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British Heart Foundation
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Post heart attack

Hi, I just turned 49 late November and on the 12/12/18 I had a heart attack which required 1 stent. I am still having problems coming to terms with it all; I am going to cardiac rehab with other people with heart conditions which is helping. Does/did anyone else have the same feelings after their heart attack?

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Yes absolutely. It takes time to get over the shock. You will experience a rollercoaster of emotions but it does get easier to accept what has happened and get on with your life as best as you can.

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Thank you; it just feels so surreal at the moment

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Lots of good support and advice on here. Also don’t hesitate to contact your cardiac nurse. They have been fantastic with any query and reassurance I needed.

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Definatly you will feel all sorts of emotions over the next few months it's been 6 months since I had my HA and I still have days where I cry and feel miserable about what happened but then I count my blessings that I'm lucky to still be here. Don't be to hard on yourself it will get better I promise

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I am 45 yrs old , I had heart attack and cardiac arrest and also had a stent in my right artery. The biggest problem for me at first was how it affected my family and friends , being told that I am probably not going to make it etc..... then when I did come out of hospital after 2 weeks I was so excited to see my 2 yr old daughter again I couldn’t stop crying with joy ! Then when I did get home , all the things I used to do I couldn’t do because my fitness was gone and had no muscles etc . That was tough ! I’m on the mend big time now , doing 5k runs and 20 mile bike rides but I still panic abit when I start getting out of breath and also just don’t know how I’m supposed to be feeling as everybody is different and no-one can tell you .

It’s so easy just to lay on the sofa but I make sure I kick myself every morning and keep busy to keep positive

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That's really positive and heartening. How long did it take you to get to the level of fitness you're at now?

Thanks, Isabel

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It’s taken me 3mths , still no where near where I used to be , that’s going to take a while but each day abit stronger ! The main thing is setting myself realistic goals to keep me motivated and positive!

The feeling I get when I’m riding or running is amazing , just knowing I can do this after what happened. We are so fourunate to have the nhs and I was also lucky that it happened when I was on army drill so plenty of people to jump on me straight away with cpr otherwise it would be a very different story :-)

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3 months is nothing! You've motivated me to keep going.

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You still get the rubbish days every now and again but wipe them straight away and get back on it 👍👍

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Hi LFC. You will still be in shock as it’s early days yet. I think patients as well as health care practitioners underestimate the impact that heart disease has on the individual. As others have said you will experience a rollercoaster of emotions from fear sadness hysteria relief and everything in between! Eventually the good days will outweigh the bad ones although at the beginning you don’t feel that will happen. It’s 18 months on for me and I feel much more positive. However I decided to go to counselling and I also saw a health psychologist which helped enormously.

Going to rehab is really good as it will give you confidence as well as being with people who totally understand what you’re going through.

I focused on getting fit and healthy and decided not to look back at ‘what ifs’ ‘if only’ ‘where did I go wrong ‘ and just focused on driving forward. My mantra is I cannot change my past but I can control my future. This forum is excellent for help and support from people who understand. Do take care. Stay strong Zena

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I intend to repeat your mantra several times a day! Thanks for sharing it.

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Excellent advice Zena. I think I’ll adopt your mantra!

Keith.

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Hi. You always seem to have great advice. I am 6 months today since HA and still struggling with my mental health. What’s a Health Physcologist? I am scared everyday. I have been back to a and e twice thinking it was happening again only to be told I am fixed and that it took 48 years for my heart to let me down. The stent has fixed me apparently. I am really struggling to see this. The cardiologist has discharged me and given me a clean bill of health. Why do I worry so !

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Hi Craftyhare a Health psychologist helps people who have ill health and chronic illness with their emotional and psychological concerns. I was helped with coping strategies that gave me more confidence to deal with the daily stress of worrying about my ill health. The stent has fixed your artery but the fear is still very real and it’s really important that you are able to express your emotions. Ask your GP to be referred either to a counsellor or psychologist. So you can address all of your worries and concerns in a safe environment. I think it’s important never to ignore any kind of chest pain either. I hope you are able to access some support to help you. Take care. Zena

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Hiya,

Yes I did and still do some 9 months later. But it’s a journey my friend. Things do get better. 4 months ago I was a bit of a mess. But with help from friends and family. Learning what had happened to me and figuring out what I can do to change things helps.

