Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Anatomy of a dissection

Sometimes it can be difficult to explain to people what a spontaneous coronary artery dissection really is. This is an animation of a dissection. See how the inner layer of the artery separates, and creates a false channel (lumen) for the blood, and the blood pools in there and eventually blocks the artery? That's what happened to me. Heart attacks are caused when blood flow to the heart is blocked.

Mine happened in the Right Coronary Artery, which you can see on this image:

The six stents I have are pushing the torn inner layer back up against the outside wall of the artery, where it should be. I have six because they had to repair almost the entire thing. I do remember hearing the doctors discussing placing a seventh stent, but they were worried that it would poke out into the aorta. Looking at the image above, I can see more clearly what they meant by that.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Watch Dr. Oz on Dec. 17th, and have a heart-healthy holiday!

When you get involved with WomenHeart as a WomenHeart Champion--meaning you've gone through the training program at the Mayo Clinic--you get paired up with a more experienced volunteer, usually someone local to you if possible, and she's called your Big Sister (on the WomenHeart message board, we refer to each other, Champion or not, as "heart-sisters," since we're all united by our cardiac problems).

My "Big Sister," Marietta, is going to be on The Dr. Oz Show on Thursday, Dec. 17th. His program that day is about people who've had heart attacks during the holidays, the so-called Merry Christmas Coronary and/or Happy New Year Heart Attack, which you can read about here:

To reiterate the tips listed at the end of the article:

Don't stuff yourself.

Watch your sodium and alcohol intakes.

Do what you need to do to reduce your stress.

Be vigilant about taking your medicines.

And--if you experience any symptoms, get medical help immediately. You're not doing anyone any favors by ignoring your chest pain; delay now could be costly down the road.

A Change of Heart issue 2 is on!

After the success of my first heart-related fanzine, A Change of Heart, I've decided to put out another issue.

This one will be timed to come out during February, which here in the United States is American Heart Month. If that issue does well too, then I may have an annual fanzine on my hands. :)

So if you wanted to submit something for the first one but didn't get around to it, or if you want to send me a letter of comment (LOC, in fan-speak) on the first issue (link goes to pdf version available from, here's your chance.

I'm looking for essays, poems, artwork, and short fiction--from fans with any type of heart disease/heart failure, on the topic of being a fan with heart problems. See first issue for examples.

As before, emailed submissions are greatly preferred--to laurahcory at yahoo, but if you know someone who doesn't do email, ping me and I'll get you my snail-mail address.

Deadline for submissions is Jan. 30th, 2010.