Blocked arteries and stents - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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Blocked arteries and stents

azrachr
azrachr

So here’s my first post. Bare with me, I have so much going on in my head and just need to get it out. My brother died on 15th January this year for no apparent reason, aged 49. Post mortem showed blocked arteries.

So based on this I went for some check ups and everything looked great. Ultrasound, Ecg, blood tests, cholesterol levels all perfect. Because of my brother they decided to do a CT scan and here they found my blocked arteries. 2 days later I had an angioplasty and 2 stents installed in the right artery.

This was on the 20th March. So Indirectly my brother saved my life.

I’m struggling coming to terms with how close it was and how easily it could have been missed. I’m diabetic and apparently might not have the usual pains.

I still have two arteries that are blocked and being treated by medicine.

I get up every morning with thoughts of what if. I go out for a drive and think what if. I lift anything and I think what if. When do things get back to normal and when does the panic and anxiety stop? It’s almost a month.

I’ve read a lot of posts on here and they have helped so thank you to everyone who shares their concerns and words of comfort. I feel like I’m going through the normal feelings but it’s stopping me living life as I knew it...well the Covid 19 may also be contributing to that....

It didn’t help that I quit my job just after my brother died to deal with his loss and then all this happens phew.

12 Replies
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Hi azrachr. You don’t give your age. My father died at age 49 and it was the biggest shock of my life. Because of his death I decided I should live a healthy life with a balanced diet and plenty of exercise and fresh air. I travelled and basically did my bucket list before it happened to me. My 49th year was so stressful. I didn’t have my heart attack till I was 68 and that was February 2019 and I’m looking forward to many more. I was lucky having a stent fitted. My dad didn’t get that choice. You have now been given a chance thanks to your brother. Try not to stress too much. Take care.

azrachr
azrachr in reply to Maisie2014

Hiya Maisie

I’m 52 and have always lived a very healthy fit life. I even had my 1st child when I was 50. So this is very unexpected.

I’m trying to come to terms with everything

Hi, so sorry you are having to face all that is going on in your life, but look on it as being given a gift. They have found you had a problem and fixed it, you will now be checked and you will have a long life in front of you.

I am nearly 4 years on from bypass and AVR, my life is good and I thank the team that worked on my heart every day. You need time to A : grieve B: get your head round what as happened to you. But time will make things easier, it’s a lot to get your head round.

Sometimes I will see my scar and think wow that really did happen to me!

You are now part of the mended heart club!

Best wishes stay safe Pauline

azrachr
azrachr in reply to 080311

Thank you Pauline for your comforting words. It made me feel so much better 🥰

080311
080311 in reply to azrachr

You are now part of the hearties family, and we will be here for you, even if it’s just to let off steam!

Sunnie2day spoke wise words she always does, going to see a councillor seems a great idea and where to start, well you could start with how your feeling scared angry unable to get your head round how your life as changed.

Us hearties lives are a bit different from how they were but they still are good lives.

Take good care stay safe Pauline

Welcome to the forum and the club you never thought you'd be joining - the Hearties. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your brother.

Difficulty coming to terms with heart disease is completely normal after an event (heart attack, discovery of blocked arteries leading to stents and/or medications, etc), especially if the person has had a healthy lifestyle prior to the event as you have had.

Many people go through the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief even when there wasn't a loss like yours. (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Note the stages are not necessarily consecutive - people go through the stages forwards, backwards, and back to the middle. There is no time-limit, either. I lost my husband decades ago and still all these years on find myself alternately angry, depressed, trying to bargain him back to life, and so on - and I've been very happily remarried since 2011)

Losing your brother in such a shocking way was bad enough but to add testing that led to needing stents and medication must have seemed a terribly unfair series of tragedies. Knowing the five stages is usually sufficient to help the bereaved (you've been doubly bereaved - first you lost your brother and now you've lost your sense of having good health thanks to your healthy lifestyle). Eventually (usually six-eighteen months) the person gets through the adjustment to the unwanted 'new normal'.

But some find they are helped by professional assistance. Counselling helps (a lot, read that heavily underscored and in bold type) and is available through your cardiac nurse (if assigned) or GP (if you've been discharged back) to help you adjust to having a heart condition that has led to stents and medication. If you find you are still having difficulty coming to terms with the profound changes in your life, ask for a referral to counselling - it really truly does help.

And again, welcome to the group, and I am so sorry for your loss of your brother.

azrachr
azrachr in reply to Sunnie2day

Thank you so much. I’ve spoke to my insurance and they’ll set up some counselling. The problem I have with counselling is I really never know where to start. I’m pretty much a private person and normally tackle things myself but in this instance I don’t think I can.

Sunnie2day
Sunnie2day in reply to azrachr

Let the counsellor guide you as to how to start. Good ones know you will need a bit of help knowing where and how to start and will give you an assist at the first meeting.

Please keep us updated, and please do stay active here on the forum - even the members who seem less active pop to contribute tips and perspective, and we have a core group of active members (our Heart Stars) whose comments and posts are SO helpful!

Thanks azrachr for such a vivid post and

for describing your experience so clearly. "... when does the panic and anxiety stop?"

Maybe such anxious feelings are signposts to help create self-preserving awareness? You have been through such mammoth upheavals in such a short time: loss of your brother, your own health emergency, loss of your job and now Covid-19!!! I would guess that such emotions are surely inseparable from self-isolation because are you in the "high-risk" category from Covid-19? I certainly am!

The hardest thing for me is coming to terms with my new identity : the fellow with the 5 graft bypass & subsequent atrial flutter/ fibrillation and 6 meds per day instead of the 'Mr Fit and Healthy' walking 500 miles of the SW Coastal Path with camping gear etc on his back (who doesn't even take Paracetamol) that I thought I was until my heart attack last September. Covid-19 has multiplied this disconnect with being fit and active : I'm not leaving my house and garden

(but managing to have good workouts nevertheless!)

I am focusing on each moment, trying not to get trapped in future scenarios and endless "What if's" enjoying the life I have, however much of it is left.

Thanks again for such vivid honesty!

I had small ha & stent fitted in Dec. I felt exactly the same. I really struggled going to sleep thought I wouldn’t wake up. Driving especially getting on the motorway what if ?? I can’t get off. Going places that were too busy or loud & what if ?? nobody will notice.

I remember someone saying to me on New Year’s Eve are you not happy, you’ve been given another chance. I said no I feel the most miserable I’ve ever felt.

Cardiac rehab was a huge help to my confidence, also referred myself to healthy minds & currently having CBT.

It’s totally normal to feel this way you have had a huge shock & life changes to deal with

Good luck it does get better.

It's mind blowing I was told after an angiagram in Jan I need stents! Six weeks for me before thinking every single second I'd die went and you begin to think I'm still here sadly due to covid all ops are off so I'm maxed on medication and taking it easy. Bit mad how the biggest battle has been in my head not heart but it does go

azrachr
azrachr in reply to Rob501

Why didn’t they just put the stents in when they were already doing an invasive procedure? I went for angiogram and ended up having angioplasty and stents as the blockage was severe.

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