The British Heart Foundation are currently running a campaign called Dechox. Now if you haven’t heard about this or you don’t quite know what it is about, it is quite simple; To give up chocolate for the whole of March.
This may not be a problem for people with a savoury tooth, but giving up chocolate can seem quite the feat for most.
If you are a chocoholic and want to really test yourself then you can sign up here https://dechox.bhf.org.uk/sign-up/
Now I haven’t signed up or made a donation page as I already gave Chocolate up for lent, before I became aware of this campaign. I have, however donated to the British Heart Foundation in support of the charity.
My reasons for promoting this campaign are fairly personal.
Last year in May I suffered from a Mild Heart Attack at the age of just 30. It is something I don’t openly talk about and it’s not something everyone in my life knows about, because unless I saw you just after the attack then it won’t have been a subject I brought up.
It’s highly uncommon for an attack to happen to someone my age, but it’s certainly not a guarantee that it won’t happen to young people either.
I was asleep in the middle of the night, and I remember being roused slowly from this absolutely agonising pain in my chest. My partner had woken up by the time I had fully awoken and kept asking me what was wrong, but I couldn’t speak.
This pain just kept radiating and crushing my chest. I’ve never felt a pain like it before. I was clutching onto my chest, barely able to talk and the fear that clouded me was unbelievable.
I was scared.
My partner isn’t someone who you want to have with you in an emergency, as he didn’t know what to do and didn’t call an ambulance straight away. ( Please do if you experience this, as any delay can prove fatal)
Eventually I was able to speak and my partner said he was going downstairs to get me some painkillers. I refused to let him leave my side, I thought if he headed downstairs I would never see him again.
The Thoughts that had ran through my mind whilst going through the severe pain were all about how my day had gone with my 2 daughters. Had we played enough? Laughed enough, had I told my eldest daughter off for something insignificant, had I told them I love them enough times? What would they do without me? How would they get to school?
During the worst phase of the pain, a dark cloud was raging in my brain, fighting for some room against the side which was signalling my pain and panicked state.
It was telling me I was going to die, this was the end. I belonged on the earth no more and my time was up. How could this be? I had 2 beautiful young daughters, one who would be old enough to remember me and another who wouldn’t get the chance to know me.
My partner kept insisting he get me painkillers, but all I could say to him was that he must tell the girls just how much I love them and that I will miss them.
Eventually things calmed down, the pain was subsiding and I started to think more rationally.
I was embarrassed to call 999, after all what would I tell them? My pain had gone and my fears of dying were reducing. So I called 111 instead.
Next thing I am in hospital at 4.30 in the morning with a triage nurse who was going at the usual pace, asking me what happened, taking my observations.
Until she took my blood pressure and the next thing I know I am being rushed round to a ward where I have an ecg, blood tests, a needle in my stomach to treat the attack and the most vile drink I’ve ever tasted to help treat the attack too.
The first doctor I saw took my medical history and symptoms of what had just happened and then told me it was stress which was making me feel this way.
He left the room and came back after about 5 minutes to tell me I had in fact suffered a mild heart attack.
Although I had my own suspicions that this is what had happened, I couldn’t quite process it and it’s part of the reason I wouldn’t call the ambulance straight away from home.
I was 30, a reasonable weight – I was still trying to lose some gained from my pregnancy but I certainly wasn’t overweight, I had always exercised, rarely drank, never smoked and ate such a varied diet of fish, fruit and vegetables, that there shouldn’t be a build up of fat in my arteries.
I was kept in overnight and had several test performed. My blood tests came back fine, which meant that no lasting damage had been caused to my heart and the chest x-rays also confirmed this.
The Doctors had no explanation for why it happened. I was kept in for 2 days on a ward where I qualified to be all the other patients great grandchildren!
I’ve always been quite blasé about death. I’m from a large family where the odds of someone passing away has been relatively high and coming from an Irish family funerals are always seen as a celebration of somebody’s life. So my attitude towards death has been one I don’t shy away from.
This instance has taught me that life is very precious, something I knew already. I am a positive person anyway but this has made me see that you need to do more things for yourself that make you happy.
I can’t say I’ve made any big life changes because of this, but I certainly value my life in all it’s glory.