Gill's story

I had my first SCAD event on 11-Apr-2013. I was 50 years old and had been back to full time work for two months after suffering from severe depression. So was feeling really good, had lost weight and was fitter than I had been for years.

I had been busy at work that morning and I was making a cup of tea at lunch time. While talking to a colleague I started to feel unwell. A real aching in my jaw and a bit lightheaded. I went to my desk and sat down. But I started to feel worse...pain radiating in my shoulders, nausea. So as I thought I was going to be sick I went to the toilet.

Luckily another lady was there. In minutes a crushing feeling began in my chest accompanied by a soaking sweat. An ambulance was called and I was rushed to hospital. I was lucky again as the registrar on duty had seen a SCAD before. They decided as I was recovering well that they wouldn't do any intervention apart from medication and I was sent home after a few days.

So began a new world of being weak, scared and lots of pain. I knew how lucky I was but it was still terrifying especially for my three children. But worse followed as ten days later I woke up in the early hours of the morning feeling dreadful.

Thought it can't be happening again but it was.

Another emergency dash to hospital but this time things were far more serious. My right artery completely went as they tried to put the camera in. For twenty mins my life was in the balance but again Lady Luck was on my side. The consultant knew about SCAD and also called the senior heart consultant in the area for help. He put four stents in and rebuilt the artery. I was then rushed to another hospital as they thought I would need a bypass. But I showed positive sign and so I didn't have to have the surgery.

Nearly two years on I finally feel more like the old me. I still get chest pain, breathlessness and tiredness. But am lots better. Sleep can still be a challenge due to being scared at times. It was the scariest time for all of us. Being in ICU next to the nurses’ station makes you realise that things are serious and it took a long time to get my head around it.

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