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I Almost Died and Missed the Blog Party

You know blogging is a big part of your life when you are lying in the back of an ambulance with chest pains thinking “Oh man, I’m going to miss the blog party.”

Don’t get me wrong, this was not my primary concern, but the Ultimate Blog Party did cross my mind, quickly followed with the thought, “You’re thinking of blogging at a time like this?!”

Well, I am now home from the hospital and have much to share with you. Read and learn, then go join the blog party for lots of fun and prizes!

Women and Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. American women are 4 to 6 times more likely to die of heart disease than of breast cancer. It is also a leading cause of disability.

Each year the age for heart disease gets younger, therefore women of all ages should be concerned about heart disease. You need to be aware, even if you are in your 20s or 30s, and more so if you are older.

Full-quiver moms need to be especially aware because we usually have children in our late 30s and 40s and need to be healthy to care for them.

Heart Attack Warning Symptoms

Not all heart attacks begin with sudden, crushing pain, as shown on TV or in the movies. Many heart attacks start slowly as mild pain or discomfort. The discomfort can be mild or severe, and it may come and go.

Most heart attacks involve a feeling like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. Pain may radiate to other areas of the upper body including one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, light-headedness, or breaking out in a cold sweat.

Please Learn From My Mistakes

In July I had open-heart surgery at age 51. They put two bypass graphs in my heart. You can read about it here.

In the fall I began feeling some of the symptoms I felt before the surgery. I assumed it was stress due to our move from VA to TN and some family issues, or anemia or pre-menopause symptoms. I did not think it was my heart again.

Insurance Circus

Lesson #1: Don’t assume your insurance coverage is nationwide. Check your insurance coverage before moving out of state.

For months we have been caught up in an insurance red tape nightmare trying to switch coverage from VA to TN.

I had a few “walking in the flesh” moments dealing with our insurance company. Imagine telling your insurance company you are having chest pains and the response is “I’m sorry, you are not covered in the state of TN.” Our move caused us a three-month delay in critical treatment.

Emergency Room Merry-Go-Round

Lesson #2: A normal EKG does not mean you have a clean bill of health!. Tests show a 6% death result in patients with normal EKGs.

Having chest pains after heart surgery is like being nine months pregnant with false labor pains–very, very frustrating and embarrassing.

I went to the ER twice in the last 6 months for chest pains only to be sent home because the EKG results were normal.

More Warning Signs

Lesson #3: Fatigue can be a revealing symptom, more significant than any medical test.

In November, I began feeling significant fatigue which grew steadily worse. I attributed the fatigue to anemia (I had 3 transfusions in July which had worn off) or menopause symptoms. I was wrong.

My symptoms included: shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, palpitations and an occasional tight feeling in my back that radiated to my chest. A few nights I had really bad jaw pain that I assumed was a toothache. Even though my teeth didn’t hurt, the pain mimicked an abscessed tooth.

My fatigue got so bad that I began making all my meals in a crock-pot. I had to make dinner in the morning because I was too tired to do anything in the afternoon.

Those who read my blog may have noticed me blogging more in recent months–only because it was easier to write from bed than get up and do anything else.

By last Wednesday evening I was too tired to get out of bed to go to church. I knew something was very wrong.

Recent Tests and Hospitalization

Lesson #4: Always pray over doctors and medical procedures. Acknowledge God in all your ways and He will direct your paths.

I learned last year that your choice in doctors can be a matter of life and death. I prayed for a wise and listening doctor while awaiting insurance coverage. God answered these prayers.

Last Monday was my first TN cardiologist appointment. He scheduled several tests. Thursday I had a nuclear stress test and echo cardiogram.

During the nuclear stress test I began having palpitations (throwing PVCs) after the tests. I experienced significant pain in my upper back throughout the evening. My husband and I discussed going to the hospital. I cried over the frustration. We decided to wait it out–because we had not learned Lessons 2 and 3 above!

In the morning the pain worsened and I became nauseous. Hubby had gone to work. I drove myself to the hospital with my children–a dangerous decision that could have been disastrous.

Cardiac Catheterization and Stents

The ER doctor felt I needed a cardiac catheterization and sent me by ambulance to the Vanderbilt hospital in Nashville. I was apprehensive as my cardiac cath in July resulted in open-heart surgery.

The cardiac cath procedure involves an incision into the upper thigh to run a camera and injection of dye into the vessels of the heart to see how the blood flows and to determine if there are any blockages.

