My Heart Stopped so I Could LIVE

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 27

There are two posts that I have been dreading. This is one of them. I have been putting it off, can you tell? I have not reflected on myself in a while. If procrastination was a career, I would be very successful. As most of you already know, at the beginning of this year, I vowed to change my life. I set goals for myself, and I started following my dreams. Since then , I have been very high strung and actually quite productive. I have lost weight and I am now the proud owner of not one but two Etsy shops! I know I know, most of you already know all of this, but what you don’t know is there was a huge turning point in my life that led me down this road. There was an incident that changed my life forever. Last year, my heart stopped.

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Before I can tell you about the day that changed it all, I must first take you back to the beginning. I will try to keep this brief and to the point as this is not a subject that is easy for me to discuss. When I was in the 11th grade, I began fainting. At first, it would happen randomly and every so often. Eventually, it got worse and started happening a couple of times a week. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was fainting almost everyday. I had every test done that you can imagine. I was missing so much school that eventually after I would faint, would make a quick visit to the nurse then return to class. I was the talk of the school, and not in a good way. I was not normal. I was literally passing out all of the time. Soon I fell into a deep depression. I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t enjoy life anymore. I couldn’t even get my driver’s license. I tried to be strong and remain positive, but this was devastating to me. I felt like everyone knew me as “the girl who faints.” Since I had no prior medical problems and I was for the most part healthy, my heart was the last thing they checked. My senior year, my cardiologist found what he thought to be the problem. There was a piece off skin that had wrapped itself around one of the nodes in my heart. Right away, I was scheduled for a cardiac ablation. I got better. I graduated in 2003. The procedure worked for a while, but unfortunately it was not a permanent fix.

I started fainting again in 2008. I was a single mom working part time as a waitress. The other part of the time I was playing poker for extra income. (a story for another day) Just like before, when the fainting first started it wasn’t happening very much. By 2009, it was happening much more. I had enough of a nest egg saved from poker that I decided to quit waitressing and play cards full time. Then I met my husband. We fell in love fast, we married fast, and we started a family even faster. The first year of our marriage was the hardest. In 2010 we moved out of state and soon I was fainting all of the time. We had a newborn, and my health issues really took a toll on our marriage. I was severely depressed and I missed Josie. I missed her more than anything. There were days I found it hard to function. How much longer could I live like this? My husband was missing an obscene amount of work for ER visits and DR appointments. I started seeing a cardiologist who believed I had SVT. (supraventricular tachycardia) He wanted to be sure so they implanted a Reveal Monitor in my chest. This device recorded everything my heart was doing. They were hoping to catch the SVT, and they did. In fact, it didn’t take long at all. They watched the recordings and saw episodes of my heart rate reaching above 240 beats per minute for minutes at a time. I needed another ablation. They went in and thought they had fixed it. I was still fainting after and I eventually had two more ablations. Keep in mind that while all of this was happening, I suffered an ectopic pregnancy, was pregnant and gave birth two more times. I had a lot on my plate, but after the final surgery I was fixed temporarily.

We arrived in Rhode Island July 2014. I had started fainting again by September. I went to the ER but the battery in my monitor was dead, and without that, no one could give me any real answers. I knew it was SVT because I could feel it, but the DR’s needed proof. Then one day I had an episode unlike any other. I woke up early in the morning with sharp chest pains. (this had never happened before) As the day went on, my chest pain grew. The pain got so unbearable I screamed to my husband, “Call 911.” Thank GOD my husband was home. He is a certified EMT. I do not remember what happened next, I only know what my husband has told me. I fell to the ground. He called 911. He shoved aspirin down my throat then reached for a pulse. There was no pulse. He gave me CPR. He brought me back. He saved my life. My girls saw EVERYTHING. I woke up in the ER in so much pain and with bruises from the chest compressions. I was admitted to the local hospital immediately, but I was shipped to Boston right away where I could be monitored by some of the best cardiologists. I was there for almost a week. They had me hooked up to monitors and caught SVT a couple of times, but they had no answers as to why my heart stopped. They removed my Reveal Monitor and sent me home. I was back at square one. I was confused and scared, and I knew that there was no way I could physically or emotionally handle fainting everyday again. One person can only take so much. My life needed to change. I knew if I allowed it I would fall deep into that hole again. Depression would consume me, it was only a matter of time. I needed to be strong for my girls. My girls….what they saw that day, no child should ever have to witness. They were terrified. The teachers’ at Lily’s school started counseling her and taught her everyday how to dial 911.

