I Survived A Sudden Cardiac Arrest
While not a milestone birthday, this one is extra special.
The fragility of life.
The finality of death.
Every day, we hear about these things, but we never think they'll happen to us or our loved ones. We (unconsciously) see ourselves as immortal, like an armored knight with a shield that protects us from all harm.
But then the shield shatters into a million pieces, and we're left scrambling to pick up the shards from the ground around us before someone steps on them and gets hurt.
That's what it's like for this mother 🙋🏾♀️ who almost died at the end of January. No hyperbole, just real talk.
10 days after my last update to you, I was finally starting to get better from COVID-19 – or so I thought. At the end of January, we passed our contagious period and celebrated my husband Dave’s birthday by spending quality time with a dear friend and going out to dinner without our two toddler boys. We were busy planning our next adventure since it seemed like that pesky virus had disappeared for good this time around…
I am told we went to brunch in Alexandria on January 29th because it was the end of restaurant week. I was high energy and after almost three weeks of being in a zombie-like state, I could now taste and smell! We came home, the kids went down easily for their naps, and I was able to chillax while watching something on Netflix. Because pizza is popular in my household and one of the DC teams won, it was half-priced. Dave went to pick up the pizza while I hung out with the kids.
And then everything changed. My heart stopped beating due to cardiac arrest. I’ve come to learn the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest. While a heart attack is a circulation problem, cardiac arrest stops the heart from beating, and the brain, lungs, and other organs do not get the blood and oxygen they need.
Dave returned home, found me unconscious, and started performing CPR immediately. He saved my life and kept my heart going until first responders arrived to shock my heart back into rhythm. According to my hospital discharge papers, I was unconscious for 25-30 minutes, with no oxygen to the brain. After approximately four minutes of no oxygen, brain cells start dying off. I have no recollection of the month of January; however, I can count my lucky stars that is the extent of the harm to my brain.
I woke up in the hospital with no idea why I was in there. Later I learned that I was intubated, in a coma for six days, and in the ICU for two weeks. This health crisis and ICU experience shook me to my core and made me question everything I thought I knew about myself, the people around me, and the world at large.
I have been taking time to reexamine my priorities and values in a way that is different than before. Dear reader, what's important to you? What makes you feel safe? What gives your own life meaning?
Please reply, share your answers with me, and/or share The 3-31. Thank you in advance for your birthday gift. 😉
Photo collage created by my Aunt Rochelle
What 3-31 Means to Me
I was born on March 31st.
I designed this newsletter/blog to:
go out three times a month on the third day of the week;
highlight the day I arrived on planet earth; and
share three inspirational jolts⚡️you can read in 31 seconds.
This year, my birthday is extra special.
I am so thankful for the love I receive and for the community of supporters who uplift me. My heart, while it may be a little damaged, is enlarged with love and with even more life to live. The joke is subtle as my diagnosis is dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart muscle becomes enlarged and weak, making it hard for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.
Today, a press release was sent out announcing my first speaking engagement of the year on an all-star panel! I was hoping to present in person, but alas, will need to do so virtually as I am obediently following all of the doctor’s orders. It’s a FREE hybrid event, so I would love to see some of your faces there.
The fragility of life is something we all have to acknowledge and face at some point in our lives – but when we do it together, it helps us feel more powerful and more connected than ever before.
I know, I know – you were expecting my book to hit shelves in about a month. In addition to the question about how I’m doing, the next burning question folks have for me is, “Where is my book?”
Dave worked with my editors and the publisher to extend the time I have to complete revisions. I won’t publish on the original date that I mentioned. The new release date will be in late September/early October.
All Campaign Contributions at this point will still go towards my book's publication. I promise you will still get your preorders! Just at a later date. Stay tuned for additional updates soon as more awesome news rolls in.
Three ⚡️ in 31 Seconds
⚡️ You are predestined for greatness. The path of how you get there is up to you to create.
⚡️ Me power is a type of power that comes from within ourselves. We don't get it from other people or places; instead, we create it and control its flow by the way we think, act, and interact with the world around us.
⚡️ Share with someone who may need to hear this: You may feel like you're not in control of your life, that things are happening to you instead of because of you. You may feel like you can't make a change or that your voice doesn't matter. But it does! You have the power to create the life you want. Me power is how you tap into your inner strength, confidence, and determination to achieve anything you set your mind to go after.
Belated happy birthday, and really nice to meet you today at the shout out. I was touched by your story having experienced a health draw back that almost killed in 2001. I shall write about it too on my Haiku Newsletter coming soon. In answer to your question of what makes me happy is precisely something you also mention: empowerment comes from within. I became a dedicated meditator to get to know my mind and therefore myself. Most challenging and rewarding. Could not go back to the way I lived before I gave myself and my life the attention it needed.
My question is : is it always true that this realization only comes to us humans when we are about to die?
Really happy for you and your family that you survived it. you sounded very upbeat on our zoom gathering. I could not have imagined that all this is so recent in your experience and that you joined the shout out today. Like we say in Ireland, fair play to you! I also am on the third week of COVID-19 and still have trouble breathing although writing and sitting chatting to people is doable, carrying shopping bags and climb stairs is still difficult.
Wishing you a complete recovery and looking forward to walk along side your journey through your newsletter.
Happy belated birthday!