A Warning From My Body to Me, With Love

I am experiencing chest discomfort. While I am working, I notice a pain that is sharp under my left breast and rib cage. The pain shoots upward to the middle of my chest. Sometimes, I have to stop what I am doing because I can't breathe for a couple of minutes. It lasts a few minutes and disappears. While I take notice to this, I assume it's just pressure in life. I have no reason to suspect coronary artery disease.

Stressors in my life

First, I am leaving a chef job to take a less stressful job. Second, I am going to be switching insurance from commercial to state Medicaid. Third, my oldest has just married and is planning a picnic to tell the family under the guise that he wants everyone to meet his girl. The final straw is a message from someone from my past that I didn't wish or think would contact me again. Life is stressful.

Catering orders are high at the restaurant today. 65 orders for the day. As the day is going on, I feel a sharp pain a few times and I have to stop and sit down in the managers chair in the office. This is becoming an issue.

As soon as I go home, I contact the doctor again and am being told to press on my chest where the pain is. If the pain stays, I am to go the ER this is most likely my heart. As I do, the pain stays, I am going to go to Highland Park Hospital in Highland Park, Illinois. The ER is attentive and am received in a timely manner. I am going to need an EKG, x-ray, and bloodwork. A cardiologist comes to speak to me stating he feels I need further testing due to my family history. Doctor says I am being admitted. All of my tests are coming back normal. Dr. Silver is surprised.

Waiting for testing

An angiogram is scheduled for the afternoon. Now I am laying here thinking about how this has come so far. I wait for four hours pondering my situation. This is emotional and stressful alone. My discomfort is still here but I am eased a little knowing I am in the best place I can be if there is a problem. My faith in the staff is pretty good.

The surgeon that is doing my procedure is wonderful. Dr. Qamar made me feel at peace, calm and secure. We talk during the procedure. He tried to go through my right wrist to view my heart but it is unsuccessful. He apologizes and tells me that he has to go through my groin. I wake a few minutes later to pressure and pain in my right thigh. Dr. Qamar tells me that it is as bad as it can be. I had a 90% occluded artery in the middle of my heart. Luckily, I do not have heart damage. I am learning  that it was LAD or Left Atrial Descending Coronary Artery Disease. I am now a patient of Coronary-Artery Disease, or CAD.

Saying Thank You to Dr. Qamar and his team doesn’t seem like enough, but it is all I have to give. Back in my room, I lay in stillness for 6 hours waiting for myself to heal. Once arteries clot, I am able to get up and go to the bathroom. This is when I realized how long I had been distressed. My skin looks so different. My skin has color instead of being so extremely white.

Starting over feeling differently

Breathing is almost scary. My nurse is explaining to take a deep breath freely and that’s when I realize I have been breathing half of what I should have been for 3 weeks or more. What's more was realizing my swelling is going down, my pain is completely gone. The pressure and ache in my chest is gone. Everything I thought was normal had been not. The doctor states this is why it's often a silent killer until the final heart attack or widow maker. You slowly decline and then there is crisis. My thoughts were of surprise learning my body was lying to me that I was okay, when I clearly was not!

Even my biggest wild imagined thoughts did not make me think I was in this kind of cardiac emergency. Coming to the realization that I have had a close to death experience is shocking. My health has come close twice before, but is the worst. Knowing I am putting myself in danger by pushing it off is hard. My children, family, and others have been definitely voicing their concern. You don't know how happy I am to have made the choice to go to the ER.

Dr. Qamar states that my issue is hereditary combined with comorbidities. I am a type 2 diabetic, and of course psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis patient. We also discuss the fact that I have experienced COVID as well. My chance to survive covid was 45% and I was given the monocolloidal antibodies. Hold your love ones a little a closer today and remember to listen to your body.

Below is a copy of a letter that I felt like my body was sending to me.

Love Note
Dear Melissa,
It's me, your body. We need to talk. You know that pressure in your chest. You should slow down. Hey, mentally your kind of stressing out. We should try to do some meditation. I know you have been trying but it could be better. Well, you are not really listening and things are getting worse. Didn't you realize you can't recall words? Don't you think it's sort of odd that you are playing charades to tell people things? We don’t have enough oxygen! MELISSA you are not listening! Okay you leave me one last choice... DO YOU FEEL THIS SHARP PAIN in your chest? That's me your body trying to tell you we can't do this... THIS IS ME YOUR BODY PLEASE LISTEN BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE.


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