In October of last year, I had just arrived in Boise, ID. I work for an airline and was gearing up for two weeks of business travel, which would end off with my husband joining me in South Korea. Just a few hours into the trip, I wasn’t feeling well and someone who worked at my hotel offered to take me to the ER. Shortly after arriving, I experienced a cardiac arrest and a stroke. Thankfully, I was already at the hospital and the staff there knew instantly that something wasn’t right. They gave me three rounds of chest compressions and finally used the defibrillator to get my heart beating again.
Although I have no memory of this part, I was intubated and placed on a ventilator in the ICU. My family back in Detroit was contacted and told they needed to travel to Boise to make decisions on my behalf. My poor family, being so far away and feeling so helpless, were in such a panic. Thankfully, my airline family stepped in to get them out there and sat by my side until they arrived. Even as a healthy 38 year old, the odds of surviving it all were less than 5%, but I somehow made it through. I was told I have Long QT Syndrome and that a medication I was given had caused my heart to stop. Remarkably, I suffered no permanent organ damage and my cognitive abilities were still intact. Later that week, I had surgery to place an ICD in my chest.
Healing from this was experience was extremely tough. I was frustrated and in pain and thought it was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me, but looking back a year later, I realize it was really a new beginning. It gave me clarity about what is really important and allowed me to stop caring so much about the rest. I get to be here with my family and my friends and raise my little human (who thankfully does NOT have this condition!) So, I may have a broken heart, but my eyes are forever open, and I’ll always have so much gratitude just for being alive.