Anxiety,  Caregiving,  Fibromyalgia,  Hospital Stays,  Leah

Can a 36 Year Old Female Have a Heart Attack?


It isn’t common but the answer is yes. Did I think I was having a heart attack? Maybe. Did I actually have one? No.

This woman, at age 37, actually had a heart attack. Her symptoms were similar to mine. However, after I woke up in the middle of the night nauseous and with pressure in my chest, that feeling of discomfort remained for another 48 hours and worked its way into my neck and jaw. I tried to treat it like heartburn, and it occured to me that maybe I was developing GERD. I would have suspected a prolonged panic/anxiety attack, but in my previous experience they are accompanied by strong dissociation.

FYI. If you call to make an appointment to see your doctor, they will have to follow protocol at the mention of radiating chest pain and direct your to the ER.

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So, I went. When they took my EKG and the nurses advised they’d be running back out to get me if need be, I went from doubting I was having a heart attack to believing I was absolutely having a heart attack. I went back to the waiting room and took lots of deep breaths and kept my eyes closed and listened to Agnes Obel’s Citizen of Glass on a tight loop with my headphones. It would make sense, right? I had gained 20 lbs. since we moved. I had a horrible diet–suddenly lots of meat and fried foods, and I was drinking alcohol like crazy. At least 3 beers a night. I had no excercise regimen like I had in Oregon.

But, the nurses didn’t run out to the waiting room for me in a crazy panic. In fact, I was still sitting in the waiting room when Dan arrived. I definitely knew it wasn’t serious. But now I had to stick it out and let them check me and rule out everything potentially serious. We were completely used to the way this went down. It would take hours. We made the most of it and joked about how we were experiencing a role reversal.


I have to say that my best luck was that HGTV was showing episodes of Fixer Upper, the most entertaining show regarding how to renovate and rebuild old homes. It is actually a show that Raine and I can cuddle and watch together. He loves it.

I wish I could tell you all WHAT the grand, sweeping, learning lesson was from this weird medical situation. All it did for me was point out that there is a lot that I need to attend to myself medically and I have to take it all as seriously as I do Dan’s medical issues.

That shit is hard to do. I inevitably run last in my own race of helping everyone across a winning line. I want Dan there; I want Raine there…I want everyone I love there.

So why is it so hard to get myself there?

Have you ever had a moment where you chose yourself?






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One Comment

  • Melissa

    Bless you sweet friend, so happy your heart is fine. also, thank you for the Agnes Obel remark, currently listening and loving. love you!!!!

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