A lot has gone on with the Phillips Phamily in the last week. Some of you already know everything, some of you know nothing, and some of you know bits and pieces. So here’s the run down on our last week.
Last Wednesday night, November 28, I went to grab dessert with a couple of girls after church. I got home, got ready for bed, and just as I was headed to bed I felt a funny tinge of pain in the back of my neck and then a weird feeling in my throat. I figured the entire piece of apple pie from Cheddar’s was a bad idea so late at night. I told Kory how I felt, then went on to sleep. Woke up through the night to feed Jaylie and felt fine. I d]felt normal the rest of the week. Fast Forward to Sunday morning church. Just as church was ending, I was leaving the nursing mother’s room and told 2 of my friends that that weird throat feeling just came back. Ughh. What in the world? The pain ran from the top of my throat down to the middle of my chest. I felt like I’d been running out in the cold air and my whole throat was cold. The back of my neck was hurting too, just like it had that Wednesday night before. We left church pretty quick and I did NOT feel good. The pain bothered me and I felt tired. But I hadn’t eaten anything but a tiny granola bar early that morning so we drove through and grabbed lunch and came home. I ate lunch then layed down for about an hour. I layed low that whole afternoon and still felt terrible. The pain in my throat/chest/neck was hurting and I had no energy. Our church Christmas program was that night so I thought maybe if we just went to church I’d get energy and feel better. We made it through about half a song and I told Kory we needed to leave. I was so weak and was still hurting. So Kory grabbed our friend Tim, who is a Dr., out of church and he came and gave me the once over. He thought I was Ok for now, but should see my Dr. in the morning. So I came home and went to bed. I woke up around 3am to feed Jaylie and the pain was gone. I slept the rest of the night and woke up with no more pain.
I didn’t have a ton of energy Monday morning and my neck was still a little sore, but the pain in my chest was gone. I wasn’t going to make a Dr. appointment but Kory told me to go ahead. So I got in to see a Dr. at 11:15. I saw him and he ran an EKG that was “normal” for the most part. There was a little something on there, but nothing that was “altogether abnormal”. He said he would take some blood and run some labs that day just to cross our t’s and dot our i’s and then we could do a stress test in a week to check things and then. After all of that I went on home and Kory went back to work. Both boys were asleep and I had just fed Jaylie and she was sleeping in my arms when the Dr’s office called back. I thought they were just calling to schedule the stress test so I didn’t answer it because I didn’t want to wake Jaylie. Then my house phone rang and I listened to the message. I called them back and it went something like this:
Nurse: Jaymie, where are you?
Me: At home
Nurse: Here’s what I need you to do. Hang up the phone, take an Asprin, and call 911. The Drs are waiting on you at Longview Regional.
Me: Ummmmm Ok. but I’m here alone with 3 sleeping kids.
Nurse: If you don’t have someone there with them by the time the ambulance gets there, they’re gonna have to go with you.
Me: Ummmmm Ok, but whats wrong? I feel fine.
Nurse: Your labs came back “through the roof” you need to get to the hospital.
Me: Well, Ok, then I gotta go so I can figure out what to do with my kids.
I wasn’t really panicked because I felt fine. I was sort of in shock. I called 911 then called my aunt who teaches at a school close by and she came to stay with my kids. I called Kory and filled him in. My aunt got here just as the ambulance did and I met them at the door saying, “Sorry, I don’t really know whats going on, but I’m supposed to call you.” They came in and checked me out and I was fine so they told me they could take me or I could just wait for my husband. Kory was close so I just waited for him. He got here and we left pretty quick. On the way, the Dr. office calls and once they found out I was in the car with my husband instead of an ambulance, she freaked and chewed me up and down. “If you CRASH (meaning my heart, not like a car wreck) in your car, your husband has nothing to help you and the ambulance does!” Now I was nervous. By that point we were close to the hospital so we just kept going. We got there and checked in and they immediately started running tests. I still felt fine so the mood was relatively light. We were making fun the fact that I looked like a wreck coming in that place. I hadn't showered, My legs were NOT shaved, I was wearing Christmas socks with big baggy basketball shorts. I was a mess. So ladies, always shave your legs, you never know when you're gonna have a heart attack.
A certain heart enzyme they tested for called Triponin was at 34. They said its an enzyme that is only released by the heart when something has injured the heart tissue. Normal is zero. A massive heart attack might be in the 20s. My Dr. said he doesn't remember the last time he saw something in the 30s. That meant mine was really high. So, sort of tongue-and-cheek I said to the Dr. “So, what did I do? Have a heart attack??” and he kinda laughed and said, “Actually, yes. Probably.”
From there they did chest Xrays, multiple EKG’s, an echocardiogram, and a CT scan. Nothing major showed up so we all sort of took a deep breath. The cardiologist could now rule out some pretty major things, but still didn’t know what it was. I was ok with the unknown since most of the “big” stuff had been ruled out. He decided that doing a Heart Catheterisation was going to be the only way to really get a look at what happened. So about 11:00 Monday night, they checked us into the Heart and Vascular unit. He wanted to give my kidneys a chance to process the dye from the CT scan before he did the Heart Cath so he scheduled it for Wednesday morning. While in the ER we saw just how amazingly fast word spreads. We were instantly surrounded by friends and family feeding us, watching our kids, and praying with us. My parents got to town about 9:00. Thats quite the call to make to your parents....”Uhhhhh so I’m in the hospital and I feel fine, but they think I might have had a heart attack.”.
