Heart Whispers – Part 4, Letting Go of the Why


(to recap: On the evening of May 14, 2007, I had a heart attack while I was teaching my Monday Level 1-2 Yoga Class)

From Part 3

…Holding back tears, trying to look healthy, like this is not a big deal -for them- I moved swiftly out of ”you’re not the boss of me!!” to:

you are the experts, do what you are trained for, I am at your mercy–please make me better for my boys…


I stayed in the hospital for a week. I celebrated my 41st birthday there. I had all kinds of assessment and tests done and lots of wonderful visitors, thank goodness. I couldn’t do a whole lot. They had me on slow-me-down medications and my heart hurt just to walk around. They shipped me off to Halifax (a neighbouring city) to have the ‘Dye Test’ and a possible stent put in. I was pretty excited to see the inner workings of my heart (you are awake during these procedures) but it turned out that the insertion of the catheter was too painful and they put me under.. Rats!

They saw, through this test and others, that it was a left ventricular artery that had a blockage. My cardiologist explained that the inner wall of the artery peeled away and made a flap that caused the blockage (SCAD). It turned out that the artery was too small to stent, it would’ve done more damage than good, so it remains blocked.

What we DON’T know is WHY…

After being released from the hospital, I had to go back to get the results of my cholesterol test. It had to be bad news… It was the last test to get some clarity from. My mind wrestled with conflicting ideas. Half of my mind wanted this to be the thing that caused the heart attack so it would all make sense and I could be proactive, I could DO something about that. The other half cried (in the former chef part of my brain)

“but I LOVE butter… *Sniff*…. I can’t give up butter… “

Turns out, my cardiologist said:

“I want to frame it and put it on the wall. The good (HDL) ones are high and the bad (LDL) ones are low”

So what the H. E. doublehockeysticks!

My cardiologist apologized… So sweet…

“Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection”. He told me this was ‘doctor-speak’ for we don’t know…

I asked what I could do to prevent this kind of thing from happening again, I’m all about prevention, he paused…

“Umm, well, you already do all of the things we ask our heart patients to do (exercise, meditation, healthy diet…) You don’t have ‘Heart Disease’... pause…”

“Eat salmon”

Salmon! Yes! I can do that. I love salmon. Yay!

Hunt_Ross_Kwagulth_Salmon_600_txt_550[‘Kwa-guilth Salmon’ – Northwest Coast Native Art by Ross Hunt]

You see, I needed something to do. After all of that surrender to the help around me. Feeling dependent (I consider myself, under normal circumstances, to be super independent), I needed to take charge, to get my power back. He knew I needed a thing – again, so sweet – and he gave me salmon.

I’m a person who needs to understand things. I feel like there has to be a reason for something as significant as this to happen.

It’s close to 8 years since this episode and I really don’t have any answers, but there has been a lot more research done since my ‘event’.

Don’t we always want answers?

Don’t we always want to wrap it all up in a neat little box to file away, everything resolved, understood? Being able to stand back after the fact and look at it with clarity and wisdom… “Ah yes, of course!”

It sucks not knowing and sometimes that becomes my yoga, letting go of the why.

We can spend our lives caught in the why of things. Trapped. With incredibly stubborn resilience, (yes, I’m a Taurus) we can spend so much energy, just spinning our wheels… Unable to move forward.


Stay tuned for Part 5…