My heart stopped that day. What if I had never come back? What if it happens again? What if I faint and don’t wake up? Would my kids know how much I love them? Would my husband? Was I the best mother I could be? Did I live my life the way I wanted? Did I accomplish anything during my life? Was I the happiest person I could be? Did I teach my kids the important things? Did I follow my dreams? Did I even take the time to have a dream? These are some of the questions that I asked myself, and I didn’t like the answers. I spent the rest of last year changing my lifestyle. I began eating better and slowly got back into exercising. I am not exaggerating when I say, I literally fainted everytime I tried to work out. I didn’t give up. I looked inside of myself and found my dreams. I found all of the things that I needed in my life in order for it to be fulfilled. Then I made a plan for myself.

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And that my friends is how and why LIFEBEYONDMOMMY was born. I began my adventure at the beginning of this year. I now have all of you wonderful human beings along side of me. Last year, I weighed over 200 pounds. (not kidding) I had two pregnancies back to back and they really took a toll on my body. Also, I was not exercising because I lived in fear of fainting. I am so happy to say that today I weigh 147 pounds! By changing my outlook, I have opened so many doors for myself. I guess that is why I got so carried away with Etsy. Haha. I just have so many plans and so many dreams. I want to spend the rest of my life doing whatever I can to make them come true. That is what makes me happy, and I want to be a happy person. NONE of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Believe me, I have lost enough friends in my life to feel the full truth behind those words. Don’t you want to know that you have lived this life to the fullest? I know I do and that is why I am on this journey. I don’t want to have any regrets. If you have any dreams for your life, making them come true starts right now, with you. Only you can make a difference in your life.

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54 thoughts on “My Heart Stopped so I Could LIVE

  1. Wow, what an incredible story. I am so glad your husband was there when your heart stopped. It made me tear up. Good for you though on seeing through the storm and finding beauty in things you never thought about before.
    You’re an inspiration. Thank you for sharing. I have had awful health issues and I have 4 children so I totally get where you’re coming from.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Reading this lovely comment gave me chills. Thank you so much Christal. It was really hard getting it out but I feel like a cloud has been lifted. I guess that is what self reflection is all about. I am sorry you have had health issues. They can be very debilitating and emotionally exhausting. I will say a prayer for you my friend. Remember, “If there is no rain, there can be no rainbow. “

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    1. That is so scary. Bless you and your family. I could not imagine. Everyone in this world is dealing with their own struggles everyday. Thank you for reading my story. It was hard to get out but I feel like my soul is lighter now.

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  2. I’m a believer that everything happens for a reason…even the bad things. Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve had epilepsy all my life. It brought me where I am today, in a better place than where my life probably would have gone. Congrats on living your dreams! Sometimes things happen to slow us down so we can find out what our dreams are. God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lisa for your beautiful feedback. You are right, I would not be where I am now if I hadn’t endured the struggles I had. Bless you my friend for having to go through having epilepsy your whole life. I can tell by the things you type you are a strong individual.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had mild symptoms in adolescence (17-18) which was basically heart racing, short of breath. I mentioned this to docs along the way, but it would typically occur only for a few minutes, then stop…until I was 17 weeks pregnant with my third child. My heart rate went to 240 for well over an hour…time for me to get to my OB, then on to a cardiologist right next to his office. At that point they did an echo (thinking it was going to be mitral valve prolapse) but it wasn’t. So they put a monitor on…and diagnosed SVT. During the pregnancy, I was given Lopressor to use which I only had to take a few times. After the baby was born, we considered surgery but decided to hold off, and my symptoms have lessened through the years. I do not have it nearly as severely as you!!! I’m so sorry you’ve been through this tough medical stuff too!!

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      2. I am so glad it has lessened over the years. That gives me hope! I have never had my SVT last that long because I always pass out after a few minutes of it! I could not imagine it going on for an hour!

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  3. Thank you for sharing your story. You are so brave. You are so strong. I wish you good health and happiness. The best part about blogging is learning about other people’s stories. There are amazing people out there. You are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t wait to hear more about the poker days 🙂
    That was quite a bit to go through, I commend you for that and always enjoy reading other strong women’s stories. I am having some rough times now too, and some pregnancy issues. I am taking it all pretty hard so I can see how depression be can be at our doorsteps sometimes.

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  5. Wow. I can’t imagine how much anxiety the fainting would cause when you have tiny humans to look after….and combine that with pregnancy hormones and post partum stuff and oh my God. Will they ever be able to fix the SVT?
    Strong lady. *tips hat*

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This sounds terrifying, both for yourself, and your family! It’s amazing how you’ve not let it grind you down and have fought your way back to be where you are today. I find stories like this so inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have SVT as well! Although not near to the degree that you have it. It is not a fun road but I think it has made me mindful of how I live. I hope you are on a much healthier road and I’m glad you have been able to find the positive side!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I also have heart issues. I have had 4 heart surgeries, 2 of those open heart. You wrote this so well. It is such a personal thing to write about, you did an amazing job explaining how vulnerable moms with health challenges can feel. Amazing! And I am so glad you are taking charge of your health!!

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