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Need Support Group

  • 1.  Need Support Group

    Posted 07-24-2022 16:56
    Hi - I am a 35 year old female who had a heart attack (MI) a couple of weeks ago and a stent was placed in my LAD.  I have another artery that has 60 % blockage which the cardiologist did not think was significant but I am very worried about that now as I don't want to have another heart attack later down the road.  I am on a few medications for high blood pressure and cholesterol and also changed my diet only eating plant based foods.  This has been a shock for me as I thought I have been on tip top shape of my life.  I was jogging at least 4 times per week, lifting weights at the gym 3 x per week, practicing yoga and meditation.  However, I was eating a high fat keto diet to the extreme and eating red meat on a daily basis, which I did not think would affect my health as I was not gaining any weight.  The heart attack changed my life overnight it seems and I feel that I have PTSD from it now.  I feel scared, sad, and not know who to talk to.  When I talk to my friends, family, and even therapist I just don't feel like they understand as they did not go through what I went through.  I feel so alone in this.  I did find a chapter in my area but they only have a meeting once a month.  Are there any other support group meetings available where I can just talk and listen to others who have gone through what I went through?

    Lendsey Lalangan

  • 2.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 07-25-2022 05:05
    Welcome to our club Lendsey.  It is a club that none of us ever hoped we would be joining before we ever learned about our assorted little heart problems, but we are grateful to have found one another.  You are our sister, now, and we your brothers and sisters in this site can and will serve as your default support group.  You will make new friends here, including perhaps a few with whom you might develop a friendship beyond this group.

    I had what was described as a mild heart attack followed by emergency quintuple bypass surgery 4 1/2 years ago at the age of 67.  I was a lot older than you, but people who knew me were shocked because I was (and still am) a lifelong athlete, gym rat, weightlifter, bodyweight trainer and runner (I'm unable to run anymore for reasons related to sciatica, not my heart; curiously, it hasn't interfered with weightlifting).

    I still experience PTSD and also feel a difference speaking to people like yourself who have experienced some of what I have experienced, but I also have grown to understand that life is a great equalizer and that people who haven't experienced heart disease may feel some of the same sense of isolation, or difference or alienation because you have not been though what I have been through, either because they have survived cancer, or are combat vets, or are ex-cons, or are concentration camp survivors, or have lost a child or a spouse, or suffer from mental illness.  Or they are sitting in the waiting room, awaiting their own future life trauma. The point is that they all are our brothers and sisters, boughs on the same tree of life. 

    I feel so grateful to all the beautiful strangers that have saved my life and taught me these lessons.  They are strangers no longer.  As a great man named Ram Dass once said, we are all just walking each other home.

    I hope that this is just the first of many encounters you have on this site.  



    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ

  • 3.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 07-29-2022 01:09
    Hello Lendsey

    Welcome, I understand you need support and hope this works for some or all of it. Your cardiologist recommendations don't sound abnormal to me with 60% blockage, but you can always get another recommendation. I read some especially about LAD which is real common spot to have heart problems. This helped me some. I read they don't stents until 70 % blockage. Unfortunately, I had blockage and vein was bypassed , then occluded, they tried repair with stent. The stent was a failure, vein was to small. So, I have some veins still blocked in my heart. My LVEF was 66% before cardiac arrest now its 40%. Yikes. The LAD was cleared with LIMA to LAD and hoping it doesn't occlude.
    I, personally did have one panic attack after getting home from hospital( hospital stay of 3 weeks) of course I was scared. I felt it wasn't safe at home away from hospital. I was a mess, still hurt everywhere and had to have somebody at home to watch me. Finally, I said Allan you got to get a handle on this for it gets out of control. It gets better, not perfect.

    Anyway, welcome here.

