10 Months post SCAD & HA

This week saw me reach a milestone in my journey – 10 months post SCAD and Heart Attack…….

The 10 month mark finds me with more energy, a clearer mind (thanks to the sun coming out) and plans for the rest of the year being made.

I am able to comfortably walk for 45-60 minutes and have enjoyed being able to walk for longer periods of time. Today I ran into one of my cross-fit buddies and the angst of not being able to rejoin is tough. My cardiologist cleared me for a return to cross-fit a little while back at a reduced tempo and with modified sessions – unfortunately, the truth is I can’t be trusted! I know that I would quickly get swept up in the joy and pain of the box and would be trying to once again lift heavy and work harder than the day before. My family have also said ‘no way’ and I cannot argue with that.

Another first has been having my husband away for three nights this past weekend. It seems strange coming from an army wife, but three nights was bloody tough. I have never been able to sleep well when he has been away but due to being healthy and working I was always able to manage. These three nights were really hard. The lack of sleep left me absolutely shattered and antsy by the time he returned. The girls were fantastic (little man was away golfing with dad), and were great at ‘mumma sitting’. Upon the boys arrival home, I was in bed at 1930 and slept for nearly 12 hours straight – it was amazing.

I am more aware of my body and what it is trying to tell me. I feel every twinge and to be honest, sometimes I over think every little heart flutter and I will be working on getting in control of some of the anxiety that sometimes creeps in. Thankfully, it is not an everyday occurance.

A recent check up with the GP for bloods was met with great results. The concoction of medication I am on has thankfully not affected my kidney or liver function. Platelet count is fantastic (always a good sign when you have previously had really low platelet count and no spleen), cholesterol is great (never been an issue) and all other counts look great. I struggle to take head ache medicine so being on this amount of meds everyday I still find difficult but am fully aware that the benefits currently outway not taking them.

March is coming quickly and we look forward to spending spring break by the ocean and seeing some amazing friends. March will also see my Cardiologist follow up appointment. It will be just shy of 12 months and I look forward to chatting with him about the future and new research that has come about.

This week is SCAD Awareness week and I encourage you to talk to your friends and family, point them in the direction of the SCAD Research Australia website https://scadresearch.com.au, read the stories of survivors and to follow the most update research/ findings available, ways to become involved, donate, volunteer.

New SCAD t-shirt

As always, thank you for following the journey.

2020 – Making Goals not Resolutions

39 Weeks post SCAD & Heart Attack

As we welcome a New Year we often set ourselves resolutions that we rarely stick to for more than a few weeks or months. I too have been guilty of setting myself unrealistic or unattainable resolutions.

This year I have set GOALS and not RESOLUTIONS and to understand why we first need to look at the definition of both and from there we will understand why this is the perfect way to ring in the new year.

A goal as defind by Lexico is The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. https://www.lexico.com/definition/goal. or by Cambridge as an aim or purpose: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/goal

Cambridge defines a resolution as a promise to yourself to do something: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/resolution.

By setting ourselves goals and not resolutions we are giving ourselves something to work towards, an attainable achievement. A goal can be achieved by working towards smaller goals, smaller achievements along the way – a place were small progress is made and seen. Once we start setting ourselves resolutions, we are promising ourselves to do something, this in itself is often unattainable as we set ourselves one major promise without being able to celebrate each and every small step along the way.

Resolutions around the world are predominantly centred around weight loss, fitness, healthy eating and saving money – all with one set number or achievement in mind. Whether you are wanting to loose 5kg or 50kg, save $1000 or $40000, run 1km or 42km setting smaller goals will help make this achievable and you will be able to celebrate the smaller victories along the way – helping to keep you focused and on the way to complete your journey.

Now to me, no resolutions only goals. The goals I have set this year are also along the same line – fitness, weight loss, healthy eating and saving money. These goals are not extreme, I am not looking at running a marathon, loosing 50kg or saving vast amounts of money. What I have set are the following and the reason for these is also set out.

1. Walk Outside – this might sound crazy but since my SCAD & heart attack in April I have not been for a walk outside by myself other than to do the groceries. I have been walking on the treadmill in our basement. I want to get back to being comfortable to walk a few km outside in the fresh air. (quick update – my mum had been visiting during Christmas from Australia and we were also dog sitting – we walked everyday and I am excited to share that on the 1st of January I went for my first 2km walk with just myself, the dog and fresh air. It was amazing and has meant I accomplised for first goal of 2020, I have also been everyday since).

