I have always been an athlete. In high school I played club basketball and varsity soccer and tennis. In college I went to the gym daily and played several intramural sports. I love being active - it’s who I am. I had annual sports physicals and never imagined that I had a heart problem. I barely knew what a cardiac arrest was, let alone that it could happen to someone so fit and young!
I was 22 years old, just beginning - what should have been - my final semester in college. Playing just an ordinary intramural basketball game, I collapsed in the middle of the court. I had suffered a cardiac arrest.
After twelve minutes of CPR I was shocked three times with an AED, and my heartbeat was restored. I was rushed to the hospital where I was placed in an induced coma, and therapeutic hypothermia was used in order to prevent further physical damage. I was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - an unexpected and unforeseen ailment. An ICD was implanted beneath my left clavicle, and I began rehabilitation.
Due to the depleted oxygen supply to my brain during my arrest, I suffered anoxic brain damage. I had to re-learn how to see, walk, read, add, subtract ... you name it. After six weeks, I was slowly walked out of the rehabilitation center.
I returned to school the following year in order to complete my final semester. I am limited in my physical activity and notice a few cognitive frustrations but, I admit, I do hold pretty high standards for myself. I am so blessed and grateful to be a member of the “survivor” clan.
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