Folks, I have some huge news. After 4 amazing years of blogging on Heart Attack at 31, I am now moving forward with a new blog, Life After 31, to include more of a lifestyle approach to my blogging routine. My new blog will have stories, wedding planning, life events and a more rounded approach to what my life is like these days. I will always have HeartAttackat31.com, and will continue to monitor the stories, comments, emails and tweets from all of the amazing survivors I’ve spoken with through the years. The blog will stay at the same site and hopefully continue to do what it has done the last 4 years-tell my story. The website is not ready to launch yet, but I wanted to give those who have followed me this far a heads up. I hope you respect my decision and continue this journey with me. heart emoticon

New year, new vision?

As I sit here writing this blog post, I have a number of browser windows and two Microsoft Word documents. I am reading an article on WordPress plugins, looking at my Facebook page and checking my @heartattackat31 twitter. Then my Word docs are the new list of scavenger hunt items and Amazeball Race rules. I am conflicted.

I have been writing this blog for almost 4 years. This is fantastic, since I have gained so much from this experience. I’ve found my own little cathartic corner of the universe to vent, scrapbook and connect. I have emailed, facebooked (yes I made that a verb) and spoken with people all over the world and been a part of projects I could only dream of. But now I feel like I’m at a crossroads.
Do I continue to only blog about my heart attack and my work with AHA or do transform this story into what it is now-a way I live my life. I’d like to keep the integrity of the blog, which is why this blog won’t ever be removed, but I’d like to start blogging on my life as it stands now, maybe with the perspective of gratitude and forward motion. Thoughts? I’d really appreciate them. My tentative name for the new blog is LifeAfter31.com. 
<3, S

Happy Heart Campaign

February is American Heart Month! 
To celebrate and raise awareness, I’ve started a Happy Heart Campaign! For the month of February I will be tweeting/FBing with the hashtag #happyheart to say what I’m doing to keep my heart happy and healthy. Please do the same. Also, I made a shirt for the campaign. I will be donating a portion of the proceeds to the American Heart Association! So please get yours today! My goal is to sell $200 shirts!


Jan 25, 2012: 3 Years Later

January 25, 2012
Sleep wasn’t easy the night I was admitted into the hospital. Nurses came in and out to take blood and vital signs, doctors and patients roamed the hallways and I desperately missed the fur babies. I wanted to be home in my own bed, not here dealing with whatever this was. I figured I would wake up in the morning to yet another doctor saying, ‘go home’ and ‘it must be something you ate.’ Instead around 5 a.m. I got a massive nosebleed, prompting me to hit the nurse call button and send a frantic young flower of a lady running. Blood was all over me and it took awhile to get the bleeding to stop. I had no sooner laid back down and turned the lights off and monitors were going off around my head, prompting the nurse to fly back into the room. She read numbers, left, came back, left and eventually came in with a team of doctors. They all seemed nervous and jittery as nurses unplugged me from the wall and started to lay cords across me. It was clearly still dark out and yet things seemed to be moving fast. I was being wheeled out the door to my room, handed clipboards to sign things I didn’t understand and into an elevator while a cold liquid was suddenly felt in my arm. When I asked where I was going, someone replied “cath lab.” In my head (and I still tell this story to this day) I truly thought they were referring to a catheter…y’know…for urinary issues. Color me surprised when I ended up in a cold room, on a chilly metal table, medical instruments all around me being unwrapped and doctors in full surgical dress. I was quickly hoisted onto a cold metal table, stripped down and a blanket was laid over my chest. Metal instruments arrived all around me on trays wrapped in plastic. More cold liquid in my arm. The room started feeling fuzzy. Doctors and nurses chatted about the dinner they had last night, a show on TV, their kids’ basketball games. I became more and more out of it. Soon a nurse was sitting near my head, walking me through what was about to happen. I nodded but I was definitely not understanding. There was an intensely sharp pain in my groin and I felt a ton of pressure in my right leg. I tried to cry out but my mouth was cold and dry. The nurse calmly explained they were taking pictures of my heart and to look at the screen. It was then that I noticed the screen next to her, with a picture of what looked like a road map. It was my heart. I could feel the wire being fed from my leg though my chest. The nurse explained they were injecting dye into my arteries. Suddenly, the room went quiet. I could feel the energy settle in the room. The nurse said something about medicine. I heard, “she’s only 31,” “no family history,” “she said she’s a runner.” Another pinch in my groin. Someone stroked my hair. I could feel myself fighting off sleep. Then, someone was holding my hip while the nurse wrapped me in blankets. I was tired and sick to my stomach. Apparently I muttered something about my purse being in my old room and if someone could get it for me. I was wheeled to a new room, a private room with a view of the top of the tower next to me. I leaned my head to the side and slept for what felt like hours. Turns out it was minutes. When I woke up there was a nurse on me, holding the leg where the pain was. He told me he had to put pressure on my leg to close up where the angioplasty went. Another nurse, the nurse I will always remember, came in to talk to me. Her name was Linda and I didn’t know it then, but Linda was going to be a very important part of my week in the hospital. She told me I had a heart attack, maybe even 2. I was confused from the medication and fuzzy from the sleep so all I could do was nod my head and then get really scared. I took the phone from the bed and tried to dial every number that I could remember. Finally I remembered my work phone number and eventually got my friend Amanda who contacted my friend Jo. Satisfied, I feel back asleep as the spiderwebs grew on the walls. When I woke up, the nurse was still laying on my leg, pain radiating down my side. I could hear Jo in the hallway, talking to a nurse. After the bleeding subsided, the nurse who had been laying on my hip finally wrapped the wound and I settled into bed. Nurse Linda came into the room and explained to me that I had a very major heart attack, my mid LAD was 99% blocked and that my type of heart attack is often called The Widowmaker due to its low survival rate. I had a stent put in and would be on meds the rest of my life. But, I survived. Say tuned this week for the rest of the time in the hospital.
**Sorry if this sequence of events isn’t exact. It’s still hard to remember what happened that week in the hospital, partly due to medication, partly due to the emotional stress and partly due to the insane amount of new information that I was trying to process.**

American Heart Heroes-Orlando Families Conference

Last weekend L & I signed up to volunteer for the American Heart Heroes – Orlando Families conference at the Nick Hotel. We had a group of 7-10 year olds from 9 am to 3 pm, all either with Congenital Heart conditions or siblings of kiddos with heart problems. It. Was. Awesome. We played, watched movies, did crafts, and even got to see a live taping of the game show “Double Dare Live.” We were the Spongebob group, so our chant was for someone to yell “SPONGEBOB” and the group would yell back “SQUAREPANTS!” Out of respect for the kiddos and their families, I didn’t take picture of them but you can go to the American Heart Heroes Facebook for more info.

L & I, ready to rumble. Bring it kids.

Spongebob! Squarepants!

Drinking the green slime

One of the kiddos’ drawings on their craft bags

Slime ’em!