Mended Hearts Open Forum

Expand all | Collapse all

Introducing myself

  • 1.  Introducing myself

    Posted 11-22-2018 22:30
    Hi Everyone,

    I'm not sure if I should be posting this in another thread- please feel free to let me know if I'm in the wrong place.

    My name is John Lindsey. I am a professional opera singer with a wonderful wife, sweet doggie-daughter, and a baby due any day now.

    I am 32 years old, and was diagnosed with coronary artery disease in July, which was found on CTA after trying to determine the cause of intermittent heart palpitations. I've been placed on a statin as well as aspirin. Earlier in the year, I had early stage melanoma removed, along with several other severely atypical moles. I also recently had partial-fundoplication surgery to try to correct severe acid reflux.

    I deal with panic disorder, generalized anxiety, health anxiety, and depression. Coming to terms with the state of my health (CAD in particular, since the calcium they found is in my LAD artery) has been difficult. I tell doctors, friends, and family, and they all just look at me with a kind of sad pity because they don't understand how I could have this issue; I've made mistakes along the way, but have tried to live an active lifestyle and never exhibited signs of this disease.

    I'm grateful to have found this community, and hope that I can be a source of support as well as hopefully finding some support for myself as well. Nice to meet you all.

    John Lindsey
    Conroe TX

  • 2.  RE: Introducing myself

    Posted 11-23-2018 01:15

    I used to live in Kingwood and am sorry to hear of your issues. We all are fortunate to be alive and living in the U.S. although many of us have to deal with some special issues. Mine was after my heart stopped, I learned I needed a carotid surgery and a quintuple bypass within three days.

    I decided to apply my legal and management skills to creating my own rehab program, and shared it in my book
    www.OneHeartTwoLivescom,  named after my heart stopping and being restarted to begin my second life in 2007.

    Today I am happier than ever.

    Brent Zepke

    Brent Zepke
    Santa Barbara CA
    (805) 698-4651

  • 3.  RE: Introducing myself

    Posted 11-23-2018 10:59



    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  • 4.  RE: Introducing myself

    Posted 11-23-2018 14:25
    Welcome to the group. Hope that it proves helpful to you.

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 5.  RE: Introducing myself

    Posted 11-24-2018 22:38
    Dear John, you may have serious mental health issues, secondary to your cardiac situation. I suggest that you arrange to see a therapist: social  worker, psychologist or psychiatrist. Best wishes from a cardiac patient, former Mended Hearts volunteer, opera lover and retired social worker.

    All the best,
    Walter J. Levy
    7831 Park Lane #51
    Dallas, TX 75225

  • 6.  RE: Introducing myself

    Posted 11-25-2018 13:05
    I would like to provide some perspective as a practicing cardiologist. Coronary calcium scores are very helpful to identify patients who are at risk for developing problems in the future. They also tell us who is most likely to benefit from aggressive prevention. It does not mean, however, that any of your symptoms are secondary to your heart and it does not mean that you need to limit your life in any way. Its sort of like getting a colonoscopy when you are 50: they take out the polyps that may lead to cancer 10 years in the future. Be happy that your doctor did this test so that there is plenty of time to benefit from the treatment he prescribed.

    John Peterson, MD


    This message is intended for the sole use of the addressee, and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the addressee you are hereby notified that you may not use, copy, disclose, or distribute to anyone the message or any information contained in the message. If you have received this message in error, please immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete this message.

  • 7.  RE: Introducing myself

    Posted 02-19-2019 19:24
    Hi John,
     I joined a month ago.
    And its great to read your story.  Congratulations on your Baby!
        What struck me about your story is the issue you bring up are the emotional situations you are dealing with.
         I have had three open heart surgeries, especially when I was younger, all during the seventies. Back then, the chances of surviving were not so great.But the advances made in cardiac surgery and care is beyond amazing.
        So, yes, these surgeries, as I might suggest your surgeries as well, were life-changing. Our bodies go through trauma. The body can, and usually does heal, and heals well.

       After my last surgery in 1976, when I had an prosthetic aortic valve implanted for an aortic stenosis, I spent the next 40 YEARS suffering from PTSD'
    Anxiety attacks, daily, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Why? I doubted my valve, my body, even my life.
         Only recently, just 4 months ago, I had an immense breakdown after suffering from a serious suicide attempt.
         NOW THIS STORY HAS A POSITIVE ENDING!  I spent three months in a facility that assisted others with traumas PTSD, depression etc.

