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heart attack at 42
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my wife is writing this

I had a massive heart attack (widow maker), I received a stent in the left main they say I crashed twice I was on a heart pump for 3 days and a ventilator for a week. I woke up really weak and confused found out later I had 2 small strokes. My E/F was 35, I was put on plavix, aspirin 325mg, metoporolol 50mg, linsopril 10mg, lovastatin 40mg, famotidine, potassium. I formed a blood clot where there is damage to my heart so now I am on coumadin as well. I am now 44 yrs old, the last 2 years have been hard on me and my family. I have 4 kids 15, 13, 9 and 8, we were very active and I am trying to get disability as I was a laborer and owned my own business and can no longer do this anymore. I just wanted to introduce myself and will be checking in everyday. I am very luck to be alive. Just need to talk sometimes. May God Bless.
Posted on 12/04/11, 07:01 pm
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Reply #11 - 12/06/11  7:11pm
" Dear Joe,

In fact the 23% was my last echo 2 years ago... since I refused the defib, my cardiologist refused to do more echoes, she says that I only can go worst but it is my choice.

Well my days vary, since I have no real obligations .... a typical one could be

8:00 -8:30 I wake up an make my normal daily needs, except the shower, this is the only task that I am not able to perform daily, I get too tired with it.
8:30-9:30 I clean up the kitchen (you know that I am the one who cook at home) and prepare orange juice and breakfast for myself and my wife.
9:30-10:00 Breakfast time
10:00 - 11:00 Get dress for Gym (the pulsometer it is always a pain in the ass, never works the first time) + drive to the gym.
11:00 - 12:30 Work out in the gym (at least 45minutes) + back home driving.
12:30 - 13:30 Coffee or wine with wife and friends in the bar
13:30 - 14:30 Cooking
14:30 - 15:00 Eating
15:00 - 17:00 Listening news + Nap in the sofa
17:00 - 20:00 Simple snack + Food shopping or walk or visiting grand kids or friends.
19:00 - 20:00 Internet time
20:00 - 21:00 Coking again
21:00 - 21:30 Dinner time
21:30 - 24:00 TV + Internet

8 good sleep hours and here we go again....

I think my secret are the supplements that I take, although my cardiologist insists that it is only "The placebo effect"

Jesus "
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Reply #12 - 12/10/11  2:32pm
" my husband has to see his cardio every 3 months, at first it was like twice a month and now its 3 months. The cardio told him that his meds he will take the rest of his life. That seems abit much to me but who am I, I didnt save his life. He was a pretty healthy guy before all this, he worked 9 1/2 hours in the sun everyday. We were working on our dryer the day it happened. He told me that he was having a pain in the middle of his back and I thought he had just pulled a muscle when he yanked the dryer out to get to the vent. He was doing stretches and everything but it wasnt helping. I guess he went to the bathroom and took 1000 mg of bayer aspirin at that point and sat on the bed and hollered for me to come in. That was the most scared because he said " Honey call 911 and I love you and tell the kids I love them too. I called 911 and he grabbed my hand and it was like touching an icicle. The medics came and immediately started an ekg and iv. They couldnt get the stretcher in the house due to a fish tank, which by the way I no longer have, so they had to carry him out. The paramedics told his dad which lives next door to us that the outcome wasnt going to be good, thank goodness I did not hear that, I was upset enough already. The paramedics told me to stop at the lights that they werent but for safety I needed to.I called my boss and he beat me to the hospital. They take me back to see him and he kept asking for something for the pain, they wouldnt give him anything due to no blood pressure. Like 5 minutes later they are pushing him to the cath lab with me following just until they get to the waiting room, They take the mask off and tell me to tell him good bye. That should have told me something but I wasnt comprehending anything at that point. So our friends show up and we are waiting and waiting, they said 45 minutes, our friend has had 3 HA with no problem if there is such a thing so I didnt know how serious it was until 3 1/2 hours later the cardio came out drenched in sweat and told me that my husband was a very sick man and he didnt know if he was going to make it through the night, I was able to go back and see him and I almost passed out, My healthy husband was laying there on life support and I didnt know what to do. He had 9 IV's, a ventilator, and a heart pump. They kept trying to wake him up and he would posture, so a few days of them trying the dr said that they thought my husband WAS DEAD IN THE HEAD, his exact words. I was shocked, so they did a cat scan and found the 2 strokes. He is here but not all the way and from what the dr is telling us he is as good as he is gonna be. The cardio said that usually when something like that happens to someone they do bypass but they didnt have enough time left. So trust me I am not complaining because God can hear me and I dont want him to think I am no appreciable. Sorry for the long vent, rough day "
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Reply #13 - 12/10/11  4:27pm
" Anne,

