Widowmaker survivor

By Panther33 Latest Activity April 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm Views 5,975 Replies 41 Likes 3


Had widowmaker heart attack exactly a week go. Non smoker and exercise a lot but did not prevent this vicious attack. My wife called 911 and gave me aspirin. Emt's were quick and surgeon was ready for me. No time for anything but a stent but it saved my life. They say aspirin was the key to giving me extrs time plus fast response. Better to be safe than sorry.

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  • mtq
    mtq April 16, 2013 at 1:00 am   

    I've read everyone's posts. So many people have done well and can write about their widow maker heart attack. That is very uplifting. I worry about my high blood pressure, though it is in control, I know that high bp is a risk factor for heart disease. Does anyone believe that sleep makes a difference for our health?

  • Widowmaker survivor
    Widowmaker survivor April 14, 2013 at 5:25 pm   
    Edited April 14, 2013 at 5:28 pm by Widowmaker survivor

    I had a stent put in when I had a widowmaker in october 2011. I walked 40-50 minutes every day, ate good, non smoker, 58 yrs of age, east indian; had heavy-ness in my left arm over the elbow after I finished my afternoon walk, same thing happened same night at 10 pm when I had just gone to sleep. That day I had a scrap with my manager at work, who threatened to fire me and later in the evening I had a scrap with rotwiler dog. I believe these two incidents drove my adraline into a spike and resulted in some blockage in my LAD. I was put on plavix for a year, statins, aspirin, blood pressure meds. I had good blood pressure did not have the blood pressure meds. I stopped having plavix after a year. I lost 18 lbs of weight. I want to get off the crestor 20 mg I am on now. I have started having aspirin 81 mg every other day and 10mg crestor the other every other day alternating with aspirin. Try to eat 80-90% veggie oriented soups and dishes and 10% fish, chicken for proteins. These techniques are working well with me. I constantly have red rashes on my chest, which got reduced due to lowering crestor by 10 mg. I have supplements - fish oil with D3 or krill oil, multivitamin, coq10. All this working ok for now. BUT I am scared and am paranoid thinking about another incident happening in the future. I get blood cholesterol test done every month - just so LDL, Sugar, Cholesterol, C Reative Protien, Triglycerides are within limits. Lesson learnt - do not raise your adraline and stay calm when life brings dire situations, eat plant based diet, keep chewable baby aspirins close to you and if you have symptoms call emergency 911 immediately. If you haven't had a heart incident yet then do your best to stay out of the dreadful vicious circle of consequences.

  • John-A-NC
    John-A-NC April 14, 2013 at 4:39 pm   

    Panther, I had a widow maker 18 months ago 100% blockage of the LAD.
    My heart attack displayed non typical symptoms, the only pain I had was what would be described as a deep muscle cramp between my shoulder blades.
    I woke up in the middle of the night and blew it off as reflux or something.

    In the morning I told my wife she had to take me to the hospital. We both took showers and headed to the hospital. It was an estimated 4 hours before they put me on the table for a stint.

    Needless to say the doctors where amazed that I responded so well but were still concerned that I would have extensive and permanent heart damage.

    Nine months later they gave a 100% clean bill of health. I am slightly over weight, exercise regularly, do not eat a lot of meat and I still had a heart attack.

    For anyone that reads this - I can not stress this enough - Exercise saved my life!
    Find time to do more - regardless of how much you do.

  • Panther33
    Panther33 April 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm   

    John, glad to hear you are doing well. I really do not know yet how much damage was done to my heart muscle. Feel good and went back to work today two weeks after attack. I have been an exercise freak my whole life. Exercise did not stop my attack but I do believe it saved my life.

  • John-A-NC
    John-A-NC April 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm   

    Amen- that is exactly what I meant. I have exercised for the last 35 years on a regular basis and still had a heart attack. I am convinced that is what saved my life. I used to swim and run. However, before my attack I was concentrating more on weight lifting then cardio. Since then I have completely reversed it, now I do cardio 5 times a week and although I still lift weights, that is secondary.

    Two weeks out you still have a year to go on prescription drugs. Do some research in the mean time. Fish oil can cut your risk of a second heart attack by 50%. L-Arginine can cut your risk by 30%. Aspirin cuts it by 25%. B vitamins bring down c-reactive inflammation. USDA is pushing for research on Blueberry's, there is evidence that they are as effective as statin drugs on lowering cholesterol. Don't quit your drugs but read everything you can about causes and alternatives.

  • Panther33
    Panther33 April 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm   

    Good advice. Thanks John.