    Allan Kluttz
    Fort Mill SC

  • 4.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 07-30-2022 20:07
    I know exactly how it feels to have PTSD after a heart attack.  And no one seems to understand that hasn't  not been through whatever your situation was which makes it hard to cope.  I had one panic attack about two weeks after I was home.  Was sent home from the hospital after the panic attack with two tablets of Lexapro which only helped me sleep for about three hours.  Previously I was not sleeping.  I don't understand how this mental state after a heart attack does not seem to get addressed by our cardiologist.  Eventually, my PCP prescribed something for me to sleep.  What helped more than the meds was the fact she cared enough and heard my voice for help.  I am not advocating medication for the anguish we feel after a heart attack but I personally think it's worth a try to get a prescription for your anxiety.  

  • 5.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 07-31-2022 09:38
    I still have anxiety even though doctors say I am healing normally. I fear doctor appointments, phone calls and medical bills in the mail.
    I know it is a irrational fear from that inner child in all of us. Like a understanding parent, Reassure your inner child that everything will be fine.
    There are many prayer groups that can help ease your fears/ anxiety. Pray , there are many groups with inspiration and prayers of healing. Talk to a trusted friend or here.
    You can try mental health apps and those with meditation and breathing exercises. Read inspirational and spiritual books.
    I find these help me a lot. Live in the here and now. At this moment you are safe. Appreciate that the hard part is over.
    Peace and love to you.

    Mahalo E Ke Akua No Keia La ~ Thanks be to God for this day!
    Peace begins with me.

    Godwin Wong

  • 6.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 08-01-2022 19:28
    Godwin and All,

    One thing Godwin said that is not an irrational fear is receiving surprise medical bills in the mail. Everyone should be aware that, as of January 2022, there is a new federal law commonly known as the No Surprises Act that protects patients from surprise medical bills.  Various states have similar state versions of this law.

    If you receive a surprise medical bill for a significant amount of dollars, you should consult an attorney in your state before thinking you need to pay it. I personally was hit with a surprise hospital bill of over $30,000 plus back in 2018 that I negotiated down with my insurance company and the hospital to where I only had to pay $200.

    Health care insurance in this country is a mess, but there are legal options for patients, especially emergency patients. and you don't need to be a victim.


    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ

  • 7.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 08-31-2022 12:31
    I find it ironic and especially challenging that we have stress/disruptive emotions to deal with following these events.  That's the last thing a heart patient needs!  So good to talk and read about it here.  Woke up just this morning with the judgment that I was hopelessly neurotic.  Now I feel better, but I do need to continue with stress relief.  For me, it's qigong and time on my stationary bike.  And meditation when I"m moved to do it.

    Sue Tegland
    Everett WA

  • 8.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 08-31-2022 14:43
    Stay positive, meditate, practice breathing techniques, journal, reach out to friends, but most of you've gotta believe we're all going to be ��

  • 9.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 07-31-2022 10:03

    I know that a lot of heart patients feel depression and anxiety when they get home from the hospital after heart surgery.  It's a normal reaction for many and that is absolutely okay if that's how you feel.  Medication, counseling and meditation all are useful tools in helping one to cope with these feelings.

    I'm here to tell you, though, that depression and anxiety are not universal reactions and aren't experienced by everyone.  I, for one, experienced just the opposite.  I had a heart attack, emergency quintuple bypass surgery, complicated by ventilator pneumonia and a c diff superbug infection, that had me in a medically induced coma for two weeks with 50/50 survival odds, a third week in the hospital ICU hallucinating and delusional (nothing unpleasant but I was in an entirely different universe mentally), and then three more weeks in inpatient rehab learning to walk and feed myself again.

