Feel like it's happening to someone else

I have had a weird feeling since the night I had my heart attack and then quadruple bypass surgery in Sept. 2012 - I feel like I am living someone else's life and these things are not happening to me. I was actually pretty calm during "the event" as my husband and I call it. I went to the ER and walked in under my own power and just said "chest pain" and they took me in immediately. After the catheterization, the doctor came back to me and said "you have a chestful of coronary artery disease." Nice. However, I remember lying in the hospital bed and knowing that I was not going to die. I can only explain that certainty as being from God.

Anyway, since that all happened, including the recovery from surgery and the cardiac rehab, I keep feeling like I am going to wake up from a bad dream and be back to my "normal" dysfunctional self and only have depression as my main disability. Oh, I forgot to mention that I was also diagnosed with diabetes in the hospital, as if CAD were not enough. I see the shock in people's eyes when I tell them I had quadruple bypass surgery. I was 58 at the time and I keep hearing that I am too young to have had that happen to me. Not too young - there was a guy in my rehab group who had a triple bypass operation at age 29.

Does anyone else have that "out of body" experience with all this? Thanks for any replies.

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I also had the experience of being very calm when I had a heart attack. I also knew somehow that I would not die. But at the same time I was very aware at how close I was and that it would be very easy to step over the line between life and death. I became aware of how fine that line is really, but I was very calm about it. There is a feeling of unreality about it all but I think it is probably how you cope with it. I think I probably cope the same way. I recognize I have heart disease but inside sense it is not me. I am not the disease. I guess I keep "me" and my body in separate categories. On Tuesday I sat in the urologists office waiting for him and reading the top of my file upside down. It had my name and then underneath it had "renal ca". I thought how strange it was to see my name and kidney cancer underneath of it. No panic, no tears, nothing. It is just what it is. I have cancer. I have heart disease. It does not change who I am nor does it define me. I am not too old or too young to have these things because I do have these things, just like I have brown hair and grey eyes. So normal me is still normal me, whether I have CAD or cancer or break my pinkie. You are still normal you. The thing I experienced during my heart event was learning that my body might let me down, but who I am never changes.

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Thanks so much for the thoughtful answer. It's good to know I am not alone in having these feelings. Today has been a particularly hard day emotionally - another one of my napping days. I just finished cardiac rehab on Thursday and now it's up to me to take good care of myself. I just did my 30 minutes on the treadmill so now I am genuinely tired.

When I was in therapy we did a lot of talking about acceptance. I should remember that when I get into the "why is this thing happening" mode. Thanks again.

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I was also very calm when I had my heart attack. I had not even thought about others having the same experience but I find it very interesting. I know I did not want to upset my husband (who has CHD) or my daughter. There was just a feeling of calm and knowing I was in the hospital and would be cared for. Although, that did take some time as since my heart stress test the week before was normal. They did not think I was having a heart attack and only kept me for observation but troponin levels told the tale and the next morning I was first in line for a cath. I was still calm even once I knew I had suffered a heart attack and had no anxiety about the cath or how I would recover. However, angina attacks in the weeks after my release from the hospital made me very nervous and agitated. There were several ER visits in the first year of recovery. Now I am aware, that this could happen again, but I am again calm and not overly concerned by my risk factors. I just want to celebrate life as I feel very fortunate.

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i also had the feeling ( and still do to some extent) when I had my heart attack and stent. Its only been a little over two months ( Nov 19,2012). The whole experience continues to feel very surreal - like it is happening to someone else.

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Yeah that would be pretty weird does it happen often?

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My surgery was Nov 19, 2012 and I feel different, it's just little things, but I do feel different. I always had to get things done, always in a hurry, but now if something doesn't get done, oh well, it just doesn't get done. I never feared dying, I feared the pain and I faced it head on. During my 6 day stay in the hospital I wouldn't let my husband, children or sister spend the nights because I didn't want to be worrying about them being uncomfortable, bored, etc.. I knew if I were on my own I would fight harder to get better so that I could go home as soon as possible. I feel like it was a bad dream and I haven't woken up yet - sometimes I do forget and pick something up that is too heavy or just do too much in one day and I end up paying for it the next day. I feel after about 12 weeks I should be back to normal, but it is slowly sinking in that I now have a "new" normal - whatever the heck that is!!!!

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Hi, Jazzie - Yes, it does feel like it happens often. I hope it gets less and less often. Today I was in water aerobics for the first time since the surgery and it felt good to be back in one of my pre-surgery activities. I felt a lot more normal, although I still do not know what normal really is. It's so hard to describe any of this. Tomorrow is zumba class and I am hoping I will have more stamina there, too. The heart attack and surgery seem more and more like a bad dream.

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Have you checked about doing Zumba with your doc? It is pretty intense. There have been some things in the news lately about Zumba and whether or not it is healthy exercise.

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Yes, I checked with the cardiologist about the zumba before going back to it. I will google zumba and see what's in the news. I went yesterday and I was amazed that I didn't have to sit down even once. Before my heart attack and CABGx4 I had to sit down every few minutes.

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