Also do something you have never done like learn a instrument. It does take your mind away from it. But also remember you are alive and on the mend pal

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Yes I did I've just had my 2nd heart attack..6 stents in ....I'm having nightmare s over it ...your not alone ...

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Yes absolutely. My episode was exactly a year earlier than yours but I still had the same feelings. A consultant told me that they can 'fix' us physically very quickly, but mentally takes time. After a year I still have the occasional dark day , but I found that Cardio Rehab and the kind people on this forum helped. Just focus on getting well and talk to others.

Good luck with your recovery

D

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Hi I had my heart attack in Feb last year aged 43. It took a while to get my head around the idea that I had had a heart attack. My emotions were all over the place for a while. Now nearly a year on I am back to work and everythings going okay (fingers crossed). I still sometimes still can’t believe I had a heart attack. You will be fine. The cardiac rehab is brilliant I still go as I like to catch up with people who had the same issues and the staff are brilliant.

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Definitely! I was active ,fit and had a healthy lifestyle so my heart attack 3 months ago today was a massive shock and when I tell someone, I still can't believe I'm talking about myself. Your identity, self-esteem and confidence are shattered and you feel very vulnerable. I agree with all the previous posts and I have had massive support and lots of good advice from the kind people on this forum who are always willing to take time to reply. The consensus seems to be that recovery and fitness take longer to achieve than we would like. I also find it helps to trawl through the older, related posts .

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Hi. I had a heart attack late September when on was on my pre work morning walk, I thought I was fit excercising eating all the right things. But it still happened. I had the same feelings why me what did I do wrong. Where’s my friends when I need them etc etc, going to cardio rehab looking around thinking this is actually happening. But don’t worry you will get over it. If you don’t have any more health problems and get back to your usual routine. Work etc it will help.

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Hi I am celebrating exactly 12 months this weekend when I had my heart attack and stent.

I feel for you that there is a journey, mentally and physically that you have to go for the next few months. The shock of it even happening to you takes time to heal, never mind the physical and mental challanges that come with healing.

It is not a quick thing to recover, the old adage 'time heals' is a very true one. Take on board the cardio care advice but also make plans for your future, what you wish to achieve and a exercise program that is for life to drive you through.

The range of medications they prescribe really do bring you down especially if you are prone to depression, as your body acclimatises to them you may pick up, if not talk to your GP, theres is loads of different drugs that may help

I think everyone goes through all these stages of recovery, it's not nice, good days and bad days, but it does come.

Good luck

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I know how you feel I had a heart attack in October 2018 and I still having trouble coming to terms with it. Glad to know that it's a normal feeling to have.

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Hi, my husband had three heart attacks and goes to rehab, I think this helps a lot because he gets to talk to people in the same position and he has made some lovely friends, good luck and hope you enjoy a healthy 2019.....and onwards🤗

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Hi I had a heart attack in 13/9/17 out of nowhere, I’d been playing squash earlier which I’ve been doing for the last 20 years, always looked after myself and stayed fit. So it was quite a shock but I’m back to squash and introduced myself to gym doing resistance training. It’s all good, best thing is to accept it and take the 2nd chance positively! Take care and best wishes

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I had my MI @ 49yrs, one november night few years ago and was hospitalized and had 1 stent put in. Unfortunately the damage was extensive. Initially it was hard when I couldn't do what I was doing a couple of days before the hospitalization. Cardiac rehab for 12 weeks was helpful and I continued for another 16 weeks in the community and was able to return to work. Coming to terms with it was difficult on occasions in the first year but much better now and I don't think of it. I am happy I survived. I focus on controlling risk factors - weight, exercise, diet, taking medications without forgetting , blood pressure etc. In the first week after discharge I was not able to walk 250 yards without getting breathless. Today I am able to walk miles --maximum I have tried is 8 miles at normal speed - without getting breathless.

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Definitely. I'm much older than you but still felt the same. It came completely out of he blue. You are suddenly faced with your own mortality and it's a hell of a shock. You need to look on it as a very helpful warning that you need to change things, be it medication, lifestyle or diet. Be thankful you got eh warning- a lot of people don't.

