New Member Here. Help.: Hi. My name is... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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New Member Here. Help.

shirtbutton profile image

Hi. My name is Tracy, I am 51 years old, and had a acute heart attack in September 2020. I was fitted with a shunt. I have 2 grown up boys who still live at home and I am a carer for my hubby who has 3 prolapsed disc. I have tried to find a support group in my area but have not found anything as yet. I live in Northamptonshire. I have not heard or seen anyone from the hospital, because of covid. Both my parents died young of heart attacks, so every day I fear the worst. I can not stop worrying that I am going to have another attack. I have noone to chat to as I dont want to upset my family. My mental health is not good either. I don't know what to do...?????

37 Replies

You will find a lot of support here Tracy .the people here are friendly and have a wealth of knowledge .Ask when you have questions and there will almost certainly be someone here to answer you. We also have 'volunteers who have even better knowledge so you are in a good place .

Hi Tracy and welcome :)

With the whole Covid thing going on you really didn't choose a great time to jojn us because lots of the usual support simply isn't running for now :(

On the plus side, at 6 months in - even though it's still pretty early days - you've passed the point for most / all of the immediate complications.

In terms of practical suggestions, are you happy to say what treatment you had at the time (stents / meds etc) and whether they gave any idea of how much damage was done?

As for the family history, I can only really offer what my mum's doctor told her. She had a heart attack in her mid 50s and was worried because of family history. Her doc pointed out that treatment and management is enormously better than it used to be and also that she was now "on the radar" which can really help spotting future problems because many things that might be overlooked will ring alarm bells.

Sure enough, she went on to 84 and didn't die of heart problems!

That’s reassuring for me too-:))

Hi Tracy, welcome & it’s a shocker to anyone who suddenly is told they have a heart condition but you will learn to live with it. Similar to you I have 2 teenage boys and worry I won’t live to see them graduate etc... but we just have to let go I guess and think positive. Exercise, eat healthy, etc...

Wishing you all the best. Xx

Brilliant story, just what we all need to hear 👍

Dear don't be depressed look at the bright side your heart was cured and stent installed. Now you are as good as brand new! Enjoy life as it is and it is not perfect for anyone. I assure you i have 2 stents last August and still alive although not perfect but happy with whatever is my share of life. I use to be anxious and depressed but one day realized it is not the way I should life rest of my days. I stopped worrying if its my time to go well no-one can change or stop it, why to worry! Relax and keep busy. Soon all will pass like a bad dream

Hi Tracy, you sound like you're going through what most of us have. You may also have ptsd. Speak to your GP and ask for help.

Don't be afraid to talk about how you feel. I've found it helped me greatly. Also consider speaking to your local Cab for practical help with a pips claim and carers allowance. That can help remove financial stress from you.

You're going to be fins so don't worry. Things get better over time I promise you and if you need to ask questions here, you'll always get friendly helpful advice.

Hi Tracy. You’re in a tough place by the sounds of it, and that’s quite normal considering.

I know it’s hard being a carer, we looked after an elderly aunt with dementia for years.

On the bright side...

Well done!

You’re a survivor!

My father and brother died much younger than me from heart attacks but like you I’ve survived.

2016 I had a heart attack (63 years old)

2017 I had five stents.

2019 I had five bypasses.

Since then I’ve owned and ridden 1500cc trike and a 900cc motorbike. Currently drive a little two seater convertible. And now looking to sell that for a motorhome to see Britain (and I want to tour Scotland).

I’ve been restoring my bathroom and other refurbishments around our bungalow.

I’ve seen my son get married and heard my granddaughter call me granddad.

I’ve been so proud of my daughter putting on a charity ball for the British Heart Foundation where she raised £10,000.

I enjoy a G&T and wine more than I should.

There is life after a heart attack.

I think it’s very unusual that anyone that goes through what we’ve been through never experience some tough times but it can and does improve.

I used to tell myself “every day in every way I’m getting better and better” even if I knew I was lying to myself some of the time 😳🤣

All the very best to you and your family.


