I had a heart attack while visiting California for the first time since moving to western Washington on February 2. Some of you know that I was scheduled for a double mastectomy on February 14, which was postponed because of the NSTEMI (non-ST elevation myocardial infarction), fortunately without damage to my heart and without artery blockages. The cardiologist said that stress was a major factor.
I was driving from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo with chest pain. I finally had to stop driving and pulled over at Santa Ynez Cottage Hospital, thinking it was indigestion, but I could not catch my breath. They ambulanced me to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where I spent three days in ICU. Recovery has been slow. A heart attack is surprisingly weakening. I am currently in a cardiac rehab program at Capital Medical Center in Olympia, WA.
My friend Margaret encouraged me to create a GoFundMe since my double-mastectomy surgery was postponed as a result of the heart attack. While I had created a MealTrain fundraiser in January for February's mastectomy surgery prep and post-op care, I used those funds while recovering from the heart attack. I still need help! I have not been able to work since January. I am writing this on April 15. I continue to recover from the heart event. I will be recovering for at least six weeks after the mastectomy on May 17. This means I will not work until at least July.
A mastectomy is a major surgery, though it is done on an outpatient basis. I do not have breast cancer. There are possible complications and risks because of my health history. I have been referred to Dr. Shane Morrison at the University of Washington, Seattle who is sought-after. I was on a short-list with him because of possible complications and am scheduled for surgery on May 17. Financial assistance would be extremely helpful as I currently have no income.
Funds raised will go towards rent, utility bills, daily living expenses, food (though I qualified for an EBT card) and certain items that would make recovery more comfortable. Many friends have donated funds and supplies already for surgery specifically, and I used the MealTrain money to buy certain things on the original wish list. Things that are still needed include:
• a mastectomy pillow
• a detachable shower head or bathtub sprayer
• a long-corded lamp with an accessible dimmer switch
• a plane ticket and transportation to and from Sea-Tac/Olympia for a friend to come from New York to take care of me for a week or two post-op. I do not have a partner or family support. I will need physical help through May and June here and there, if you are available, and some rides!
• a post-surgical binder (two would be helpful)
• a hospital table that swings over the bed (these have proven to be very difficult to find secondhand)
• silicone scar tape and gauze
• anti-itch creams, cooling gels and scar ointments, including calendula cream and arnica gel
• scent free baby wipes
•dry shampoo. I won't be allowed to lift my arms for 4 - 6 weeks.
I will prepare and freeze meals and have friends step in to help me.
This has been a very challenging time. My friends especially in San Luis Obispo have been incredibly supportive. I felt so much love after the heart attack. Thank you for your help, your care, your understanding of my shyness, and for being kind as I do another difficult thing: ask for help.
Sending renewed love from my heart to you!