Episode 5 – The Day My Heart Stopped

Ever wonder what it felt like to have a heart attack? I’ve had a lot of people ask me what my symptoms were.
I actually had what is known as “sudden cardiac arrest” and not a heart attack. An SCA, as it’s called, is when the heart stops due an electrical malfunction. A heart attack is caused by a blocked artery and often is fixed by a stent. Only 7% of people who suffer a SCA survive. Without an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) to restart the heart’s rhythm the patient dies. How are they different? Learn more on the American Heart Association’s website.

If you believe you are experiencing any kind of heart event, call 911 (US).

Cardiac Arrest vs Heart Attack

MY STORY

I’ll skip a lot of stuff and get you caught up to October of 2014, when we decided to have our carpet replaced with a sheet vinyl. One that looks just like wood. I ordered the flooring product and lined up the installation to happen in August, but Menard’s damaged my roll of sheet vinyl. Since it was a large order it had to be reordered from the mill for the dye lot to match. So the installation got postponed until October. However, since the job actually was done in October and the weather was cold and the heat was on, all the contaminents were staying inside the house and we were breathing them.

Once the floor was done and the furniture all back in place I started experiencing problems breathing. I went to the clinic the first week of November and was treated for asthma. I felt like I was climbing the walls on those steroids. I started exhibiting symptoms of autism, including ADHD, OCD and gut problems. I was overly sensitive to sounds and visual stimulants. I got very upset if the cabinets or drawers weren’t closed all the way. I began bouncing my knee with nervous energy. I couldn’t concentrate. I felt like a mental mess. It was the side effect of the steroids. Not only that but I later learned these medicines cause fluid retention that could lead to congestive heart failure.

I got through the Thanksgiving weekend and felt like hell. By December 15th I thought I better go back to the clinic. I felt like death would be a welcome relief to the misery of trying to breathe. The next morning I called the ambulance. I thought…OMG…I’m having a heart attack. I actually had what is known as sudden cardiac arrest and not a heart attack.

SPIRITUAL

Spiritual means different things to different people. Having been raised a Christian, I am spiritually connected to God. I also find spiritual peace in the beauty of nature, and it is here that I feel the closest to God. I find a spiritual presence not only around me, but also within me. It is in the toughest times that my spiritual strength has sustained me. True healing encompasses more than just your body, it is also a healing of your mind and your spirit.

After my sudden cardiac arrest and at my weakest physical point, my cardiologist told me that “some things are out of my control” and that some patients in my condition recover and some die. I answered him saying, “whether I live or die has never been in my control doctor, it is God’s will…not mine.”

You see, I do not fear death. I will rejoice the day I am free from this world and am in God’s eternal kingdom. Only in heaven will there be beauty and peace that surpasses this world we have come to know. However, God isn’t done with me yet, so I best be getting stronger so I can get busy doing what I’m supposed to be doing on this earth.

I often think of the 13th verse of Philippians chapter 4, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It makes more sense when taken in context, so I provide the verses that precede my favorite one.

Philippians 4:10-13
Thanks for Their Gifts

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

As I healed, through God’s grace, I prayed for guidance. I knew that if I asked, I would be given grace and gifts to help me. I had to trust Him completely and if I listened, I would know. In my heart of hearts I would know what I should do. So I kept my eyes and ears open and a movie came across my radar. The movie, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead“ showed up in the queue on Netflix and we watched it. Shortly after the movie was over my cardiologist called me. He wanted to know how I was doing and basically to suggest I “get my affairs in order”. He had called me to tell me I may not make it. I told him that I had just watched the movie, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, he chuckled nervously. I continued to share with him that we were fixing a “Mean Joe Green Juice“. He sort of chuckled again. I’m not sure whether it was the title of the movie or the idea of juicing he found amusing, but I knew I was on the right path. You see, I remembered this verse I have highlighted in my Bible. So I figured that God wanted me to juice my vegetables and fruits in order to get the nutrition my body so desperately needed to heal.

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. Genesis 1:29-30

CLEAN LIVING

My FIRST 7 Steps to Recovery

1. Getting the nutrition my body was starving for.

In the book I learned more about MTHFR and decided to try this special type of B vitamin that was a bioavailable form. After all, what did I have to lose? I told my husband about them and he immediately ordered them online and got overnight delivery. I started taking them and overnight I felt the life energy in my blood return. My husband saw the spark of life back in my eyes. The pallor of my skin was different. I was going to live.

2. Juicing.

The best way to get optimal nutrition into your bloodstream quickly is by juicing. Green juices with either kale, spinach or other leafy greens were added because they are loaded with folate, the vitamin my body needed. I added celery and cucumber to all my juices along with one fruit per person for sweetness, along with any other herbs or other ingredients that made for pleasant tasting flavor profiles. Did you know, “on a per gram fresh weight basis, herbs rank even higher in antioxidant activity than fruits and vegetables, which are known to be high in antioxidants? Many studies have also shown that most spices tend to have unique medicinal qualities.” Check out the recipe section for my favorite juice combinations.

3. Drinking filtered water.
Water is critical to life and the best way to give your body a “kick start” is to hydrate your cells with clean water. Do not drink tap water that contains impurities from a municipal system or from a well.

4. Connect with nature. Get fresh air and sunshine. Take off your shoes and ground your body to the earth’s energy.

5. Mind over matter.
Change your perspective. Let go of emotional baggage that is weighing you down and causing unnecessary stress. Allow yourself to think positive thoughts. Don’t become a victim of your disease, instead learn how to become stronger so you can help your body to heal itself.

6. Laughter.
Everyday I watched a funny TV series. I asked my friends and family to send me cartoons, jokes, or stories that would make me laugh. It is true that laughter is the best medicine.

7. Gratitude.
I learned to be grateful and appreciate life. I had been given another chance at life. I was humbled by my mortality. I wanted to love and be loved, so I look for ways to be thankful for what I had, instead of complaining about what I thought I was missing.

You never know how much time you’ve got in this life, so live each day as if it’s your last. You may not get a second chance like I did.