We spent the next day being constantly monitored, but still feeling fine. There were many jokes cracked about the difference in age between me and my neighbors in the unit. The cardiologists all had to refer to their books to know how cardio meds interact with breast milk. Not something they do everyday. The lactation lady brought me a pump til my friends brought my electric one and they even brought me a crib from the maternity floor for Jaylie. There was a walker with tennis balls on the bottom ready and waiting in my room. It was all kinda funny.....I mean come on, you gotta laugh when things go THIS crazy.
The cardiologist had narrowed it down to 3 things that he thought it might be, 2 of which were postpartum related. He wouldn’t know for sure until he got in there and saw for himself. I was nervous about the heart cath procedure itself, but ready to know what they were going to find. It was first thing Wednesday morning. When I got down there he told me that anything he gave me for sedation would make me not be able to nurse for at least 24 hours. So he told me I could do it without. I said, “Ok. You know more about this than I do. Do you think I can do it?” He said, “Absolutely I do.” So we did it. The numbing shot wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever felt, but once that was over, I was glad I was awake and fully aware to get to watch and see what they were doing. The Dr. walked me through the whole thing and explained everything. I did get nervous at the very end because the Dr. walked away and then I heard them all talking about times and when the Dr. could be ready, etc. I was SO SCARED that they were about to tell me I was headed in to open heart surgery. The Dr. walked back over and I said, “Is this about to get bad?” and he patted my leg and said, “Oh no, this is NOT about to get bad”. I relaxed and enjoyed the medical, but understandable, explanation of what was on the screen and what had gone on in my heart. I had what is called a “spontaneous dissection” in my circumflex artery. That is where the inner lining of my artery got a tear in it and the tear caused an obstruction. This obstruction, at some point, stopped blood flow to my heart which caused a heart attack. The damage to my heat was minor. He was trying to show me the “dead” part on the screen and I couldn’t even find it. He told me if I had to choose an artery, I chose the right one and if I had to choose a part of my heart, I chose the right one. Glad I placed the right order! Ha! He told me then that all of the questions were answered and now everything made sense. I was glad to hear that. I just wanted answers and we got them. I think I had been the “freakshow” throughout the Cardiologists because this condition isn’t seen all that often, so they were all talking to each other about it and looking at the films. Now all of the mysteries were solved. This typically occurs in postpartum women, so this was one of the things that the Dr. knew was a possibility. The good news is that the tear should heal on its own. By the time he did the cath, we could see where the tear was but the blood flow was good back to my heart. That’s probably why I started feeling better. We aren’t sure why I felt that feeling twice (once on Wednesday and then again Sunday) but we are praying its over. He used the words “beautiful” and “pristine” to describe my arteries and heart otherwise, so that is good. I don’t have heart disease, this is a passing problem. I have to take some medication for a few months and then hope to be totally back to normal.
Things got a little sticky when they put me on medication because they don’t jive with nursing a baby. So I’ll be pumping and dumping for the next 3 months and hoping to be able to go back to nursing Jaylie once I get the all clear from the Dr. to go off the meds.
It has been a WILD AND CRAZY time and we are well aware that things could have gone SO. MUCH. WORSE. We are thankful to have yet again, received excellent medical care and overflowing support from our church, family, and friends. We were (and still are) taken care of in every single way imaginable.
You can now add this heart attack at age 31 to the list of Phillips Phamily medical freak drama. Seriously.
As for now, I’ve been told to not lift until the end of the year and to “lay low” for at least 6 weeks. Thats always an interesting “order” from a Dr. when you have 3 young kids. My parents have been here all week and jumped in and took over like champs. Including teaching my nursing daughter how to take a bottle. My dad became Mr. Mom and thinks he can handle Jaylie better than me....not really, but he’s a close second. Truth be told, he probably can handle her better than me right now. Ha! My mom will stay this week and then we will figure something else out. We are sort of flying by the seat of our pants right now. Mom made Quinn’s birthday cake so we could celebrate his 3rd bday last night and she also does EVERYTHING else around here. Now I’m worried I’m gonna give HER a heart attack!
We are praying this is all behind us and we can look forward to a full heart healthy laugh. Lots of joking, laughing, and such has gone on, but the truth is we know that GOD watched over us and we are humbled as always to have received such blessings through this whole thing. Its a scary thought when you realize something really bad happened and that it could’ve very easily not ended this well.
I will update if anything changes but for now I will be recovering from a heart attack at a really inconvenient time....Christmas.
Don't judge my looks people...I'd just had a heart attack.....
One day while klp was at school, Q came up to eat lunch with me.
I'm back to seeing THIS all the time. I never wanted to be BFFs with a pump again.
Jaylie in the crib was cracking me up. Same ones she was in when she was born and now she's almost too big!
I got home just in time to celebrate this boy's birthday! He's THIS many: