My SCAD occurred on 27 June 2023, just 10 days after celebrating turning 54. Like most (SCAD Heart Attack) survivors I have read about I felt that I was fit, active and healthy. I had been a cronic migraine sufferer, however for the past 18 months have been migraine free and from the outset of a new normal”

“My SCAD came completely out of the blue, it was the second day of school holidays and as a school principal had decided to devote two full days for completing enrolment interviews. The morning had gone well, I was taking a break and laughing with my colleagues. I felt really well and happy. Within seconds I began to experience stabbing like pains in my chest and excused myself while I went to the school Sick Bay area. I actually thought that I might be having a Panic Attack, however having not experienced one before did not really know. By the time I got to the Sick Bay I had a feeling of engulfing ‘doom’, it sounds strange but I knew this was not good. At no stage at all did I even think that this was a heart attack. I finally reached one of my collegues by phone and pleaded with them to call an ambulance. I am forever grateful for my colleagues, their calmness and quick thinking. They were able to access the defibulator and speak to the operator. As soon as I hung up I began vomiting and experienced extreme pain, that is difficult to describe. The Mica unit arrived within 5 minutes, with the extra two paramedics arriving 5 minutes later. From the tests they then shared how serious the situation was and that I was having a Heart Attack. I did not see any bright lights, but felt a sense of urgency and did plead with my colleagues and the paramedics to convey how much I loved my children Isaac and Claudia and to tell them how proud I was of them.

I feel eternally grateful to the quick and professional actions of the paramedic team, their connection with University Hospital, Geelong and the amazing team in the Cardio Lab. I believe my procedue took place within about 30-45 minutes of the Mica unit first arriving at work. I learned that I had a 90 % tear to my left artery and had four stents inserted. I understand now how close I came, it’s amazing how your body is able to share with you just how serious it was and all I could think about was my children. The care I received in hospital and the ongoing support I have received from the Rehabilitaion Team at the Sunrise Centre in Geelong has also been world class. Again I feel so fortunate that this occurred when and where it did. The ongoing investigations a few weeks ago have now revealed that I also have a diagnosis of Fibromusular Dysplasia (FMD). Again something that is taking time to digest, however the support from the medical team in the Geelong Region has been amazing. I am slowly working my way back to improving my fitness level and returning to work, which I really miss.

Hopefully we can all continue to raise awareness of both SCAD Heart Attacks and the associated FMD. As a mother to a daughter I am aware that it is not widely known about, nor the seriousness of the conditions.”