  • Lois T
    Lois TCA April 14, 2013 at 4:44 pm   

    Hey John-A-NC, my biggest concern and complaint which caused me to go to the emergency room was a deep muscle cramp between my shoulder blades. It lasted all day and into the next. I didn't put it together with my heart, but I knew something wasn't right. Stent in LAD. Your post about exercise is the truth. It took me awhile to do something that I'd stick too, but it truly is the way to have lifelong health, regardless of our condition. Glad you got a clean bill of health!

  • girlsingerx
    girlsingerx April 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm   

    Congrats on surviving a major heart attack! My mother had a "widow maker" and survived also, probably because of regular exercise allowing her to build strong profusion on the other side of the heart while the one side was slowly becoming blocked. I want to tell you that after a stent was inserted, she was put on Plavix and baby aspirin. Two years later my mom was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, and I believe it was from the Plavix. If you have been put on Plavix, make sure you have your blood checked about every 3 months with a full CBC count. If we had caught the changes in her blood sooner, I am convinced she would still be here today.

  • Lois T
    Lois TCA April 14, 2013 at 4:46 pm   

    girlsingerx, I'm so sorry about your mom. Doctors are supposed to ask for a blood test at least every 3 months when you are on a blood thinner. Now that I'm off, I never go more than 6 months. But for the community Effient is a better alternative to Plavix. It's been on the market about 2-3 years, and when I was on it, I had no more ulcers… which I couldn't get rid of while on Plavix and baby aspirin. Now just baby aspirin.

  • girlsingerx
    girlsingerx April 14, 2013 at 9:59 pm   

    Thank you Lois. My mother was such a healthy, active 75 year old. It makes no sense that they would put her on Plavix and aspirin together (contraindicated) and then leave her on it for 2 years without follow-up blood work. I was livid when I spoke to her cardiologist who thought there was nothing wrong with prescribing and not doing the follow-up. Please, everyone who may read this, be your own best advocate. Do not simply follow your doctor without asking questions, and doing your homework. This is YOUR life. No body should care about YOUR life more than YOU.
    Bless you all and I hope everyone has a long healthy from this point forward.

  • JacquiAnn
    JacquiAnn April 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm   

    I have an upcoming angiogram and was told that if I have a stent placed, I would be on Plavix for 6 months-a year. Good to have this advice beforehand, if needed.

  • Lois T
    Lois TCA April 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm   

    Yes if you gave a stent a blood thinner is necessary. I was on a blood thinner a lot longer. However Plavix hurt my stomach a lot, but a few years ago a new blood thinner came out called Effient and it works a bit different. My stomach was fine with it. Ask about it. Lois

  • JacquiAnn
    JacquiAnn April 13, 2013 at 8:03 pm   

    Thank you for the info in case I need a blood thinner.

  • Panther33
    Panther33 April 13, 2013 at 8:31 pm   

    I am on Effient but may not be permanent. Do not know yet.

  • JacquiAnn
    JacquiAnn April 14, 2013 at 2:34 pm   

    I will ask about Effient, if there is a need. Thanks.

  • Lois T
    Lois TCA April 7, 2013 at 9:15 pm   

    Great. I want to keep in touch.

  • Panther33
    Panther33 April 7, 2013 at 9:24 pm   

    Thanks Lois. This is a great site.

  • grannylovesjesus
    grannylovesjesus April 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm   

    Is there heart disease in your family? Blessings on your recovery.

  • Panther33
    Panther33 April 7, 2013 at 9:15 pm   

    Not a great deal in family but there is some. I am non smoker, good s
    weight control, and exercise nut but still had widowmaker. Hard to figure. I guess food, genetics, and stress. Thanks granny.

  • Lois T
    Lois TCA April 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm   


    So you haven't had your follow appointment since being home?

  • Panther33
    Panther33 April 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm   

    Next Friday afternoon Lois. Hope cardiologist lets me go back to work.

  • Lois T
    Lois TCA April 7, 2013 at 9:26 pm   

    I hope he does also but here's something to remember once you're there people won't see anything different about you, but so much has happened. So trust your doctor. Do you exercise?

  • Panther33
    Panther33 April 8, 2013 at 6:36 am   

    One of the things that bothered me is that I have been consistent with exercise for forty years. A runner until last five years when I went to the treadmill for an hour a day gor five days a week. Did not stop this.

