Zannia’s story

“I had my SCAD on 18 April 2016, age 31 and just five days after the birth of my first child. I had been feeling a little ‘off’ all afternoon but being sleep deprived with a newborn I didn’t think much of it. I sat down to dinner, took a bite of food and then felt a stabbing pain in the centre of my chest. I had enough time to say ‘chest pain, chest pain’ to my husband and then that was it. I never lost consciousness but was in immense pain and unable to respond. The ambulance arrived eight minutes later and by that time I had no pulse and was well on the way to being hypothermic. The subsequent heart attack actually occurred in the emergency room and no one could believe what they were seeing. I was in CCU for a week, given a degradable stent, sent home with a bag full of pills and advised to stop breastfeeding as the side effects of heart medication has not been tested on babies. Life changed irrevocably. We were forced to sell our home in Perth and move back in with my parents on the east coast for extra support, we gave up our jobs and said goodbye to the life we had worked so hard to build and I had to redefine my view of motherhood overnight. A year and three months on and our precious little girl is thriving, we have started our own business, I have been able to cut back on the medication by half, the area where the SCAD occurred is completely healed and my heart function has finally made it over the 50% mark. There is a long way to go and I struggle daily with fatigue, anxiety and bouts of grief but I thank God each day that I am still here to see my daughter grow up. My story is not over yet!
If I had any words for new SCAD patients it would be that it is ok to grieve, it is ok to say that you’re tired and that while life will forever look different to what you expected, you will find joy again and it will be all the more precious because of what you have survived.”