2. Swim – as my SCAD and heart attack symptoms began in the swimming pool after I had been swimming medley every four minutes with a minute rest in between I have been frightened to return to the pool. My goal this year is to jump back in (new swimmers purchased as the ones I was wearing were cut from me during the emergency). Swimming will again be different than before – no butterfly and not backstroke, simple freestyle and breaststroke.

3. Fitness – continue rebuilding following my SCAD & Heart Attack in April. Cross fit will never again be apart of my plan but walking, swimming, biking and golf are all attainable. With my golf, I aim to being more consistant and to get a handicap.

4. Weight – my heart medication has played a big part in my weight gain after initially loosing 10kg from the heart attack and recovery. Whilst I am still on the medication (8 tablets a day) I hope that will more regularly moving I can shift a little weight. Small increments but my heart health is the most important.

5. Medication – I see my Cardiologist in March and hope that some of my medication can be futher reduced. He is my person and I trust his medical advice.

5. Money – Team Mulligan have some big plans for when we return to Australia this year. We have set ourselves several money goals this year and if we stick to our budget, all with be attainable and we will be travelling in comfort next year.

I look forward to reaching my little goals along the way, celebrating the best of me and enjoying the challenges that the journey presents along the way.

I wish you the very best for your goal setting in 2020. Go ahead, be brave, be consistant and follow the journey.

What I want my kids to know!

Our kids are getting older and as they go through many changes both personally and as a family there are many things that I want them to know. The last 7 months have given me many opportunities to reflect and think and these are some of the important things I need them to know (they do also know these).

I love them completely.

We both always knew we wanted to be parents.

They make me laugh, cry and marvel at their amazing selves.

I am super proud of the people that they are and continue to become.

I pray every night before I go to bed. I ask God to watch over them, that they always trust their instincts, follow their dreams, hearts and goals, remain kind, honest and healthy. I pray that I give them all the time, love and affection that they need.

I pray that I am here to watch them grow up, to succeed and find love. I pray that they are happy and safe and that I am here to witness it all.

I want them to know that at times my own insecurities have gotten the better of me but I’ve pushed through them.

That not every body will like them and they will not like everybody – this is ok. Be kind and respectful.

Life can be hard but it doesn’t have to drag you down.

There are only two lessons in life – you either succeed or you learn!

To always look after each other.

Read a book, play sport, exercise and find your passion.

Be kind and thoughtful, look after others, stand up for your beliefs and always have educated opinions.

That just before my heart attack, I had made peace, the room was quiet and my focus was on telling dad that I loved him and the three of them.

I want them to know that I was not scared of dying or coming close too, I was scared of leaving them.

I want them to know that my heart is there’s forever!

The joy of writing and why I do (try)!

My writing style is free and casual. I write about feelings, thoughts and opinions that are important to me or about topics that have affected my family and I.

My writing comes from my knowledge, my own personal knowledge, by talking and listening to others.

My writing comes from experience – the experience of being a wife and mother, an army wife and mother, a mil spouse, a friend, a daughter and a survivor.

My writing is based on what I am thinking and feeling at the time. I take notes, both written and mental during the day, when I’m grocery shopping and when I’m trying to sleep.

My writing is an outlet and a journey for me. A place to share, connect and hopefully help somebody else on their journey.

My writing for me is therapeutic in a sense, the struggles I face, the acceptance that my life has changed a little as opposed to what it was nearly 7 months ago but also the struggles we all face.

I believe that every person has a story, a story to be shared, a story that we can all learn from. My battles are centred around as strange as it sounds – not being able to workout the way that I was, that I am learning to respect and trust my body again, to keep calm when I get a niggle in my chest/back/arm or jaw and to be aware of my emotions and triggers that may send me into a flood of tears – these battles are shared by many, but my battles are nothing compared to others. I am thankful for my health, my family and our friends, I am also thankful for the roof over our heads, the warmth from the heater, the food and clothes that we have and also for the experiences we have had and look forward to.

We all have a story. Be kind, be respectful and carve your own journey!