  • Lois T
    Lois TCA April 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm   

    Well what I learned is mine was probably 90% of genes from my father side and if I could count 90% again I'd save my stressful lifestyle and type A personality which I would've never put into mix. But I have learned so much about cholesterol and the bad cholesterol LDL. My problem in particular is the lpA. But in the nine years since I've come to believe that diet and exercise can keep your heart disease at bay. Mine has improved not gotten worse. A lot of work but I feel better.

  • Lois T
    Lois TCA April 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm   

    Just so you know, I 100% believe you can control or prevent heart disease. In our case, control. My adult daughters now see for themselves something that would not have believed for years. My last angiogram was January 24, 2013 and we all expected me to need at least one new stent, if not more. Nothing, even the one I have was clear. It was foggy the last time I had the angiogram. There is always room to improve our diet. But, the improvement I've made in my mental state, and outlook on life, and how I deal with what I allow to upset me, or who can has changed 100%. This was the biggest area I learned I needed to change in.

  • Panther33
    Panther33 April 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm   

    Your messages are encouraging and motivational to me. My goal will be as well to keep my heart disease at bay by less stress, continued exercise, and improved diet.

  • Lois T
    Lois TCA April 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm   

    Love, love you started a discussion on this subject Panther33. Being close to a hospital that is ready to do heart/stroke urgent care is so important.
    What I have to add is when something happens that affects our hearts our minds can become greatly affected. Depression goes hand and hand with heart disease diagnosis.

  • Panther33
    Panther33 April 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm   

    I think the mental aspect may be the toughest for me.

  • Lois T
    Lois TCA April 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm   

    I am 56 and my widow maker heart attack happened when I was 47. My book "Surviving" available on amazon is a quick easy read but deals with my own personal struggle after that event. There's a link here also. http://loistrader.com

  • JacquiAnn
    JacquiAnn April 12, 2013 at 6:34 pm   

    I'll have to check this out. I have an angiogram on Monday for possible heart problems. Since I am retired, exercise moderately, try to eat healthy (no red meat), and now have acceptable cholesterol levels, I was a little surprised. Of course, family history for heart problems and angina factor in. Thanks for the info.

  • Lois T
    Lois TCA April 12, 2013 at 8:54 pm   

    Are you saying you have an angiogram scheduled for this Monday? If so that's great. It's the gold standard for heart tests and could fix a problem that might have otherwise been an emergency. Let us know.

  • JacquiAnn
    JacquiAnn April 12, 2013 at 10:12 pm   

    Yes, the 15th. The comments on this discussion have reassured me somewhat. My doctor was surprised at the results of a routine EKG in February. After the stress test last week (which I thought went well), she ordered the angiogram.

  • Lois T
    Lois TCA April 12, 2013 at 10:45 pm   

    You have a good doctor. Heart Disease is the number one killer of women, and many doctors have failed to treat it with preventative measures and tests. So, relax and know that if you're well enough to have the angiogram scheduled, you will do well, and be well. Enjoy your weekend. Lois

  • Panther33
    Panther33 April 12, 2013 at 8:18 pm   

    Will be thinking of you and wishing you the best. With acceptable cholesterol levels yours may not be real serious but if they can put you on some meds for prevention it would be good.

  • JacquiAnn
    JacquiAnn April 12, 2013 at 10:17 pm   

    Thank you. Cholesterol levels have been a problem for several years but have been acceptable only recently with medication.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous April 12, 2013 at 10:47 pm   

    Medication is a blessing, in the 70's when my dad had heart disease no matter how well he did with diet and exercise his arteries continued to get clogged because there wasn't statins yet. Sadly he passed away at 57 years of age. We are very lucky to have medications that help us when we can't do it naturally.

  • JacquiAnn
    JacquiAnn April 13, 2013 at 12:47 pm   

    Yes, procedures and medications have advanced so much since the 70's. My mother had had angina for years and passed away at age 61. Had these medical advances existed then, her quality of life and extension of life might have been different. Only God knows that answer.

  • Panther33
    Panther33 April 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm   

    Thanks Lois. I will definitely check it out.

  • Lois T
    Lois TCA April 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm   

    I am 56 and my widow maker heart attack happened when I was 47. My book "Surviving" available on amazon is a quick easy read but deals with my own personal struggle after that event. There's a link here also. http://loistrader.com

  • tjbv
    tjbv April 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm   

    Whew! Scary, Panther33— Glad to have you still with us, and thanks for that aspirin advice. I've read about using it like that, but you're the first I've read who actually was saved by it. You have a great wife.

  • Panther33
    Panther33 April 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm   

    Thanks tbjv. She saved my life. I feel good and am ready to follow doctor's orders.