My name is Bond, James Bond and I take my Asprin shaken not stirred 🍸

080311 profile image
080311 in reply to -007-

Just read your post, saying you hope to tour Scotland, well you would be made very welcome, we live outside Glasgow about an hour from Loch Lomond, might be a bit biased but we have some of the best scenery in the U.K.Hope you get to see what we have to offer.

Best wishes Pauline

-007- profile image
-007- in reply to 080311

Ahhh thanks Pauline,We’re from near Bournemouth so a long way up for us but we’re retired so the plan is to make our way up slowly visiting family on the way. Then around three weeks in Scotland before making our way back home.

My wife has visited your lovely country but I never have.

After Scotland it’ll be down through France (COVID permitting) to visit my wife’s family for a while. They are English ex pats. I’ll have to make sure I’m topped up on meds before we go anywhere.

And then, perhaps I can visit my homeland of Wales.

Phew, it’s all go after heart surgery hahaha.

All the very best to you too Pauline.

080311 profile image
080311 in reply to -007-

It’s a small world our youngest son lives in Poole, before our health issues we used to travel down every couple of months, must admit you have lovely scenery too.

Take good care Pauline

-007- profile image
-007- in reply to 080311

Even smaller than you think... the motorhome we’ve put a deposit on is in Poole!We live right by the New Forest. In fact my walking post op was in the new forest and I used to set my goals by the trees. Like, today I’m reaching the second holly tree. Then the big oak.😅

And after my brother died of a sudden heart attack (age 62) back in 2004 my sister-in-law went back to her homeland in Scotland so I think a visit will be in order as I’ve not seen her since.

All exciting times ahead!

All the best.

Snowflake20 profile image
Snowflake20 in reply to -007-

You mean you're not coming Home first? - Shame on you ha ha. I'm Welsh!! :)

-007- profile image
-007- in reply to Snowflake20

Ahaha I’ve been to Wales though! 😂 I’ve lived in England for many years now but I’m still Welsh and proud to be. I still get asked by people on the South Coast “on holidays are you?” 😳

Don’t tell my sister back in Wales but we’re going to have a few trial runs on the South Coast and then from Bournemouth up through the centre of England and into Scotland.

I’m like a big kid, I can’t wait!


Going to spend a few days in the Lake District on the way up.

Snowflake20 profile image
Snowflake20 in reply to -007-

Great! I bet you can't. I'm like that as well. Got to have some fun haven't you? Glad you haven't forgotten you're Welsh though - You'll give me Palpitations lol...! 😆 😀

Thanksnhs profile image
Thanksnhs in reply to 080311

I agree Pauline it is beautiful, I hope you are keeping well, char x

080311 profile image
080311 in reply to Thanksnhs

Morning char,

We are ok thank you, how are you? Have you managed to get your dose of steroids down? Hope everything is going really well. John is having his second dose of the vaccine next week, so that’s good. My last bloods for my kidneys were ok have repeat for blood count in a couple of weeks.

Have you booked any holidays I know you were itching to get away?

You take good care Pauline

Thanksnhs profile image
Thanksnhs in reply to 080311

Hi I got my second vaccine yesterday I am glad to say, my steroids are down to 5mg a day and one of my immunosuppressants is down to 6mg a day, a virus from my donor heart came up in my bloods so I had to start back on the antiviral meds again usually after six months all is fine, I was just unlucky I suppose, we have went a bit daft on the holiday front, very optimistic, we rebooked ibiza from last year in July, very doubtful about that one yet again, September weekend in Majorca and benidorm with friends for new year, but Ryanair have already cancelled the flights so we will just have to wait and see, are you going away yourself? It's lovely to see the sun even though it is still a bit chilly, char x

080311 profile image
080311 in reply to Thanksnhs

Can’t see us getting away, John is getting less mobile, our youngest son is hoping to get here next month but we will have to see. The plan was that the son in Australia and his family were coming this summer, but that was pre pandemic so that’s on hold maybe next year! The sun as been lovely, but as you say still chilly the firm that mows the lawns came last week first cut of the season, so he thinks Spring is here😂

Good news about your reduction in drugs, sorry about the virus, hopefully you won’t have to be on the antiviral for to long.

Take good care Pauline x

Thanksnhs profile image
Thanksnhs in reply to 080311

It's awful that he still can't travel over you must want to see him so much, I am not back at the jubilee for three weeks I hope it's fine by then and I can start coming off them again, I am not holding my breath about the hols but it would be lovely to get away for some proper sunshine and a long awaited swim in the med, it seems so long x

Snowflake20 profile image
Snowflake20 in reply to 080311

Apart from Wales Pauline lol. I've been to Scotland and went to Loch Lomond and you're right - Loved it!! x

shirtbutton profile image
shirtbutton in reply to -007-

Thanks for the reply Mr Bond. I can recommend Scotland as i used to go there often. Wigtown is where my mum and stepfather set up a B & B, was up there every summer for 3 months with the kids. Loved it. I also have family in Oban which is a lovely place as well. Good luck with your touring.

-007- profile image
-007- in reply to shirtbutton

You’re most welcome shirtbutton,I’m looking forward to going somewhere I’ve never been and we haven’t bought our motorhome yet (although we’ve put a deposit on one).

My wife and I have been quite adventurous with our travels in the past. Backpacking in the jungles of Thailand. Quad riding in the Sahara. Canoeing the rapids in the Pyrenees to name but a few. My wife has even climbed Mont Blanc (not me though, I’ve more sense 😂) but I’ve never been to Scotland!

This year that’ll be put right.

Really looking forward to it.

Anyway, like you, My wife and I have been through a few things and we recon we deserve it!

Best wishes and hanks again.

Thanksnhs profile image
Thanksnhs in reply to -007-

Hi what a lovely uplifting post, congrats on all the things you have done and are going to do, living in Scotland it is a beautiful country but all most of us see is midges and the rain 😂after years of struggling with cardiomyopathy and severe heart failure I got a transplant last year in the middle of the pandemic, it went well, recovery is going fine all be it quite slow, you forget what a big op it is, but I can feel the benefits already, I have lots of plans but all on paper due to covid, I am 63 now I hope I get a few of them done when covid is all over, I really want to travel again, char

-007- profile image
-007- in reply to Thanksnhs

Thank you for the kind words 👍Wow, you’ve been through the mill a bit.

Well, carefully planed, there is nothing stopping you getting out there again I’ve no doubt.

I’m finding the arthritis in my knees is stopping me from doing things more than my heart. I had to sell my motorbike because I was afraid I’d fall over when I put my legs down at traffic lights 😳 hahaha.

I’ve had keyhole surgery in one but the other needs a replacement but COVID has put that on hold.

I’ve heard that there are some months that the midges are out more than others in Scotland?

I was born and brought up in Wales so the rain will be like going home 🤷‍♂️

Just can’t wait to get on with the next adventure!

All the very best

Thanksnhs profile image
Thanksnhs in reply to -007-

Hi may and June are usually midge free as the weather is usually much drier in those months, the wee blighters just love trees and damp weather, but I suppose, like Wales it's just luck with the weather, it's lovely and sunny just now but the temperature is so low, still a lot of frost in the mornings, that's amazing the holidays you have done, I have been to a lot of countries but never done anything like that, the old dodgy ticker would not have been happy, I did go up Mont Blanc by cable car 😂char

-007- profile image
-007- in reply to Thanksnhs

Thanks for the info Char. I don’t think we can get up to Scotland by June this year. It’s going to be more July to September I think.

Yes, my wife and I have had some adventures. We’ve never been ones to sit by a swimming pool.

We have also been having frost lately on the English south coast too, but lovely sunny days.

No matter how you do it, walking, riding or by cable car, as long as you enjoy it that’s all that matters.

Take care 👍

Thanksnhs profile image
Thanksnhs in reply to -007-

That is true, I am sure you will enjoy your trip to Bonnie Scotland no matter when it is, char

Hello shirtbutton,

Welcome to the forum, when any of us face our heart issues it comes as a complete shock, I felt like the ground had opened up under my feet. I had Aortic valve replaced and bypass done 4 years ago and 5 weeks after my op my husband had a huge stroke and I became his carer. Some days are a challenge but we get through, and laugh most days!

You are now a member of the Hearties family, and we are here to help and support you, we can listen and even give you a shoulder to lean on. Things will get better, those feelings of dread will subside, you have had a heart attack but you survived and are here to tell the tale.

Best wishes Pauline

DearshirtbuttonYou have survived, well done.

The follow up or rehab is just hopeless. I guess those who have covid need help more than us, but thats a hard nettle to grasp.

Can i suggest that you do a twenty minute relaxation each day. Take yourself somewhere quiet. Then concentrate on yourself. Relax every muscle. Breath deeply and slowly.

The important thing is that you have that time to yourself. No interuptions. You need that time. Its only twenty minutes.

If yo cant relax during your twenty minutes you could buy a tinnitus relaxer and listen to that. Better still, borrow one. Some GPs will supply one. Mine was about £30 . I used it for daily relaxation and also last thing at night to help me sleep.

Lots of us are here for you


Hi Shirtbutton I think you can build on the positives “you’re here” and have got through it, inevitably you will have some worries these will get less and you will gain in confidence keep moving, enjoy every day as much as you can good luck

Thank you for the link, beautiful.

If it makes you feel any better my dad had a heart attack at 48. We used to worry all the time about him ! It was wasted worry as he is now 82 and has had a happy and healthy life ! He is still doing well ! Its not your time to go and now you will be monitored regularly which cuts the chance of any future problems - you are also very young which is a positive x

Hey HappyJo,I don’t think it was a good idea to put that link up. I’ve seen it and I’m getting too excited now... where’s my GTN 😳🤣😂😉

Lovely photos and I can’t wait to get going.


Hi TracyWorrying is more common than people think. But it should be a wake up call to not waste any more time. The fittest people some half as young as you don’t get second or third chances. I was told by a consultant we can practically deal with anything these days as has been proven on this forum.

This forum is a font of knowledge, caring people who are all at different levels of their journey. Filled with an overflowing of good will towards anyone who wants to become a child of this heart family .

All will be well.🌈🌈🌈

Hi Tracy, it’s hard work once you have a heart problem. I have struggled to come to terms with it. Physically I can handle it but mentally I struggle. Regarding help with your heart and being able to speak to somebody you should get onto your GP or the hospital you were discharged from. They have a duty to you to ensure that you receive the help that you need. Your GP should refer you to the community heart nurse team. Once they have you on their books they are excellent, well the team in Leeds I’m with are really great. They arrange everything for me. I have monthly appointments, next one is a virtual appointment but I’m sure it will be the usual standard. Don’t wait, pester the life out of your local GP until you get some answers.

With regard to the physiological side I find this site excellent as you will always get some advice and a response, we are all in the same boat. I have contacted the local mental health team in Leeds and there is quite a lot on line with them which is self help and works for me.

Also contact social services regarding any care problems that you need help with, I have found them to want to help but as all services at the moment they are stretched. Speak to the team supervisor and be honest with them to see what help they can be.

Hi Tracy, welcome to the forum, as other members have stated there is a wealth of knowledge and support here, don’t be afraid of shouting for it, I had my Heart Attack in 2019, on 9 medications a day, unlike you I have a daughter who’s baby has just had her first Birthday, that and the many friends I have found on this forum is what keeps me going, be safe and remember we are here for each other.Regards Carpbait

Hi Tracey, I understand completely. I was 44 when I suffered a HA & subsequent CA in Jan 2019. I had 1 stent implanted. I have 2 children (now aged 18 & 16), 1 of whom has a rare metabolic disorder and ASD. I found my local support group via the BHF website. I underwent the cardiac rehab group's weekly exercise session, which helped improve my fitness and confidence and enabled me to meet others effected. When I finished the rehab, I started attending the weekly sessions held by the local heart support group, where I've met some lovely people and enjoy the exercise. I was diagnosed with PTSD and attended counselling for a number of weeks, which helped enormously. The only problem I've encountered is sticking to a healthy diet; Easter didn't help!

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