I am so sorry to read this story. Although it doesn't present much medical detail, it does give us one very sad fact. Your husband suffered what appeared to be many ischemic events both cardiac and cerebral. I cannot speak much for the strokes but like coronary artery disease they are usually sudden with no warning. The ache in around his rear shoulder area is typical angina like symptoms. Ones that I am very familiar with. Your admisistering him aspirin, most likely saved his life. The heart pump is endemic of severe cardiac ischemia which often renders his cardiac muscle too week to function on its own to prolong life. Good news is there are many accounts here on DS where folks have been assisted by these ventricular devices and have rebounded not to need them any further as the medications and the strengthening of the remaing myocardial tissue negates the need for those initial devices.

I am soo sorry to hear of his stroke issues which further cements my insistant advice for all cardiac patients to undergo full body arteriograms to access the state and function of our whole body's other vital arterial network. It is common and obvious to me that if ones' cardiac artery's are tending toward occlusion, then some or many other arterial networks could be in a similar state of decline and require close monitoring. That his complication occurred simultaneously is sooo sad and unfortunate. One thing I will attest to you is that the brain is another incredible organ in our body and its ability to learn by utilizing other areas of former dormant / latent inactivity and ability, is often just sessions of therapy away from relearning to utilize those areas and resume to live normally, just in a different manner. You have not shared any more details with us to comment on but I can assure you that our thoughts, hopes and prayers go out to both of you as you struggle through this very trying time. I might also say that by you staying strong for you, him and ya'lls other loved ones will give a sense of hope clarity and the will to fight on and not give up. And, indeed, God does hear you even when your moyuth doesn't utter a sound. Your thoughts and heart speak volumes. So Anne, we will follow you closely and pray dilligently for his recovery and for God to be with you all and be your strength through this.

My Best To You,

Just Joe ♥ "
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Reply #14 - 12/10/11  6:15pm
" Ann,

I cannot imaging what you had gone through, my wife only was in the edge for 3 days and now, 4 years later, she still get shocked and near cry when she remember those days.

But tell us, how is your husband now?

Does he has neurological problems due to the strokes? Or does he only has cardiac problems?

Jesus "
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Reply #15 - 12/10/11  9:02pm
" mainly now he is always tired due to the meds he is on, after almost 2 years the strokes gave him short term memory loss and he went from not needing glasses to needing bifocals. He still doesnt remember to take his meds, he is always forgetting but he is here to say I love you! "
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Reply #16 - 12/11/11  5:10pm
" OK Ann,

Is he tired or sleepy?
Is he tired already when he gets up in the morning?
Has you noted that his respiration stops for a while while he sleeps at night?
Is he really tired .... not having the strength to do things that he wants or he says that he is too tired to plan anything?.
What his normal BP is?

Those questions are about to check :
1) If he could be suffering sleep apnea, common in people with heart issues and more probably in people with strokes and that produces sleepiness.
2) If he is suffering a depression which is very common after the heart attack.
3) If his BP gets too low due to medication, that will produce him an immense tiredness.

In any case some good habits that helped me a lot are:
1) Sleep at least 7 hours a day.
2) Rest horizontal at least 10 hours a day.
3) Eat 5 - 7 very small meals a day. With weak heart you cannot afford large meals.
4) Stop, I repeat Stop salt intake as much as I can
5) Be sure of been properly hydrated
6) Avoid cold-hot situations adjusting CONTINOUSLY my dressing accordingly.

By the way, in the first post he mentioned the medication that he got after the problem, but what is the one that he is taking now? Any supplements? Still on famotidine? does he really has an stomach problem or it is just prevention?

What sort of exercise does he made?

