I have found a unique group of women online that have also had heart attacks. It had been sometime since I had red Jen's blog, My Life In Red. Last I read she was doing great and back to marathon running. If you read my blog, you know that I had struggled with being overweight and sedentary. If you think that heart disease does not apply to you because you are thin, fit and active, go read Jen's blog. She was all of those and had a heart attack very young.
The reason I mention Jen's blog is that once I caught up reading her blog, I realized that she has recently had additional stent placement just like I did in June. It has been almost 14 months since my heart attack and I will admit that I have been a little laxed on my diet because I have been lulled into what I know is a false sense of security. The farther I am away from being so critically ill the more I have started to forget a little of what that was like. I didn't realize how much that was true until I read Jen's blog last weekend. She was back to marathon training and here she is sick again. I am glad I read it because I have made a real attempt to get back to what I know will work and keep me healthy and I am really ready to get back to it this week. I thank her for sharing her story and struggles for exactly this reason. It really drove home for me that I need to get rid of that false sense of security. This is a life long chronic disease for me that is never actually going away no matter how good I think I feel. This is the absolute reality of heart disease.
Even though I say I have heart disease, some days I just feel too good for that to be real. However, no matter how good I feel at any time I could be back in the cath lab, they could be cracking my chest open or I could just suddenly die. I don't look sick, people don't treat me like I am sick (nor should they start!) and I really don't feel sick. The harsh truth though is that I am sick. I have a disease. Not only do I have a disease, but my disease is the number 1, NUMBER 1 killer of women. How's that for a high risk disease? Even as I write this, it is still hard to believe.
There is an emotional side to having a heart attack and now heart disease that is not often discussed. This has been the hardest part for me. There is great anxiety involved with this diagnosis. There is great sadness involved with this diagnosis. There is great fear involved with this diagnosis. Most days I do a pretty good job of setting all of this aside. It is important for me to acknowledge these feelings but then put them away. I think that these feelings can become all encompassing if you let them. I choose to live my life as if I am not ill but I welcome the reminders (like this one from Jen) to remember to take it seriously.