One year heart attack anniversary

One year ago today, I had a heart attack, and figured I should reflect and share some updates here.

  • Since my second Automattic sabbatical (May 2 – August 2), I walk an average of 20–25 minutes per day.
  • I’m not as strict on diet as I was a few months after the heart attack, but I still avoid beef and pork. (If I have chicken, it’s in the form of eggs.)
  • From early last month (September), results from blood tests are within range. My total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels are low. Relieved.
  • For tracking medication, I switched to Apple’s Health app.
  • I got COVID-19 vaccine boosters in February and September; the latter was the bivalent vaccine. With both boosters, I experienced side effects like fever, chills, and elevated heart rate. After the first, I went to Urgent Care — and later, the Emergency Department — as a precaution because my Apple Watch warned me of an elevated heart rate while I was inactive. A doctor confirmed it was only side effects, and I should use acetaminophen.
  • I had a CT angiogram, and there is “no aortic aneurism or dissection“. Thankful.

As of now, the cardiologists still don’t know why I had a heart attack, but I’m pleased we’ve prevented another one.

I had a heart attack

Sunday, October 17th started as a normal workday. On my lunch break, I noticed that my chest felt uncomfortable, and I was sweating (even though the air conditioner was on). My wife also noticed that I kept stretching intermittently.

I decided to go to Urgent Care (Kaiser Permanente), so my wife drove me there.

After a nurse took my vitals, the physician assistant took an EKG. Things escalated quickly because the reading was abnormal, which meant I was having a heart attack. 😓

I did not expect to reach that milestone months before turning 40.

Paramedics arrived, then took me to Arcadia Methodist Hospital in an ambulance (with sirens blaring). After being prepped in the emergency department, I was wheeled into their cardiac cath lab. One of the things they did was insert a stent.

I was discharged two days later, then was off work through November 8th (about 22 days).

Before the heart attack, I was taking two medications (for blood pressure). Now, I’m on six medications (including blood thinners).

On November 8th, I had a follow up with my new cardiologist. 👩‍⚕️ At the moment, we don’t know the reason I had a heart attack, especially since my “bad” cholesterol isn’t super high. For now, all we can do is try to prevent another one. (Also, I’m supposed to wait until next year to get a booster shot.)

Today, I’d say I’m doing well, and am feeling less anxious as more time passes after having a heart attack. 😌

  • Since October 26th, I walk almost every day. 🚶 According to the Apple Fitness app, I missed maybe two or three days. I started slow with ten minutes, and am now up to 25–30 minutes. (Before, I didn’t walk regularly.)
  • I eat out 1–3 times per calendar week, but choose plant-based food. Before, I’m ashamed to write that there were definitely instances when I ate out two or three times in one day. The horror. (In Day One, I have a dedicated food log journal, and have been tracking what I eat since December 18th, 2018.)
  • Since the heart attack, the only meat-based products I’ve eaten are fish (usually for lunch), chicken (twice), and cheese (once).
  • I haven’t had a breakfast burrito since October 14th. 😄 My regular breakfast is instant oatmeal (organic), shelled hemp seeds, and unsalted peanut butter.

In addition to all the medical professionals, I’m extremely thankful for the support of my wife, friends, teammates and colleagues at Automattic, and Automattic for fantastic benefits.

Lastly, if you’ve read this far and think it can’t happen to you, please review and consider the following:

Thank you for reading. Be well!