State of Emotions.. the grieving process post heart attack


As you read this blog today you are probably wondering why is she talking about grieving? She survived her heart attack. Many of us have had loss over the years from the loss of my dad, father-n-law, grandma's and grandpa's, family members and pets. All left us way to early and we all went through the grieving process after each loss. One thing you need to remember, is that the grieving process although portrayed in a nice circular design has a lot ofone step forward two steps back.. (kind of like giving birth ladies)

As the weeks of recovery continue since my heart attack and I've had time to really think of this experience and all  the Topsy Turvy emotions that sneak up on me. Then the other day it hit me.. I'm alive THANK GOD but as crazy as it seems I have been working though the grieving process. The same grieving process that I almost had to put my loved ones through on a much different level. 

You're probably asking yourself what possibly could this chick be grieving about? Well, I will tell you it's the loss of a normal heart! When its quiet in the house and I feel my heart twitch or speed up (tachycardia)  and then it goes back to normal I wonder is it happening again?? When I begin to feel sharp pains in my chest from the inflammation I automatically assume it's a heart attack. Its funny that for 40 years I had really ignored any feelings that my heart exhibited. Sure I could feel it race after running or working out but that's really all the attention I gave it. Until, this experience I had really only thought of my heart in an emotional sense. Broken with loss not broken with stents!

Stage 1: Denial ( Started on Day 1 and still keeps chugging along)

I remember thinking to myself that morning when I woke up in the CCU "You have to be kidding me." 

I am a 40 year old women who works out, has no risk factors and I'm way to young for this!

Stage 2: Anger (I circle back to this one a lot, sorry family)

Why me? This statement goes through my head on a daily basis. Not only me, but friends and family say it all the time. "I can't believe this happened to you", If it happened to you, it could happen to me." Don't worry, I know I'm no different than anybody else but "WHY ME?" This happens every time I go by a fast food restaurant and the drive through is full of cars (I would love a Shamrock shake but.. not on the cardiac diet) or I  see somebody smoking and think are you kidding me? (smoking has been my number one pet peeve since my dad died of lung cancer)  I just wish I could go back to the way it use to be. Why can't I just pick up and go to the mall or go have lunch with Brenna at school?

Stage 3: Bargaining (daily)

If only! I deal with this stage differently on a daily basis. What if I had been on the road for work in the middle of a rural area.. would I have made it? What if I had been traveling alone in a hotel, would somebody had noticed I was not there in the morning for breakfast? If only, I hadn't taken birth control pills for so many years!

Stage 4: Depression (this sneaks up on me a lot)

This stage post heart attack is different then true depression that people experience chronically. This is the silence in the house when everybody is off doing their daily job, school and activities. You are sad at the normalcy you have lost and yearn to get it back faster than it comes. I won't lie to you I have had my moments of tears and sadness. But then I'll get a text or phone call, a card in the mail or a friend will stop by to say Hi and instantly the sadness begins to go away.

Stage 5: Acceptance (not there yet)

I would be lying to you if I said I had truly accepted what has happened to me. This stage I think has to develop over time. I am slowly accepting that I have a pill box with lots of pills, or that I am now the proud owner of a pill splitter (one of my pills I have to cut into quarters or dust.. which ever is left)  Someday acceptance will happen.. just not today!

But in the end no matter what stage of the grieving process I find myself in after this heart attack I always remember the AMAZING family and friends that I have been blessed with . I find myself looking through pictures on my phone and smiling at all the goofiness and fun times we have had andthe many more to come! 

My moto through this recovery process is:

Tomorrow will be better than today just keep smiling, hold your head up high and be present in each single moment that you are blessed with!!

My goal for this week was to complete three full days of Cardiac Rehab, after today I will have succeeded!