Listen, I'm the last person that should have had a heart attack. Three years later, I've almost come to terms with me having a heart attack. And! open heart surgery!
I meditate, do yoga, exercise and eat pretty cleanly. Nonsmoking, no drugs, no alcohol.
Low BP, excellent cholesterol, low resting pulse rate.
Kale! I've pretended to like kale long before it was trendy.
Okay, okay, yes, I ate friend bread and smoked in college, but who didn't? Also, I was a goodly 60 pounds overweight in college, a 'freshman ten' gone horribly awry.
Where was I? Yes, trying to impress you with my healthy lifestyle.
Me, celiac, writer, high school librarian, former hot yoga teacher, twin mom, a gal in her 50s.
But here's the thing: I had a heart attack that was caused by a rare congenital heart defect, a myocardial bridge. For reasons that perplex, most cardiologists around the world are convinced that a myocardial bridge is harmless. Benign. Insignificant.
(Some doctors even think that there can't be such a thing, a LAD couldn't possibly be inside the heart, going so far as to believe the imagery is faulty, not the heart. Kind of like unicorns ... if we can't see them, they must not exist.)
The three main symptoms of a myocardial bridge: chest pain, shortness of breath and sudden death.
When I said to cardiologist #1 "I don't think that sudden death is a benign symptom. Actually, death is more of an outcome than a symptom," he laughed. Laughed! Said something along the lines about how writers get too hung up on words.
Prior to my heart adventure, I taught hot yoga for 12 years. And prior to that? I lived in the New York City area for two decades, working on Wall Street and enjoying life as a DINK (double income, no kids).
The events of 9/11 spurred me to live a more authentic life (at risk of sounding cliche-ish).
I drove west, allll the way west, to Seattle. About twelve minutes after I arrived, I was dragged to a singles party at the Space Needle (could I get more hackneyed?) and met my Prince. We married and had a brief DINK patch before I birthed twins at the age of 44.
The trauma of a misdiagnosed heart attack, a snarky, sniggering cardiologist and having to fly out of state of get proper medical care ... those traumas will be with me for a while.
I had originally thought, being a tidy and linnear kind of gal, that once I had 'healed' then I'd find a way to publish my memoir. As they say in the storytelling world, "speak from the scar, not the wound."
I've since come to see that, as we say in the yoga world, "the only way out is through." So I'm putting my memoir online, in the hopes that it makes other Unicorn Heart folx feel less lonely.
In the Before Time, in the mask-free, carefree pre-pandemic days, I loved going to storytelling events, including Fresh Ground Stories and The Moth. Can I boast for just a sec? I've won four Moth StorySLAMs. Squeeeee!