        It was here that I learned that, yep, all these traumas with my surgeries, especially emotionally, were valid:
    I learned that children and adults who have heart surgeries, without getting ANY kind of therapy, psychiatric or otherwise.
    Our minds just can't comprehend what has happened to our bodies.
    I have since radically accepted that I am what I am, I can't change the past, but I can change my future, being more active, loving, and forgiving, To me!
    Hope to hear back from you my friend.
    Ken Levine
    527 Buttolph Drive
    Middlebury, Vt.05753

    ken levine
    volunteer, retired
    Middlebury, Vermont
    United States of America

  • 8.  RE: Introducing myself

    Posted 02-20-2019 10:05
    Dear Ken,
    I read with great interest your assertion of PTSD. I was born with a congenital defect, so since day one I've had a host of what I perceived to be, nasty and painful procedures. Always being told to stay still, get it done, it's going to help you, I couldn't figure out why they were always hurting me and suppressed my feelings.
    It was only until my daughter was in the very same hospital and I got off on the wrong floor, did I realize how deep those feelings ran. I came across the very room that I was in post op after my first surgery at age four. I totally freaked. I just ran, leaving my husband and daughter standing there not knowing what was going on. I ended up in a construction site on that floor being yelled at by the workers. That's what snapped me out of the sheer panic.
    For a long time, I thought those feelings of fear need to be addressed for the patient whether adult or child.
    Thanks for bringing it to the forefront.
    I wish you good health.

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 9.  RE: Introducing myself

    Posted 02-20-2019 11:37
    I am a 67 year old man living in the western Suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. In 2005, I had a quadruple bypass CABG at Cleveland clinic. Since then, I have had an ICD (pacemaker-defibrillator) implanted 7 years ago, diagnosed as type 2 diabetic 3 years ago, then last year had 2 stents put in. I am suffering from shortness of breath when doing mild exertion, like walking up steps, carrying groceries, etc. Had several cardiac tests done, pulmonary function tests and left and right heart caths as well. Now the doctors believe that they found my problem - my pacemaker needs adjusting.
    Hopefully that resolves my issues and I can live an active life in retirement.

    After reading all your stories, I feel blessed that my condition is mostly under control and I am not disabled or have major failures. Good health to everyone and if you need a great cardiologist, Cleveland Clinic Main Campus is the best.



  • 10.  RE: Introducing myself

    Posted 02-20-2019 12:54
    Welcome to the group. Thanks for sharing your story.

    annette smith
    saxonburg PA

  • 11.  RE: Introducing myself

    Posted 02-20-2019 13:23
    Hello John, Annette, Ken and everyone else looking in.
    I have read what you all have said and it brings back all the feelings that I went through as well. Only now I am able to share with others and I have begun to enjoy the process of sharing. 
    I think I have had an advantage many have not. I was diagnosed with PTSD from my time in the military. Long story short 7 years of therapy and treatment I was sort of prepared when I had my 4X bypass in 2015 and a pacemaker in 2017.
    I had already been given the tools to deal with stress. 
    I still had issues and I had several weeks of depression, anger and all the rest. As soon as I was recovered enough to begin visiting other patients I became an accredited visitor, joined Mended Hearts, and began to attend our group meetings.
    I found the more I talked to others the quicker my dark feelings went away. I met with folks that were both better off than I as well as worse off. The sharing process is part of the healing process. The more you share with others with similar conditions the quicker you will feel better.
    I learned not to compare healing with others as we all heal at different speeds. I accepted that my body will tell me when I have pushed it and that I should rest a little more the next day.
    I have decided to treat it like a trip on old Route 66 and stop and all the places I want to instead of heading down the freeway just blowing past everyone and everything. Take your time, enjoy the trip, share with others, and it will get better faster.
    The one thing I also learned it to include the family members, especially the primary caregiver. They need support from us the patients as well as the sharing of other caregivers. They have a unique kind of stress that is unlike ours. They are sometimes not provided with information by the medical staff. They are the ones dealing with the rest of the family while still trying to care for us. They are not given rehab or meds yet they are still having to recover from all this as well. Make sure they go to the Mended Hearts meetings with you when they can. It lets them know they have a support system as well.
    Thank you all for sharing and I look forward to hearing about your progress.

    Richard Short
    Chapter 395

  • 12.  RE: Introducing myself

    Posted 02-20-2019 14:21
    Thank you Richard. Your words help. I will have to see if a local chapter is near me.

    annette smith
    saxonburg PA

  • 13.  RE: Introducing myself

    Posted 02-20-2019 14:58
    Dear Richard,
     Thank you for serving.
    Very good advice, especially about keeping friends and family in the know.
    And it seems that your experiences from the past has helped you in recovery.  Good for you. It is an ongoing process.
    You brought up something that made me realize something extremely interesting:
         My parents were with me every step with the three open heart surgeries I had in 1968, 1972, and 1976. Back then, therapy of ANY kind just was not part of heart surgery before, during and after such procedures.
          My Father passed on 11 years ago, and my Mom, 90 years old (!)
    is amazingly well.
         Your part about family made me realize that my mom, and dad when he was alive, never received counselling either!
         It is no wonder that my mom insists that I don't need any State assistance, I need to get a job, (I retired at 62 just four months ago) or accept that I am a recovering alcoholic. Further, she told me that if people see me at A
    A, they won't want me anywhere!

        Now, I grew up with, to me, were the best parents ever. My childhood was
    wonderful, until my first surgery at age 11..
        So I now know, that my mom wants to believe I am "better-better."

       At 90, I don't think I need to bring this up at is what it is, but this was an "Ah Ha" moment.
    Thanks for sharing