd had a balloon angioplasty and a shot of nitroglycerin directly into my heart. Didn't work. Go big or go home right? This After picture was taken after I got my stent. Just LOOK at the difference guys. See how everything lights up? Notice the thickness of the LAD in the before and after. The difference is amazing! Notice the bloom of blood vessels that you couldn't see before underneath the blockage. That's my heart plumping back up and acting like it should.
These pictures were really hard for me to post so I really want you to look. Ask yourself this... Would you REALLY stay home and try to tough it out if you could see this? Does this look normal to you? Meet the Widowmaker. How do you think the LAD got that name? You don't stay home and tough out a Widowmaker attack. It's Death. The before picture could have been a swift end to my short life. It's a dying heart. What saved my life? I got help. I called for help and my husband saved my life. He made the calls and got me to the hospital. If I had stayed home I never would have woken up. This diagram was made by my cardiologist. There's my blockage. It qualifies as massive because my Widowmaker was little to begin with (I didn't know that.) and the blockage closed to 95%. Again, I cropped out the personal data but left all the grisly stuff for you guys to see.
After a year of tests we think we've narrowed down the cause. There appears to be a small kink in an already narrow Widowmaker. We think it's either a birth defect or a lesion caused by a childhood illness. As I got older plaque built up, I got stressed, and a heart spasm squeezed the plaque covered walls together sealing off the Widowmaker. A heart attack at 30. Go figure. I'll never know for sure because the stent is fixing the damage.
Now look at the poorly drawn little heart on the top left of the diagram. It says 40%. I had a swift response time and had surgery immediately to fix the blockage. After it was done? I had 40% of a working heart. Give me a break here. I'd had a rough day! All the tinkering on top of the attack leads to a stunned heart. I wasn't performing at my best. This is why you get tired and it's the source of heart attack fatigue. With just 40% of a heart working there's no way you're getting enough oxygen. Imagine powering your body with only half a heart. It's miserable guys. It took a year (And a lot of work.) but I'm fine now.
So there you go! This isn't a fun or funny post but I hope it serves it's purpose and fulfills my promise. I endeavored for full disclosure and you got it. I really want you guys to look long and hard at what a heart attack looks like. This is a Widowmaker. This is a blockage in a LAD. This is the leading cause of death. Go ahead and look at it. This is, or was, my heart guys.Look at these pictures and know this. I ignored all the warning signs and I paid a high price for my stupidity. I forced my frantic husband to literally carry me into an ER. I scared my family and made them endure the agony that is the surgical ICU waiting room. As for me, I had a slow, painful recovery, a boatload of expensive medication, and cardiac rehab. All while experiencing the joys of heart attack fatigue and angina.
Would you wait with this for treatment? You don't fight this and you can't wish it away. Please, please hear me and my friend when I tell you this. There is NO minor reason for chest pain. There is NEVER a time when it's okay. Felt a sharp pain and it faded? Call 911. RUN to the doctor. Please go get it checked. Get the blood work done. Know your blood pressure and treat it if you must. My friend wants you to learn from his mistakes and I hope you do. Scroll back up and look again. Would you wait? I really, really hope not. Make me proud guys and take care of yourselves!