It's been two years since my SCAD, and I wanted to do a brief posting in celebration. I feel great, although not quite as good as before the incident. Running, horseback riding, and teaching were all things I thought I'd have to give up. I'm doing them all, and enjoying them more than ever.
There have been a lot of hard lessons over the two years, and I want to share what worked for me. SCAD is unusual, and my recovery required an unorthodox approach that would not work for everyone. Every move I make is approved by my doctor and, more importantly, my body.
1. Any doctor who requires me to ignore my body is suspect, and it's worth the time to find one who listens to me and validates what I am experiencing. Encouraging a doctor who will listen to confer with one who does not radically changes things. Be a squeaky wheel.
2. Paying attention to inflammation (C reactive protein) and the health of my endothelial lining (the inside of my arteries) is more important than any other protection I can do.
3. I don't let anyone push me around. Stress kills. I hang up the phone and do something fun if a conversation is annoying. This was a hard one for others to get used to, but the relationships that were worthwhile are stronger than ever.
4. I listen to my body. Pain, moodiness, intestinal bleeding, and dizziness should be taken seriously. The most dangerous thing since my dissection was drug interactions, and these nearly killed me more than once. My doctor gets a vote on every medical decision. My body gets two. I'm much stronger for it.
It took me about eighteen months to feel human again after my dissection, so if you're struggling, have hope. I finally believe that I'll achieve my life goals despite the stents, heart attacks, and setbacks.