    I was euphoric to get finally get home six weeks after my supposedly minor heart attack.  I was filled with a deep sense if gratitude to everyone who had saved my life, from doctors, nurses, assistants of every stripe and ambulance drivers.  That feeling has never left me in the nearly five years that I am now post-surgery.  What also changes for me was the sense of what was important in life.  All of a sudden, business concerns and office politics and shop talk (I was a partner at a major international law firm) while necessary on my return to the job, were in a different context for me.  So were the worldly concerns of friends and families.  I took them all seriously, but I knew that I was living on borrowed time, that really so was everyone else although they weren't aware of it.  I was aware.  I was awake to the timeless element of our existence, to the hear and now smelling of the roses to which most people only give lip service.  For me, it was real.  It is still real.  The great poet, Charles Bukowski, wrote a poem called "Lost." It goes like this and expresses exactly how I feel:

    "they say that hell is crowded, yet,
    when you're in hell,
    you always seem to be alone.
    & you can't tell anyone when you're in hell
    or they'll think you're crazy
    & being crazy is being in hell
    & being sane is hellish too.

    those who escape hell, however,
    never talk about it
    & nothing much bothers them after that.
    I mean, things like missing a meal,
    going to jail, wrecking your car,
    or even the idea of death itself.

    when you ask them,
    "how are things?"
    they'll always answer, "fine, just fine…"

    once you've been to hell and back,
    that's enough
    it's the greatest satisfaction known to man.

    once you've been to hell and back,
    you don't look behind you when the floor creaks
    and the sun is always up at midnight
    and things like the eyes of mice
    or an abandoned tire in a vacant lot
    can make you smile
    once you've been to hell and back."

    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ

  • 10.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 08-03-2022 13:17


    Two years ago today I suffered a fatal cardiac arrest and was very fortunate to be at cardiac rehab where the nurses (my cardiac angels) used a defibrillator to save my life. I have had several more events where my defibrillator went off. I suffer from PTSD and anxiety.  I was in counseling and she was tremendous in my healing.  We actually did PTSD electric therapy (very mild shocks as you repeat a positive phrase). Mine was "I'm going to live".  She was my second therapist as the first did not help. I encourage you to keep looking for a good friend or therapist who will listen and guide you to your new life. 

    I am also on medication to help take the edge off the anxiety. Very low doses. One daily and one as needed.  I know medication is not for everyone.  I know it's helped me cope with my new life. 

    If you want to talk and hear my story, it is very spiritual and uplifting, contact me and we can talk. I will send positive thoughts your way.  

    Randy Waclawczyk
    Round Rock TX

  • 11.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 08-23-2022 07:58
    Hello Lendsey,

    Hope you are doing well! I understand the feeling of not being able to relate to anyone around. I was 14 when I first had open heart surgery. At the time I was not old or mature enough to truly understand everything I had just gone through and how it will impact the rest of my life. Now 12 years later I am seeing and understanding the fear I carry with me on a daily basis, and not being able to truly relate to many of my peers. Glad you mentioned a therapist, it took me years to reach out to one and even if they can't truly understand, my therapist looks up resources and information about my diagnosis to best help and support, hope yours takes the step to aswell. Just know you are not alone in feeling alone. 

    Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or just want someone to talk to.

    Paige Bristol
    Anchorage AK

  • 12.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 08-31-2022 18:27
    Hi Paige,

    I had open heart surgery at 3 months old and 3 years old. I have congentially corrected transposition of the great arteries. I had a PA banding and second surgery was VSD repair.  I am only 33.  On Valentines Day I was diagnosed with Stage 3/4 congestive heart failure.  My big hospital missed it for years and years because I am a complicated medical patient with a lot of other comorbid conditions including rare genetic conditions.  So now I'm in stage 3 heart failure and not a transplant candidate. They drained almost 50lbs of water off of me in my 5 weeks in the hospital.  I've lost another 20 since then, switched to a loose Mediterranean diet, sodium under 1500, etc. Funny enough, I feel better now than I did before I was diagnosed because now they are actually treating it. but it's kinda a paradox cause I feel better but now I know for sure I'm dying.

