I'm in the same boat but just 11 weeks ahead of you. I'm 42, female, non-smoker, very healthy and ran into the same prob. 100 % blockage of my LAD coronary artery and partial blockages of the Left and Right CA's. Had 3 MI's over 9 hours and emergency angioplasty with 3 stents.
The post operative care I've received is dismal in its greatest moments, and several on this forum will attest with similar anecdotes. But as the mediator of this forum and many who've gone through what we have only recently, have provided me with more info, care and concern than all the 3 hospitals, docs, nurses I have had the "pleasure" of dealing with.
So please "stick around". My first post on here about a week ago on April 5th was "Post Heart Attack Sad+Stressed" - please skim through it but more importantly read the replies from the awesome people here.
Here are some tips in no particular order:
1/ PTSD like symptoms: You're absolutely right - it feels like you've been through a car accident or something similar.
2/ Meds+Side Effects: Please be aware that the meds have numerous side effects and that you're not going insane! Inform your doc of all that you feel. I kept a daily diary of all my symptoms, and when I went to my cardio I had a synopsis of all the "new" things that didn't feel right. Some you will have to take for the first few months that will feel like they're doing more harm than good, but take them religiously!
3/ Be Proactive: If the cardio says he/she doesn't need to see you in 3 mts or less, I consider that a RED FLAG. My cardio didn't want to see me after my second appt. for another 6 mts. - I got a second opinion and told both cardios what I was doing.
4/ Do NOT allow yourself to be dismissed: If the nurses are being dismissive of your symptoms - tell the cardio. If the cardio seems unprepared at your next appt. or is also dismissive, plz seek a second opinion.
5/ Family: Not sure of your fam situation. Family has little or no clue about the magnitude of emotions and physical trauma you're going through. They have their own fears and at some point some of them cannot provide the emotional support - they too are simply "exhausted".
6/ Facade: Don't try to put up a brave or courageous front. It takes too much energy and right now you have to focus on you. But at the same time, don't lay in bed and wallow. That's what someone on this forum told me. It's a delicate one, because you have to be kind and gentle to yourself without sucking yourself down into the vortex of self-sympathy. I'm still struggling with this one.
7/ Communicate: Well you're already doing this by being here. When family+friends are tired of hearing of all the twinges, and stabbing pain, and rapid heart beat and soreness in the chest or pins and needles in the arm, come on this forum and post your symptoms. There are many wise and caring people over here, who're a lot more balanced and smarter than I'll ever be - seek their counsel.
8/ Persevere: And you better hang in there for the long haul! Please know that your darkest thoughts and fears will percolate to the surface. Massage the thoughts for a little bit and then put these fears of fatalism, suicide and death gently aside and focus on today.
9/ Sun: Please get some sunlight. I didn't do this, and I paid a heavy price. I stayed in bed all day feeling glum. You have to force yourself to step out for even 5 mins. I'm not sure of your family situation and the family dynamics - lord alone knows families can be nutty :) but if there is fam or friend who can sit with you on the lawn or balcony (I live in a tiny condo)
10/ Prayers: I feel at times that God has abandoned me, and in my darkest hours, I simply cannot bring myself to pray. There is still too much anger, and frustration and foreboding and uncertainty of the future. So I've done a couple of things - I've asked others to pray for me and when I cannot bring myself to pray, I fill my house with Gregorian Chants + different versions of Ave Maria.
11/ DON'T prepare yourself for worst case scenarios. My parents always hammered the old adage into me - "hope for the best, prepare for the worst". This adage DOES NOT work! I went online late into the night and researched away any strength I had mustered during the day. It sapped me of much needed emotional and physical energy.
12/ Cardiac Rehab: Please see my post. I was told to join a gym until some of my new friends on this forum informed me how critical it is to join a rehab program!!!
12(a) / Therapy: If you feel that you are not able to cope, as am I right now, be open to seeing a therapist. I'm going to see one next week.
Sorry for the data dump, and I hope you find some of this helpful. I'm still a newbie here, and glad I found Medhelp when I did. You have come to the right place at the right time and I look forward to your posts.
God bless, and best wishes on a full recovery.
Welcome to the board. I also have CAD with 6 stents. I understand going from healthy to where you are. You were very close to death and you should be very proud of yourself for listening to your bodie's warning signal (chest pain) and saving your life.
So many people put it off until it is too late. I have had 2 good friends to die of CAD/heart attack in the last 2 months. They never knew that they had blockages.
For now, try to get your head back to some normalcy. Be extra careful of depression as CAD directly can cause it. Try not to obsess on the CAD. Be sure to take your Plavix and aspirin, if your doctor has told you to take them both. I cannot tolerate aspirin, but I take Plavix religiously. This combination on can be hard on your stomach, but the stent manufacturers recommend it.
You have just joined a new club. I know how much you did not want to, but it happens. Try to count your blessings. I always think of little children who develop leukemia and die at such a young age.
You must make some lifestyle changes in order to lower your cholesterol and take statins if recommended by your doctor. Make sure that you have a good cardiologist. Keep your blood pressure and pulse rate under control. If you take a beta blocker, never stop taking it abruptly.
Your 60% RCA blockage may go to 70% whereby it will be stented. The rule of thumb for stenting is when the blockage is at 70%. Has all of your angina gone away? You must feel so much better and have so much more energy.
Angina is your warning system. It can maybe tell you of an increase in the RCA blockage or restenosis of your left main.
That is your worry now, if you need more to worry about :) RESTENOSIS (blockages within the stent forming)..... It happens frequently within the first 6-9 months. It is normally due to scar tissue build up where the stent was inserted. The medication in these stents are supposed to suppress this scar tissue formation. Sometimes it doesn't. I have had at least one stent to restenose.
Stents are there forever and definitely save lives. The only other alternative would have been CABG, but if your actual Left Main was blocked I don't know that it could have been bypassed. Left Main disease is the very worst form of CAD, I hate to tell you. I have Left Main disease also and have a series of 4 stents at the beginning of my Left Anterior Descending Artery (LAD) where it taps off of the Left Main. The last stent protrudes into my Left Main about 1/4 ".
Good luck and G-d bless,
The two previous posts have provided excellent information and advice. I would add one more bit directed toward the proactive part--doing something about it.
I found comfort in reading Arthur Agatston's book, "The South Beach Heart Program." Agatston, the South Beach Diet guy is a renown cardiologist. He claims his patients who practice what he calls "aggressive prevention" of heart disease rarely have heart attacks--even though they all have heart disease.
The message here is there are things you can do. And doing the right things will give you an excellent chance of living healthy and to a normal life expectancy.
With regard to your question about your feelings? Of course those feelings are normal. They are expected! Even episodes of depression are common.
When you recover and begin again to take charge of your health and practice "aggressive prevention" in what ever form it takes, you will get stronger emotionally and physically.