Melancholy Reflections on Heart Disease

April 9 marked the one year anniversary of giving my notice to my corporate job and April 23 was the one year anniversary of my last day.  (My Decision to Leave) I have done some melancholy reflection over the last week.  I still feel somewhat sad to have left a job that I worked hard at and was proud of.  On the other hand, my health was suffering with that job.  I’m quite sure that no job is worth that.

There are things I miss about that job. I miss some of the best staff and coworkers  that anyone could have wished for.  I miss the people and the relationships I built with the software clients. There are other things I don’t miss.  I don’t miss the stress of the actual job of managing medical billing and I don’t miss the effects that stress was having on my health.

The Friday before I gave my notice I was sitting at my desk pressing my knuckles into my sternum wondering if I should call an ambulance or because I could see the hospital from my desk would it be quicker to drive myself. I took some deep breaths and the chest pain subsided and I rested until my cardiologist appointment the following Tuesday.  It only took the strong urging from my cardiologist combined with opening a crappy email from my new boss (from the company that bought us out) when I got home to make me type my resignation.  With no plan set in cement, I turned in my resignation sure that if I didn’t it would kill me. I have ended up opening a vintage furniture store part-time and working for a new software company part time.  I really like working for them.

When I walked out of my corporate job on that last day, I did not feel one pang of regret other than the people.  I knew right then and there that I would never go back to that world.  This last year has been an interesting one.  It has brought the end of the grief from losing my pre-heart attack life and an acceptance of my post heart attack life.  I think what has surprised me the most is there is actually a grief process to work through after a life changing medical diagnosis. Not only that, but how long the grief process has taken given my heart attack was 4 1/2 years ago.  Mostly what I think you grieve is the gift of denial.  You grieve the loss of what my heart sister Carolyn Thomas calls in her blog  healthy privilege. (Carolyn blogs at Heart Sisters) No longer is ______ disease (in my case heart disease) something that happens to other people.  I will be 48 this year and saying I have heart disease is still strange.

I had a cardiologist appointment last week and it was so much different from the absolute fear I felt when I saw her last year.  I got very good news this year.  My ejection fraction was 65 and my nuclear medicine stress test showed nothing new.  It only showed the original damage from my STEMI. That is the sweetest news I could hope for.  Last year I cried in her office because I was sure I was going to die and this year I cried in her office because apparently I get the privilege of sticking around a while!





3 thoughts on “Melancholy Reflections on Heart Disease”

  1. Beautifully said, Jodi. Thanks for the mention and linking to Heart Sisters. I love what you wrote when you said: “This last year … brought the end of the grief from losing my pre-heart attack life.” That’s a significant milestone in the life of any heart patient who feels like they’ve been blindsided by a catastrophic diagnosis.

    I wish hospital cardiac staff would warn us of the roller coaster about to hit patients upon discharge, including reassurance that periods of such grief and depression are to be expected and are not uncommon (Hello!? it’s a frickety-frackin’ heart attack!) But these feelings are not insurmountable and will NOT last forever, as you have experienced during this year’s cardiologist appointment.

    Good luck to you in both of your work projects, and congrats for saying goodbye to stress that hurts your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Carolyn! It really is a milestone and I surely never thought it would take this long. I thought I had worked it through multiple times but it came back. I really feel like this is it! I have taken some steps to make sure.

    I sure wish the hospital staff would do that too. I think they should have a psychology consult before you leave. That might help some.

    So happy to have left the stress behind. Honestly between the heart attack and the nerve it took to quit that paycheck I think I can handle almost anything! Hope you are doing well:)


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