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I have always been fit and in June I had a heart attack we couldn't believei it neither could anyone else. Absolutely gob smacked and broken hearted. I had a stent and 2 drug coated balloons put in on June 7 let out of hospital the same day. Had exercises to do and my hubby and I went to cardio which was very good now onto cardio 2. I did have days when I felt depressed about it up till October couldn't understand why I'd had the heart attack when I was so fit. I also got atrial fibrillation so this made it worse worrying all the time whether I would get a stroke. Got admitted to hospital last tues saw several Drs who said to me I'd af back as I'd had cardioversion on 20 Dec they all said the same and decided then I've got to live my life. Did you get a heart relaxation tape to listen to, it's really good and perks you up and relaxes you. In your cardio lessons are you getting talks on medications, stress, health etc. i also got a booklet to work through with exercises and a page on stress and depression. Good luck. Hope I've convinced you that youl get over it.

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I too was 49 when I had my heart attack, on February 21, 2018. Although I smoked for 30 years, had a terrible diet, really didn't exercise that much I was shocked when it happened to me. I am coming up on my one year mark and I can say, there were many ups and downs. Like many have said I felt in the beginning very vulnerable, weak and dependent. I was so anxious that I would die and not be able to take care of the things that as a Father and husband that I was supposed to. I went through a week or two of soul searching and crying and feeling sorry for myself asking why me, and then I got up and went to work. I decided that if my anxiety was stemming from leaving things undone if I die, that I would put my house in order. So, I met with an attorney and I had my Will put in place, I focused on my bills, and I made sure that everyone that I loved, knew that I loved them, and I tried to resolve any petty quarrels or issues I may have had with the people I cared about. This gave me a sense of peace about where I was at with respect to my obligations. Next,

I did Cardio rehab, which was a great decision based on everything everyone else has said.

I focused on my health and diet and now exercise daily and have lost 50 lbs, eat healthy, and have been smoke free for one year

I don't stress over the small things in life and a try to find the positive in every situation

and I make a point to say I love you to the people I love as often as I can so there will be no doubt how I feel.

Time does heal, I feel better today than I have felt for many years, and you will too.

And although, I wish I would have not had my heart attack, the journey from than to today has been one that I am grateful for and today I am a better Father, husband and person because of it.

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Hi I feel exactly the same had heart attack in Oct had stent to right artery. I've since had 2 frightening angina attacks. I'm 56. I am half way through rehab which I find very good. I've got other health problems and some days think what else but then think I'm lucky to be here. Some days its hard to pick yourself up and Some days I think stop being silly but it helps to hear from other people who have been through the same. Hope you feel better soon

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I am one year post MI this weekend. Single stent. When I look back the first months were tough, not just for me but also my wife. I was pretty fit and active so “the event” came as a complete shock. I was keen to attend rehab and get back to circuit training with friends. Some people on this forum doubted that this would be possible. My doctor however was very supportive. His advice was listen to your body, go for it when you feel strong, relax and rest when you’re tired. I decided that I wanted to be a survivor not a victim. I haven’t looked back. I’ve returned to my circuit training sessions, leading a normal life, with a few added pills! As I reflect, I was very impatient to recover. There is no rush. I now treat each day as another step forward and onwards. “The event” will always be with me but is becoming more of a memory and less of an event each day.

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I was 56, had unexpected heart attack and stent fitted....nearl 4 yrs ago. First 6 months the most difficult. Coming to terms with lifelong medication and changes to lifestyle and diet along with feelings of fragility and lack of confidence. Stick with cardio rehab...for me it was great. Don’t put up with any side effects from specific drugs...worth changing to alternatives. Oh and getting a dog....walking every day....really helps.

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Take one day at a time and give up expectations, yours and other. I understand folks either see it as a second opportunity and grasp it with both hands or get down and feel sorry for themselves. Depends on your nature a bit but remain focussed on your children and being here for them way into the future and talk to your family about your feelings too.

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Same age as I was: same result. I still feel emotional about it. I have mafw lifestyle changes inclyding swopping a very busy stressful job for part time work that gives me more time to do the things I should do (sonetimes!) And want to... keepi g in touch with people; getting a dog; cooking and other hobbies. Physi ally Im ok but every twinge worries me! We're on the right side of things! You're in good company. X

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Definitely a common reaction. To begin with it's unreal, then bloody frightening and then it takes a while to get one's confidence back. This web group is very supportive and you may well have a heart/cardiac support group in your neighbourhood. Ask you rehab nurses. I and a few other recoverees run a group I West London and there are similar groups in many areas over the country.