Patients remain awake during the procedure. They give you some kind of concoction so you don’t feel pain which makes you very groggy.

The procedure quickly revealed one of the two grafts I received in July had collapsed. My left main artery was still significantly blocked and the reason for my symptoms.

During the procedure the surgeon told me about the collapsed vein. I felt vindicated! I was elated because something was found wrong that could be easily fixed. Since one of the graphs was functioning they were able to place two stents in the left main artery (instead of another bypass) to increase the flow.

A Rude Awakening

I mentioned to the surgeon I almost didn’t come to the hospital. The surgeon’s assistant walked around the surgeon to the head of the table, leaned into my face and emphatically said,“Do you understand this is your left main artery? If you didn’t come in you would be dead within the week.” It was as if he knocked the groggy medicine right out of me. I was immediately sober.

(A blocked left main artery is dangerous because it feeds other arteries).

Night and Day Difference

Praise God, I feel energy I have not felt in months! I am elated!! I’ve been home for one day and feel 100 % better. Last time I felt this well I had to undergo open-heart surgery and months of recovery. This time it only took a few hours.

Last night I caught up all my laundry and today I am holding myself back from spring cleaning ( I’m suppose to take it easy for a few weeks.)

I believe an object lesson on blood flow and the flow of God’s Spirit is in order. I’ll be posting it soon.

Please Continue to Pray

Right before I left the hospital, the EKG noted continued bigeminy (more PVCs) so the doctor increased the blood pressure medication prescription. I was reluctant to take any blood pressure medication because I have low blood pressure and have never been on this type medication.

I am not happy about being on all these strong heart medications with possible serious side effects. I will continue to research alternative medications. I’d appreciate your prayers for wisdom.

Biblical Diet Book

Heart disease begins in childhood–from what we eat. I’ve been working on a book on the biblical diet — a unit study with Hope Eagan, author of Holy Cow: Does God Care What We Eat? I believe the things I’m learning may be helpful to the new book (not due for many months).

Thank you so much for your prayers and kind words of encouragement. Thank you, Kathleen, for keeping everyone posted.

Thank you, God, for your beautiful mercy and grace.

We planned on taking photos of our children, horses, and dogs in party hats for the Blog Party but instead you got my heart story.


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  1. Robin,
    I am so happy for you and very relieved! Just hearing you say that you’ve caught up on laundry makes me smile. Prayers have been answered!
    Now slow down just a little for a few days Girl.

    Darnelle’s last blog post..It’s that time again

  2. Aw, man, we were really worried about you and I come here for an update to find… you’re thinking about missing the blog-party! LOL I’d probably have been thinking that too. I actually think when Caleb was in the ER I was thinking “man something good for my blog!”. Haha

    I am so glad to see you updating your own blog. Truly we were worried, and think dearly of you! May the Lord bless you!

    Love you

    Miss Jocelyn’s last blog post..Finding Mr. Right

  3. I saw the post in the Homeschool Lounge about your trip via ambulance to Nashville. I am so glad to hear that you are doing better!

    Those facts on heart disease are pretty sobering. A good reminder for us all to do what we can to stay healthy and well.

    Glad you are well enough to party…I’m going to need to set a timer before I fritter away the whole day playing! 😉

  4. So happy you made it to the party. I hope you continue to get stronger and that God gives you the wisdom you are asking for.


    Toni’s last blog post..Manic Monday – Can

  5. Out of your misery comes wisdom for the rest of us. We’re thankful you’ve made it to the party! Take good care!

    What a great opportunity to make some new bloggy friends!

    Peek in on us at GraceFULL days~ we love new faces & comments. Bloggy thanks in advance for voting for my GraceFULL moment at Vicks Caring Tributes: http://videos.vickscaringtributes.com/videos/index.html

    Grace to you~

    Carmen’s last blog post..Party On!

  6. Robin,

    I am so glad that you are okay. We prayed and prayed for you. I am thrilled that you have energy and most importantly a positive perspective. You are awesome and I love ya! I’m happy that you are home!

    Amy B

    Amy Bayliss’s last blog post..Our Road Trip and Road Side Assistance

  7. Praise the Lord! It is great news and we are so glad you are home!

    I am really looking forward to that diet book/unit study when it is ready!

    Love in Christ

    Rachel’s last blog post..Happy Monday!