Jesus "
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Reply #17 - 12/11/11  7:24pm
" He is still on all his meds that he was put on after the HA, he has good days and some not so good days. As far as being tired, it is more just tired but not sleepy tired. Sorry hard to explain. His bp is always around 100/60 which his cardio wants him there. The famotodine is for acid reflux. As far as exercise he tries to walk to the end of the road and back, which is good because when he first got home his cardio said mailbox only. He does have problems sleeping at night, never gave apnea a thought until you mentioned it. He also now can not stand to be in a crowd. "
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Reply #18 - 12/12/11  11:02am
" OK Ann,

Before I go on, let me tell you that I have no medical training of any sort and that I only am a very stubborn patient that decided to learn how to have a good quality of life, even, some times against my dr. advise. That means that what ever I say, you just should take it as clues, to investigate or to discuss with your doctors.

How often does he sees his cardiologist? How often he gets blood tests?

The reason for that is because taking potassium, he needs to be controlled very closely... I would say every 3-4 months, to be sure that there is not any imbalance.

And I am surprised that, after 2 years, he takes Plavix, high dose aspirin and coumadin.... is the cardiologist aware of all those medications?? Basically they works in the same goals.

Have you detected if he has blackish stools? With so many blood thinners loosing blood in the stomach it is always a risk, and this can produce anemia and tiredness. By the way to detect the anemia in a heart patient, you need to check the reed blood count and also the iron metabolism: ferritine, Folic Acid and Vitamin B12, which can difficult to assimilate by the lack of acid in his stomach due to famotidine.

Was he suffering acid reflux before the heart attack?
I ask because potassium is a sort of problematic medicament to take. Does he takes 1 single dose per day of famotidine or 2 (morning and evening)? That will determine if his stomach will have some hours where he can assimilate nutrients that require and acid environment.

I assume that he takes 1 dose of metoprolol and 1 dose of lisinopril per day... Does he takes them together or one in the morning and another in the evening? If taking together, has he tried to separate them? This could make him to feel less tired.

Now on Metropolol.... there are the succinate and the tartrate, either of them have as side effect: "short-term memory loss ".
There are other Beta Blockers, like Carvedilol, that do not have that side effect.

By the way, does he suffer: Short of breath, liquid retention, inflammation of the ankles, inability to stay standing up still (like in a queue ), pain in the chest..... any other symptom??

Now on good and bad days.....
It helped me to move from feeling to facts in that area. This is what I did:
1) Defined a number of small activities just to know if I were able to do it or not: wait standing up, prepare the breakfast, take a shower, do small shopping, make my daily exercise, you need to define your own.
2) Start a journal, with an entry for every day and divide the day in morning and afternoon.. then compare how the morning and afternoon has gone accordingly with your goals and record a plus or a minus if he has done it or not.

Believe me, it will help a lot to understand if any change that you do will translate in more or less tiredness.

Enough for now ....

Jesus "
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Reply #19 - 12/12/11  11:13am
" Now. Jesus displays the epitomy of owning his own health issues. He has researched and learned from his and other's conditions what works well and what doesn't work well. He understands that there are always some negative side effects with the medications we take. He has also learned that how he takes those meds can counter some of the negative effects. His journal gives a very good snap shot of recurring history in order to better manage his health.

Did I mention that Jesus is a retired engineer. Wow! Now that's an attribute. Ha! Ha! Ha! His advice is well studied. Thanks, as always, Jesus. Rememeber (New Jersey Shore)this summer. Big Hint !!!!!!!

Love you,

Just Joe ♥ "
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Reply #20 - 12/13/11  11:06am
" My husband gets his INR's tested every 3 weeks, he is normally around 2.2 to a 2.7, he gets a CBC and a CMP done 3 times a year to check for other problems. No blood in stools. We asked about the metropolol and his cardio said that he wants him on this succ. No water retention that we can see. He takes the metropolol in the morning and the lisinopril at night. The potassium was from when his kidneys were shutting down for the massive HA and the dye he was put on kidney darts and prednisone, when his kidneys are started working again they took him off the darts and the prednisone but he was having problems keeping his potassium in range so they kept him on that. When his blood is tested he is in range. Thank You all for all your comments, and we are always checking for new comments from you all. "

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