Posted by tessmarie1983 on 10/21/2021
They Tell You...
New Day / New Meaning

They tell you to eat healthy.
I eat organic.

They tell you to exercise.
I ran the 2019 NYC Marathon.

They tell you not to be overweight.
I am athletic and fit.

They tell you not to do drugs.
I don’t, and yet my body reacted like the body of a cocaine user.

So, what do I do when the unexplainable happens?

October 10, 2021.

The one-year anniversary since surviving sudden cardiac arrest.

My cardiologist recently informed me that perhaps my cardiomyopathy diagnosis and sudden cardiac arrest was a “fluke,” and that over time, I will gain back the confidence to live my life not in fear of an episode happening to me again.

And over the weekend my husband and I couldn’t help but reflect upon that situation that almost remained true: dying from a fluke.

Sudden cardiac arrest transpired without much warning for me. It’s not like I had been practicing bad behavior and was told repeatedly to stop doing something or else my heart would.

It was simply another day.

People often say they consider me the picture of health.

And yet it still happened.

Some might think I am bragging.
Some might think I am lying.
Some might ignore everything I just said and think I still did something wrong.

This doesn’t just happen out of the blue…right?

Wrong.

And that’s why I advocate.

Because there are some things that are unexplainable, but we still need to bring attention and awareness to them. For me, it’s getting your heart checked…and not when you are 49 years old, but rather wherever you are right now.

It’s reminding people it’s okay to call 911 if you are having chest pain.

It’s about making changes today that you know are better for you and your health.

It’s about looking out for our children. I recently got my 3-year-old an EKG to make sure his heart is looking healthy and without concern.

We are taught that heart disease is something that we are born with.
And for some, that might be true.

We are taught that heart disease is something we brought upon ourselves with some sort of bad behavior.
And for some, that might also be true.

But heart disease and sudden cardiac arrest is a silent killer that can strike at any given time.
It’s scary and for some, that unfortunately is true.

However, like most things, knowledge is power. The more we know and the more we are proactive, the better defense we will have against an unwelcoming surprise.

Like I mentioned earlier, it’s been one year and with an internal defibrillator, two medications, and continued healthy lifestyle living, I am so proud to say I am still alive.

Still navigating emotions and memories, some of which I remember and much of which I do not.

But I am now 100% focused on speaking about my rare case because it needs to be heard, not overshadowed. My son almost lost his mother at the age of 2 and my husband almost became a single father at the age of 37.

All because of a fluke?

Maybe or might there still be more?

And since almost doesn’t count and as long as there is breath in my lungs and a heartbeat to pump along, I will advocate for sudden cardiac arrest awareness and prevention.

I am the (first) 2021 Indianapolis Woman of Impact and this is my story.

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