What fills your refrigerator door?

What fills your refrigerator door? Is it photos, magnets, bills?

And all those pictures hangin’ side by side
Forgotten memories from another time
And all the places that you’ve been before
Couple magnets, recipes, and Polaroids
Yeah, but that’s our lives on the ‘frigerator door
On the ‘frigerator door Songwriters: Jordan Brooker / Luke Combs

The words in the song ‘Refrigerator Door’ ring true for most people I know. Their fridges are covered in all kinds of things but mine are the…..memories.

As I sit and look at the doors of both our fridges, I am taken on a trip down memory lane. There are photos of the girls, our son as a baby, our German Shepherd Monty and my husband when we were about 24, a photo of my son and husband prior to a deployment, artwork, certificates that the kids have received, defibrillator vest accounts (thankfully paid), a calendar, permission slips and magnets from our US travels over the years with a couple of Australian ones too and emergency contact numbers.

These memories and items are not neatly positioned but are placed on there usually in a mishap, running out the door kind of way. They are sideways, but they all tell a story.

As I was writing this post my mind drifted to those special people and memories that are not on our fridge, the ones that are on my phone and not printed – I quickly went upstairs and printed these memories. We keep so many digital memories these days and rarely are the put to print.

With updated photos and new ones added, the piece of art that is our refrigerator door is taking place. It’s important that we have memories in a prominent place, a place that we can look at each day. ♥️

Life after SCAD – update

5.5 months post SCAD & Heart Attack
The wrinkles are raw, the muscles are gone, the grey hair is coloured and my bald spot is regrowing….BUT, here I am!

This week has seen me hit 5.5 months post SCAD and Heart Attack!!

I have written about my MUGA Scan and short hospital stay in August but wanted to share a little more information about what I undersent and have learnt since then.

After receiving the brilliant news on 3rd July that my heart function had normalised and was pumping at 62% we had a small set back at the beginning of August when I experienced chest pain that didn’t seem to budge, of course this was exasperated by anxiety concerning another possible heart issue – thankfully my Cardiologist and the amazing medical team at Providence Medical Centre knew my history and proceeded to set mine and their minds at rest.

I underwent some heart scans prior to returning to my ward for a burger with fries, a can of coke, chocolate chip cookie and ice-cream…..bazaar to be eating in the Cardiac Ward however, it was for a cause. As I had been injected with contrast dye, I needed to eat a fatty meal for the next set of scans to fully work.

The next step was a stress test – this was no ordinary treadmill stress test. For me, it was a Chemical Stress Test with me seated in a comfy recliner. I was injected with medication that speed up my heart rate and dilated the arteries in just the same way your body reacts during exercise. I was instructed to sit still, was covered in monitors and warned that once the chemical makes its way around my body, I would literally have my breath taken away as I would during hard exercise. It was crazy, surprising
and I can assure you no kilograms were lost during this type of ‘exercise’. While the scan is being taken, the medical team are monitoring and are able to see any ‘cold spots’ in both the heart and arteries.

The results were all clear, my heart and arteries were functioning exactly as they should, and the diagnosis was residual chest cavity inflammation – GREAT NEWS!

Since this little scare, my mind has taken a complete reset. Not only do I have a healthy and fully functioning heart, my mind is clear and not frightened. The percentage for reoccurrence of SCAD is different on every research undertaken but ranges between 10-30%. Upon my initial diagnoses, this scarred me greatly, however, the numbers are in my favour and I am not going to live in fear of something that may never happen.

Life is for living and we can only control what we can. My exercise routine is slow but I am back exercising every day, whether it be a 30 minute walk on the treadmill, 30 minutes on the spin bike or golf I know that for my mind and heart, this is what I need to do. Would I love to be crossfitting – absolutley….but I won’t.

Trusting the process!

Today is one of the first days I have spent at home alone since my SCAD and Heart Attack. With an amazing husband, my mum being here for a month plus the kids being on Summer break since May, there has been no need for me to be.

Today is the first day I have exercised at home without the safety pin of having my family here. The exercise since my hospital release has been at Cardiac Rehab along with the spin bike and treadmill in our basement.

Today, I trusted by heart and my body – truly trusted it for the first time in 17 weeks.

Today, my mind is free♥️