Recovery is a funny term. When I first had my heart attack, they are literally running with me down the hall to the cath lab (I suppose that should have been an indication of the seriousness of my situation but it was not), and I ask them, "How long will it take to recover from this?" They told me right then usually about two weeks. So, my initial thought was it would be two weeks and I would be recovered. It turns out, the actual physical recovery from the stent placement was about two weeks. At that point, I could have never understood what recovery actually meant.
Eighteen months later, I understand just how funny the term recovery is. There are so many definitions of recovery. The initial recovery from the heart attack in ICU, the continuing initial recovery from the actual cath procedure and continued physical recovery with cardiac rehab.
The biggest struggle for me in recovery has been the literal recovery from my old life, after all, my old life is likely what caused my heart attack. I have had to change all of the habits that are the least bit unhealthy.
There is recovery from the intense fear that has engulfed me. The fear that I would die from the side effects of the first heart attack or that I will have a second massive heart attack and not recognize the signs because they can be so different. The recovery from the emotional impact is far harder than the recovery from the physical impact. The emotional impact is ongoing and far reaching.
I have come to understand that with heart disease that there is no end to the recovery. There is only a new phase of the recovery and with each new phase I have a new respect for heart disease.