Up until recently, I was very lucky to never have had any kind of chest pain.
In June 2018, I woke up to get ready for work at 5.30am after having a lovely nights sleep and hit the “Snooze” button so I could have my routine 15 minute lay-in (for some Mindfulness).
My “Get out of bed you lazy woman” alarm started going crazy at 5.45am and (I suppose I have to admit it) I put it on snooze for another 15 minutes.
I was feeling fine, but was just overly tired because Squidge (my daughter) is teething and had me up a lot that night!
See HERE to have an inside peek at my USUAL workday morning routine!
Anyway, so I got out of bed to turn off the alarm, turned around to look at my beautiful daughter sleeping so peacefully, and…
It was literally like someone had stabbed me in my chest, just behind my left breast!
I made some random noise like a cow being kicked in the shin (insert embarrassed face!) and doubled over grabbing my boob.
I’m a woman…the chest pain was behind my boob. It was the only way I could get close to the specific area of chest pain!
Every time I took a breath in, STAB!
Every time I moved, STAB!
What the actual HELL?!
I tried to (stupidly) tell myself that I was fine.
I have had a very mild version of this kind of chest pain before (about a year ago) and the doctor told me it was “to be expected” with my chronic illness (Cardiomyopathy)!
Since then, I have learned that is not so true after all.
However, I like to think positively so I tried not to worry too much!
I had been attending my Cardiac Rehab sessions at the gym, so I should not have been having any kind of pain at all!
So, here I was, clearly in excruciating pain – so much pain that I couldn’t even cry!
Then, my Squidge decides to wake up!
I’m one of those mum’s who thinks (knows) it will negatively affect the baby if she sees me upset, so I tried to play it down.
She was already in my bed because I had put her there when she had woken up crying a few hours ago, so I couldn’t just go upstairs and tell my mum what was happening.
But, I didn’t want to worry my mum by calling her downstairs.
Instead of doing the “smart thing”, I slowly waddled over to Squidge and picked her up (slowly and carefully) into my right arm.
I tried to distract myself by singing good morning to her but then had a sharp pain in my head – and another in my chest!
So I stopped trying to talk and went up the stairs.
I had made things worse…
As soon as I got to the top of the stairs, I leaned over to put Squidge down and nearly screamed!
Another REALLY sharp stab in my chest!
What is going on?!
I locked the stair gate and literally just flopped onto the sofa and in very short staggered breaths, tried to tell my mum what was going on.
Having already had a heart attack a few years ago, my mum was already convinced that I was having one!
Poor mum…she looked terrified!
“Sar! It sounds like you’re having a bloody heart attack!”
I really didn’t want to go to the hospital again.
The doctors at the hospital often joke that we might as well just rent a room there as we are there that much.
So I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t having a Heart Attack and it was just “normal” chest pain.
I stayed in the same position for the next 15 minutes, focussing on my breathing and using Mindfulness to calm me down.
I wanted to push through this without scaring myself or my mum and daughter.
I had been doing everything I should have been doing, so why was this happening?
By 6.25am (25 minutes later!), the pain had slowly diminished and eventually went away.
Thank fu*k for that!!
We decided it was best for me to go to the hospital, so I said goodbye to mumsie (I told her not to come as she would worry too much), dropped Squidge off at nursery and went straight to the hospital!
On arrival, I was telling the woman behind the reception desk about my problem and a woman behind me overheard.
The woman said,
“Oh, I’m sure you’re fine. You’re too young to be having a heart attack!”
If only she knew how many people under the age of 30 I have met who have had heart attacks!
I have even taught a 14 year old student who has had one – and another student I taught had a cardiac arrest, which led to him becoming blind!
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Tests and more tests
I was quite lucky that the hospital was empty at that time of the morning, so I got my initial assessment pretty quickly!
1: Blood test
2. Blood pressure / Pulse
The doc told me that although the results had come back ok, they wanted to check the levels of something in my blood called Troponin.
This test is best done 6 hours after the pain.
This meant that I would have to wait a few hours until 12pm to have another blood test.
4. While waiting for the next blood test, I was sent for a chest X-Ray to check for a collapsed lung!
After all of these tests, the doc asked me about 20 questions regarding the pain.
- Did I have other symptoms?
- What was the pain like?
- Have I been ill?
- Is there pain anywhere else? etc.
He was happy enough to let me leave the hospital to go to get some food though – as I obviously hadn’t eaten breakfast and it was now about 10.30am.
It’s all just speculation
Bless her, my mum phoned me as I was half-way through my (very yummy) Café breakfast (I hate hospital food) to tell me that she was coming to the hospital to support me.
Yes, I am VERY lucky to have a mumsie like her 🙂
She met me at the Café, where we spent the next 30 minutes worrying and speculating as to what this strange chest pain could possibly be.
My mum was still sure that it was a heart attack!
I was not so sure.
We got to the hospital at 12pm to have my second blood test for the Troponin levels.
The doc returned 15 minutes later.
Results were back…all good!
So, what the hell was it?
He also said that they couldn’t do the tests for those things at the hospital right then, so he would be sending a referral to my GP and also to Cardiology to get urgent follow-up testing done to find the cause of the pain.
I wanted answers!
A few months later…