“On May 31, 2018, when my baby was 8 months old, I became a heart attack and cardiac arrest survivor, forever changing my life.
Before this cardiac event, I was a Director of Revenue Cycle Management for a large medical company, managing the AR of over 30 medical providers, which was a very demanding position. It required sharp thinking skills to continuously find ways to increase revenue and make sure the organization was not losing revenue due to bad management in the workflow. Now, as a survivor, I am living with heart failure.
One night, while watching TV with my family and sipping tea, my baby began to cry. When I bent down to pick him up, I began to complain of chest pain. My husband said I slid down to the floor and he called 911 around 9:00 p.m. at night. At 3:00 a.m., he was contacted by the hospital chaplain, stating to get there as soon as possible and to reach out to my family because they did not believe I would make it. He contacted my loved ones, and my family and friends went down in prayer for my survival. My children were 14 years old, 4 years old, and 8 months old.
Apparently, after arriving at the emergency room via the ambulance, while talking to the doctor and explaining my chest pain was worse than any pain I had experienced before, my doctor said I became nauseous, began to vomit, and then went into cardiac arrest. He said my heart stopped three times. When I did not wake up after my heart stopped the third time, they put me on something called Hypothermic Protocol where they lower your body temperature to protect my organs. They say it’s like freezing your body.
When they warmed my body back up to the normal body temperature, I woke up. The doctor said after that, they believed I had a chance, and I was placed on life support for some time.
Despite the odds, MIRACULOUSLY God brought me back! When I woke up, I had heart failure, kidney failure, and respiratory failure. I spent over a month in the hospital and another couple of months of home health nursing and therapy. During this time, I re-learned how to walk and do daily self-care needs like taking a shower, eating, and dressing myself. I hated the wheelchair and walker. Every time I went out in either one of those, I felt so embarrassed because of the way people look at me.
But I’m a miracle and my testimony can bless someone else. Never give up! Keep the faith, things can turn around. The road to recovery was not easy and I still struggle with having the energy to do things due to heart failure. I also have trouble sometimes remembering things (short-term memory issues from the lack of oxygen to my brain). I have to find ways to help me not forget things, such as setting reminders on my calendar. I also have a defibrillator implanted in case my heart stops again. This will give my heart an instant shock because time is not on your side when your heart stops. You only have a few vital minutes to save a life!
I am blessed and thankful to be here. Although I learned my heart function dropped again for the second year in a row, I will not let heart failure defeat me. You see, I have been added to the list of God’s miracles when he brought me back after my heart stopped three times, after the heart attack. Keep praying, keep the faith, and when you take that first step again, like I did, it will feel so AMAZING. It will remind you there is nothing God can’t do! The struggle is a reminder I could have been 6 feet under instead of here with my children and family.
Today, I now spend time trying to bring awareness to heart disease and prevention. Unfortunately, heart disease is the number one killer of women. I have done a few speeches, including with the American Heart Association, in hopes of helping to save lives and make a difference.
For those of us who struggle with heart disease and/or heart failure and wonder about the pacemaker or defibrillators some of us must have, I know it’s not easy but don’t give up. It took me nearly 2 years to be able to walk comfortably and to do normal activities without being extremely fatigued. I still get tired because of heart failure. On those days when it’s hard to get up out of bed, reflect on the good times and how you are blessed! This helps me a lot. We can get through this, and we will.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Devona Tricole Jackson. You can follow their journey on Instagram and Facebook. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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