I was 40 years old and training for a super-sprint triathlon when I had my SCAD (spontaneous coronary artery dissection) and heart attack in March of '09.
I don't smoke, I'm not diabetic, I don't have clogged arteries, don't have high blood pressure, and don't have sleep apnea. In August of '08 I'd started a diet and exercise plan and had dropped around 20 pounds, then in January of '09 I started training for my first triathlon.
So I don't know who was more surprised by my heart attack, the doctors or me. They fixed me up with six stents in my right coronary artery and after a week in the hospital sent me on my way. I did 12 weeks of cardiac rehab then got clearance to start training.
There have been several challenges and obstacles this year, mainly my mother-in-law's diagnosis of lung cancer, her declining health following alleged successful tumor removal surgery, and then her death in April this year.
Two of our three cats also developed health problems earlier this year, and we had to put them to sleep last week.
With all of that, it's been difficult at times to muster the mental and emotional energy to get to the gym, to get on the bike, to wake up early on Saturdays and go to the pool.
BUT I DID IT!
Yesterday I competed in and finished the Ramblin' Rose Triathlon in Chapel Hill.
Nineteen months after my heart attack, I am now a triathlete. Some people in my family doubted that this day would come, but it has. :)
My awesome husband cheered me on and took pictures, some of which you can see here:
So if you're just out of the hospital, if you've just been diagnosed, if you're still at the scared and confused stage, this is me telling you that you CAN persevere, you CAN still follow your dreams.
Yes, I have heart disease. I also now have a triathlon finisher's medal. :)