    Pretty dumb, lots going on, but seem to be doing better for now. If you want to talk, shoot me an message.  I'm always interested in talking to other CHD patients :)

    Cait E

  • 13.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 08-25-2022 12:51
    Hi Lendsey - 2 years ago I had a widowmaker heart attack at home and had a stent placed in my LAD. 9 months later this was followed by open heart surgery with a single bypass. I also have another artery that is 60% blocked with nothing being done since it is not significant. I did not have high blood pressure or high cholesterol before my HA, was active (walking and riding my Peloton several times a week) and generally ate well, but not perfect. I am a low key individual -- stress was not part of my daily life. I was 55 at the time, so holder than you, but certainly not old! I am now on high blood pressure and cholesterol meds. I continue to be active, and am now on the Mediterranean Diet.  I am scared every day that it will happen again. If I feel anything in my chest, arms, throat, jaw, or teeth I immediately think it is my heart and wonder if I should call 911. I have also had bouts of overwhelming sadness that comes from nowhere. That has gotten better somewhat. But generally speaking, I have joy in my heart like I have never had before. It is very hard to explain. The smallest thing will trigger -- a butterfly flying by, for example. It sometimes brings me to tears. I have often looked for a support group in my area with no luck. I did find one right after my HA that was virtual; I met with them once and then they seemed to have disappeared. I totally understand that talking to friends, family etc. doesn't always work. They just don't understand.

    Evelyn Quast
    Maple Grove MN

  • 14.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 10-06-2022 09:06
      |   view attached
    Depression work book

    Charles Crow RN MA FAACVPR
    Manager Cardiac Rehabilitation Program
    War Eagle AU


  • 15.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 09-05-2022 13:16
    I'm hearing you!  I've been searching for a support group that meets in person instead of virtual (I do not like talking to a screen).  My story is this:  Two years ago (February 2020)  I was in bed and suddenly had a sharp pain in my left tricep and sternum.  At first I though it was heartburn.  I went for a walk the next day and felt the same pain as I went up a slight incline.  Didn't think anything of it, but it continued.  It disappeared and I didn't think anything of it.  Luckily, 2 months later I had an appointment with my primary and he sent me to a cardiologist. Unfortunately I didn't see him until July.  The symptoms were there but inconsistant.  After the routine tests it was determined I had a blockage and a week later had a stent placement in my LAD.  I haven't had the pains since then, lost 30 pounds and continue to be active.  BUT now, like you, feel scared each time a new pain appears.  I have tried, unsuccessfullly, to hook up with the local (Rochester, NY group), and actively look for support groups in my area (I live south of Rochester).  I'm sure there are others close by to me that would understand but don't know how to find them.  It would be nice to pick up the phone or meet in person just to talk.  This way of communicating is just okay hearing or seeing a live person is better.  I hope you find a support group in your area.

    Raymond Suriani
    Retired teacher

  • 16.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 10-04-2022 09:17
    The 2 drs I went to never told me about the cognitive aspects either! The dr would not answer my questions before the second ablation and they did just what I wanted to tell him not to do! One hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing! One dr tried to speak with the cardiologist and the cardiologist told him off and he was upset! The drs treat me like I am a retarded person and won’t take their time to listen! I am definitely going to change drs as soon as possible! For example, I was told my carotid arteries were in great shape and today he tells me I have a lot of plaque on them. I could go on and on! I am an RN who graduated with honors and get treated like I don’t count!

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 17.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 10-04-2022 10:23
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    You know what they call the doctor who graduates last in the class - Doctor.   find another MD

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  • 18.  RE: Need Support Group

    This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous
    Posted 10-04-2022 10:23
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  • 19.  RE: Need Support Group

    Posted 10-04-2022 10:26
    This message was sent securely using Zix®

    Not all chest pain is your heart.

    If it  is reproducible   ?  every time you do some activities it happen  - suspicious   

    Does it last 5 min or longer - suspicious 

    Sharp pains are usually muscle 

    Do you have GERD 

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  • 20.  RE: Need Support Group