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I relate so much with ur feelings.. I too had a mild heart attack with no warning...I was in hospital scheduled for back surgery the next day.. at 2;00 a.m.

I woke up with all the signs of heart attack.. fortunately I was n hospital and knew the signs for attack..waited a span of time.. was this really happening .. ??? next day had heart surgery that involved stints N both legs. During the second leg heard doctor say “oh Shit””. The wire inside tube punctured and immediate blood ... formed a hematoma big as a grapefruit... totally black.. took 2 months to go down... this happening is listed in the form that I had to sign stating “ this and a dozens other bad things could happen...” but the results were magic.. I would do again in a second... but all the feelings u r experience I too ...I am hesitant to do certain things... more aware to what I do..I worried for about 6 month... woke up to facts that I too lucky..I think my blockages due to previous smoking.. you r so young ..when u start the worry bug go to a mirror and give yourself a big smile ... do this a few times and then u will start to laugh..I send u

A big hug ..BCTG

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Hi, I'm 48 and in 2016 I had my first heart attack requiring 2 stents. It really did knock the stuffing out of me for quite a while. I wrapped myself up in cotton wool and was scared to do the smallest of things incase it brought on another one. Then on new years day this year i had my second and another stent was put in. I still cry most days and worry myself silly. But what I have realised is that doing nothing only makes things worse. Please know that you are not alone with these feelings. All of us here at one time or another (or several times!) have felt the same way :)

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Hi, I had a LAD heart attack with one stent in April just before my birthday. Things are very up and down even now, I have had various issues and still get very emotional almost daily. It is not unusual to be feeling unsteady and alone. Life goes on for everyone around you, and it seems that you are okay because that is how you present yourself. However, the reassurances we give others, do not feel true inside. I leave the room to get a cuppa when ever there is something on the tv about heart disease or heart attack, because I dont want my family to see the tears. We have to be kind to ourselves and give time a chance.

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Yea that’s normal, speak to others that have heart issues and get professional help if needed. I’ve have and I’m going be honest it’s not the easiest conversation to have.

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Hi I am 55 I had my heart attack in aug 18 and 1 stent. I felt very down and scarred when I came home. I was getting pains in my chest at night which I have ignored until December I asked the gp he has put me on antidepressant for anxiety and to help me sleep. I have been taking them for 2 weeks and feel so much better. I still don’t have as much energy as I would like but I’ve learnt if I can’t do everything I want to it will wait. I hope this has helped.

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I suffered my HA (silent) back in 2017 (not confirmed). I had 3 stents and an artery was ballooned as well. Due to the HA I developed arrythmia and last month suffered a blackout and consequently got the ‘revel device’ as a medal.

I guess we all go through the similar emotional and physical stress after the event and we all ask that unanswerable question, why me? It makes it even harder for family and friends to comprehend when they know that how fit and healthy you have been, and you were ticking all the right boxes.

In my opinion there is not a right or wrong way to address our conditions, we all do/or at least try our best to overcome these life changing conditions. How we dealt with it, it remains quite personal and I am sure we have seen ample examples of how differently members here have overcome their challenges.

I was very stubborn in accepting these limiting factors placed upon me (those who know me understand what I am talking about, if you want to know more, read the link below. I guess we start with resistance but sooner or later the realisation of acceptance downed upon us and we beginning to accept the limitations placed upon us. I firmly believe that this forum plays a huge part in acceptance, especially when we realise that we are not alone fighting these battles, there is great help out here.

My two pence worth: Do whatever you can and enjoy the life, no point in worrying about it cos whether we like it or not we are not going to get back the way we were.

healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

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Hello. Yes absolutely I did and still struggle each day. I was 47 and had a HA two weeks after Mum Mum died. It was the worst time of my life. We are survivors but it will take t8me for you to heal. I am still healing 8 months on and I get days where the fear of it all overwhelmes me totally. Get a good GP and consider some counselling. It is a long road but we will get there. We are in this together and there to support each other. Bless you x

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