I have never actually met Monica. We follow each others Facebook pages for our blogs. She has an amazing story. I would love to meet her someday. Her story reminds me that just because my outcome has been as good as it has, it easily could have gone another way. It still could go another way. I keep her in my thoughts always.
I'm Monica Whalen. I've been married to the love of my life for 26 years and we have three children Shane, Lori, Kyle, and one precious granddaughter Nakayla Lynn. We live in Royston, Georgia on a small farm and enjoy quiet living. I love being on my computer, working in my garden, and outdoor fun including fishing, swimming, and walking in the woods.
My life drastically changed in a second on October 20, 1999 when I woke up to a full blown massive heart attack. When they say elephants on your chest they are not kidding--I was sweating, throwing up and was scared out of my mind. My husband called 911. At the time, we lived in a small town in Florida and they all knew me from where I worked. I loved my job as a waitress at a barbeque stop. All I remember was them saying, "Monica your BP is dangerously low and we are going to give you some nitro."
I woke up in the ER looking for my husband. He had told tell them that 5 days prior I had a thallium stress test. When the ER team got the results I was given a life saving drug but not before the heart attack damaged the left lower chamber of my heart. I was a 32 year old thin, healthy, young lady. They thought I was too young for heart disease and heart attack but they were obviously wrong. If you back one month before my heart attack, I was going to doctor with symptoms that were dismissed as acid reflux.
The night of my heart attack, don't I wish was sent to a major hospital by special ambulance since they could not get life flight to me. Once I did get there, the doc looked at me and told me I was lucky to be alive. I was in and out so much I only remember bits and pieces but my husband Russ knows it all and he has helped me fill in missing pieces. I was stabilized for two days then sent for a stent. Instead of the stent, they did emergent bypass surgery. It turned out I had a 95% blockage to the main left coronary artery. I was in the hospital for 8 days during which a machine worked my body to help it heal. The damage was already done though.
I now live with CHF and have been disabled since 2000. We moved to Georgia in 2002 to a small farm. It was hard for me to become disabled. I have always worked and done what I wanted when I wanted. I now have meds to take and doctors to monitor me. I felt like my life was taken from me--what I had known was no longer me. I gained weight and was angry. One day, I said no more--I now intend to live my life and enjoy what I have. Thankfully in 2007, God blessed us with our first grandchild, Nakayla Lynn. She is my heart and soul and now I know why I was left here and why it is so important for me to be here to make sure other women know the warning signs and know what heart disease is in women.
April 25, 2008 is another important day for me. This is the day I got my ICD that I call trigger. When they told me it was to help prevent sudden cardiac death, I was dumbfounded. I once again felt like I am here for a reason and I will do my best to love my wonderful family for as long as the good lord allows me to. I have a wonderful loving family and wonderful friends. I have friends from my blog, Heart2Heart and others that help me and I hope that my story can help them--someone, somehow.
I always say:
Live life, love life
Surviving heart disease one day at a time
for 14 years with trigger 04/08,
triple T ( new ICD 11/22/13).
You can also follow Monica on FB.