  8. Praise God you are home and feeling better! You have been on my mind so much!

    Rejoycing with you! Lisa

  9. Oh my goodness, Robin! So so relieved that you are okay, and most importantly, you made it home to be able to blog! 🙂 (teehee . . . only joking) Thank you for the very informing information you gave us. So so enlightening. Heart problems run in my family big time. My mom’s father died at the age of 30 of a heart attack and my father’s mother died of heart problems as well. She had open heart surgery in 1983 with 7 by passes. She lived 13 years. I miss her so much and wish I would have been able to meet my grandfather. My best to you. Be safe, be well and I will definitely pray for you!

    Val’s last blog post..It’s time to . . . PARTY ON!

  10. crystal

    Robin, I am so glad to hear you are doing better. Many prayers for your continued recovery and thank you for reminding us all that heart disease can hit at any age. hugs and prayers

  11. I am so glad that you are okay. How scary that is. Our Pastor keeps dealing with heart issues after having open heart surgery last October. It can wear on ones emotions after awhile. He is one of those who had a clear EKG also.
    Again, I thank God that you are okay and are feeling so much better.

    Jennifer Hill’s last blog post..How is it going you ask?

  12. Robin,

    Praise the Lord that He is not ready for you to go Home. I am glad that you are doing well. I will be praying for you and your family.

    Lots of hugs,

    Speaking from the Heart’s last blog post..5 Pennies

  13. Thanking the Father and glad you’re back! I’m sure if that kind of thing ever happened to me I’d be thinking about blogging too…:-0 I understand!

    I’ll continue to pray for you and look forward to reading your blog daily!
    Blessings and a nice big hug!

    Sheila’s last blog post..Partying and Giveaways!

  14. Robin,, I have tears in my eyes as I write this…so much of this hits close to home.

    I’ve been praying for you and appreciate the updates. I can’t believe how soon you’re blogging. Take it easy! No, no, no, spring cleaning yet… Give your body ample time to heal. Love, Leinani

    p.s. That is a FUNNY pic on top!!!

    Pure and Sensible’s last blog post..My First Blogversary ***Sticky Post***

  15. That’s right girlfriend. You can’t die and miss the party.
    I am so happy to hear that your home and getting it all taken care of. Thanks to God for not needing you with him. We are trying to start implementing good things in our diet. Hubby and I both need to lose weight and the boys need to learn to eat healthier. Thanks for caring enough to share this with us. Thanks for not leaving me at my first party. You are truly a blessing.

  16. Tara in VA

    So glad you followed the Spirits leading and got to the doc when you did! I can only guess what that car ride to the hospital was like with the kids. You must have been “on a mission”. I can’t imagine the gymnastics your mind must have been doing — I’m glad the stress of it did not put you under (literally)! Praising God like so many others that you are alright. I know He has ordered your steps, but (selfishly) I really like having you earthbound!

  17. Wow. As a nurse I am flabbergasted by all you’ve been through recently, especially these past few days. I’m so glad that they found the blockage in time to fix it. And that you are feeling better. And that you are ready to PARTY!! 😀

    Linda’s last blog post..Monday Musings

  18. Robin, I am so glad to hear you are doing well. I noticed you were missing from the Homeschool Lounge, but I didn’t think to check your blog. 😳 Don’t worry. I have now subscribed to your RSS feed using some of the wonderful lessons you have taught! I am glad you are doing well and will pray for your continued health and the situation with your meds.


  19. Robin I am so glad that you are feeling better and doing so well!!! I did have to laugh a bit when you said you were thinking about blogging in the ambulance! 😆
    I have been praying for you, had everyone at church pray for you last night as well! I will pray for quick continued healing!

  20. Thank you so much for the post. I’m praying and was thinking of you the whole time you were gone. I guess that means I’m pretty blog-addicted, too! My blog buddies are REAL buddies. 😉

    I “heart” you!

    sprittibee’s last blog post..Death by Blogging… etc.

  21. Thank you for the update! I have been praying, and will continue to pray for you and your family.

    Christine’s last blog post..Blizzard and a Magazine to read!

  22. ~Cheryl~ from HS Lounge

    Robin, what a scary ordeal! Praises to God for saving your life!

    I come from a family with lots of heart problems. We have stents in quite a few family members now. My husband has a-fib issues. Thank you for posting all of the warning sings and lessons that you’ve learned. I’m sure this post will save some lives.

    I look forward to the new book! I’ll keep you in my prayers!


  23. PRAISING GOD you are out of the hospital and on the way to healing!!!
    And you have your sense of humor!!
    HOW in the world do we get so involved in blogging??
    I mean, we have to update and let all of our friends know everything, voice our opinions and announcements about everything… How in the world did we survive before all of this????
    On the other hand, I LOVE all of my online blog friends!! God has blessed me through it – our entire family, and it has been one of the biggest, most positive influences in our lives….

    Totally cracking up and relating to your wondering about blogging in the midst of crisis.

    And, thanks for all the information. Very valuable. We do need to take care of our bodies.
    Love you Sister!!!
    Love, J

  24. YES!!! YOU are home….Praise God…we NEED you!!:)
    I’d do the SAME thing…think of the blogging I’d miss….
    You know Robin, the info was so wonderful too..in the midst of your own crisis you are thinking of us….helping us..what an EXCELLENT disciple you are!
    hugs to you! still praying!


  25. Shalom Dear Robin.

    I’m praising Yahweh that He has seen you safely through this crisis. I am so glad you are feeling
    tremendously better already. Please DO take it easy
    as long as you’re supposed to!

    I do understand about being hit with spring cleaning fever. I’ve been on the couch with
    morning sickness for the past 5 weeks and am just
    beginning to be able to be up as much as down during the day and I can’t wait to rip into the spring cleaning. But I will bide my time until I can clean AND have the energy left to interact with the children.
    ((((((Hugs))))))) and Blessings and Healing

  26. I am so glad that God preserved your life, especially for the sake of your little ones. Take it easy and stay well!

    Michelle’s last blog post..A Home Educator’s Prayer

  27. Robin we are so glad you are home and that God decided to leave you here on earth for a little longer! You are right, prevention is the best way through diet and excercise and the best diet is in God’s Word! Have you read “What the Bible says About Healthy Living” by Rex Russell? Great book!

    How funny of thinking about blogging in the back of the ambulance!

    Kay in PA’s last blog post..Homemade Birthday Candles

  28. Deanne

    Praise the LORD, Robin..I praise Him that you are feeling better and that it wasn’t as serious as last year…I also greatly appreciate the health tips you have shared..as Moms it is so easy for us to ignore our health symptoms and not take care of ourselves properly…and I appreciate you taking the seriousness of your health to share with all us moms the priority our OWN health should be. God Bless you Robin…you remain in my thoughts and prayers.
    Love Deanne

    Deanne’s last blog post..In Defense of Homeschooling

  29. God is sooooooo Good! I am so thankful you are feeling so much better already! I have been thinking about the book Holy Cow lately, and considering purchasing it. My son, at the age of 10, is already dealing with weight issues and I am concerned about him. I am excited about the new book and unit study! Keep us updated.


    Stacy’s last blog post..Bloggy Giveaways!

  30. Jennifer in TX

    So glad Abba was watching over you! My mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. This has caused a lot of research on our part. Check out this website: http://www.knowthecause.com. Doug Kaufman has some great information.


  31. Oh Robin,
    Praise God for His merciful hand.I am soooo glad you are okay.Lesson #5 Remember to REST for the two weeks after this proceedure!

  32. Hello Mrs. Sampson-
    I was thrilled to have gotten a comment from you! Thank you for coming by!

    Thank you for your suggestions! I will surely look into the books!

    Thank you for coming by! May the Hand of the Lord be always over you! And I am praying for you. 🙂

  33. I’m so glad that you went in when you did! Praise God that you did well and are feeling so much better now!

    God bless you,

  34. Thank you Jehovah Rapha that you were & are Robins healer! I am so glad that the Lord was & is working it all out on your behalf. I was thinking about you and what you were going through, I too almost died and Jesus rescued me from the hands of the enemy and restored me back to health. I still have some work that is being done but I just Thank the Lord everyday that I am alive to spend some more time with my family. I have seen the faithfulness,love and generous care of the Lord in these days of my life. I keep mounting up more and more experiences where I can store up stories of His trustworhtiness, so I can always look back and see that in every situation He was in control and the He works in my life according to His purpose. If only I would learn to trust Him completely at the beginning of the circumstances instead of at the end! Please take it easy as that is what is best for now. All the house work will be there when you are better. LOL! I will continue to pray for total healing and restoration!
    You can read my MIRACLE story here http://www.ourchurch.com/member/n/nursery-miracle/


  35. Terri Layne

    I am so moved by this report. Praise God that you took action when you did! Obviously, at that moment, God gave you a “heart of wisdom!”

    Hold back, take care of yourself, take a lot of fish oil :-), and get thee to cardiac rehab!
    blessings beyond all measure,
    Terri Layne

  36. Let me say wow! I am so glad to hear that you are doing well, but I’m sure that you would have prefered taking pictures of the animals in party has instead of blogging about your heart.

    I have been reading your blog for a few weeks and really enjoy it. I’m sorry, but I tent to be a lurker. I need to get over that.

    Anyway, happy partying and do take it easy for a few weeks. I know how hard that can be with the Spring weather coming.


    Nicol’s last blog post..What’s Cookin’

  37. Regina

    I’m so glad you are feeling better Mom. I was worried about you.

    I love you!!!


  38. Wow, Robin! I’m so glad you are well enough to sort socks! And thanks for sharing the wake up call for us all.


  39. Hi Robin,

    I am so glad to hear you are better. I have prayed for you. I noticed your reference to the book “Holy Cow: Does God Care What We Eat?” I am reading a book that seems to say the samething. It’s called “The Maker’s Diet” by Jordan Rubin.

    Do your best to stay healthy. I am sure there are many who like to see you around for a long time.

    May God’s best be yours…which includes health.

  40. Bobbie

    Oh sweet Robyn
    I did not know and I am so thankful the Lord protected you, and you are home and heling. Praise the Lord. I also felt the same way about the blog party. I thought I would be home this week and wonud up needed to go to my sister’s a week early. I did post a fw things, and tried to get around to as many sites as i could.

    However today is my first available keyboard time and YOURS was the first one I read.

    Praying for you even now. It is so easy to assume heart palpitations and menopause. So glad you went in. ((hugs))
    Because of Jesus, Bobbie

  41. Oh Mrs. Sampson,
    I am so glad to hear you are back home alive and kicking! well not literally, but you get what I mean. 😉
    I was praying so hard for you! Thank God He is our healer!
    Thank you for coming by! Pressing On is so beautiful and the lyrics are wonderful!
    I would like to read The Pianist book too. What an amazing story!
    Once again, I am glad to hear you are on your way to recovery!
    Have a great day!!
    Love, Prayers, and Blessings,
    Miss Amanda

    Miss Amanda’s last blog post..Exhausting Excitement!

  42. Sorry that you didn’t get to have the party post that you planned. Hope you’re doing ok.
    Come check out my party post @ http://www.wanibug.blogspot.com! I just love meeting new bloggin’ friends!

    Wani’s last blog post..Lady in Weighting

  43. Wow, Robin…you’ve been through a lot. 😮
    Although, in a sense, it’s a perfect time to party, for it’s a celebration to show you’re still alive (and kickin’ – LOL). 😎
    How awesome that you are doing better now, so you can be a true inspiration for us all! It’s been nice to cybermeet you, and I hope you continue doing well in the years to come. Happy UBP!

    The Pear Lady’s last blog post..Hungry like a tired wolf

  44. Praise God that you’re better! Thank you for sharing all the lessons you’ve learned. They’re so important.

    I had to laugh that you were thinking about the blog party! I’d probably have done the same thing. 😆

    God bless!
    Dianne – Bunny Trails

    Dianne’s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – Date Light

  45. Robin, I am so happy you are back home and trying to put off your spring cleaning at least!

    I was reading a post over at Amy’s today and I blinked or something while reading and thought I read that you died. I was like “What?!? When did I miss that email?!” I’m so glad you are alive and well!!

    Take care of yourself and be a well behaved patient…

    Be blessed,

  46. My mother had a heart attack in December, and triple bypass the next day. Since then, I have been concerned about my own health as a youngish mom of 6 kids with a weight problem. I am attempting to change our diet (VERY difficult to do on a limited income), and have also had some episodes that have concerned me…as recently as last night. I believe I will go call now to make an appointment to talk to the doctor about what is going on. Thank you for posting this about your experiences!

    Laura’s last blog post..The dust trail…

  47. I haven’t been here in a week, and this is what I find! – Robin, I’m so glad you went.

    And I’m even more glad you’re doing that unit study with Hope Eagan. YOU MUST FINISH IT! I was reading Julie’s blog post about nutrition in pregnancy http://www.oldpathsfamilyfarm.net/blog/2008/03/13/nutrition-during-pregnancy/ we should all eat like this. I’m working on it. I’ve got my hypertension under control this pregnancy – all with vitamins and minerals and garlic and fish oil etc. – NO MEDICINE! Today I made bread with Kamut – half Kamut, half wheat.. but I’m working on reducing wheat.
    Robin, May God continue to protect you – for while you have 10 children – you have so many more young women whom you mentor.. and I STILL NEED YOU!

  48. