My name is Dima and I’m 57 years old. March 3, 2021 was the day that changed my life.
I had a headache, sore neck, nausea, and my left shoulder blade had been sore for about a week. I went to the ER when the sore shoulder blade was accompanied by chest pain and was told I had suffered a heart attack (an NSTEMI).
Over my 11-day stay in the hospital, I was given various potential diagnoses - from Takostubo, myocardial infarction with non-obstructive coronary arteries (MINOCA), coronary artery syndrome, to microvascular dysfunction. There is no family history of heart disease, and the only obvious risk factor I had was hypertension.
At the time of discharge, it was still unclear what the cause of my pain was.
This event started a merry-go-round of many invasive tests, ER visits, and several more diagnostic hypotheses. I endured frequent and severe angina for months and wondered if I would ever get relief.
When she met me in the hospital, my current cardiologist said it was likely a MINOCA. I participated in patient education by video, the medical team monitored my hormone levels, and I had CT scans and MRIs done. My medication was changed several times to help with spasms and allergies (in case I have Kounis syndrome).
I have come to accept that my condition is chronic and unpredictable and can be triggered by temperature changes, environmental changes, and allergens.
Currently, I have challenges walking far, I get short of breath and use my Nitro more frequently. I need to pace myself to manage my energy, ask for help when I need it, use mobility aids on hard days and enjoy the good days when they come.
I am fortunate to have the support of a good medical team.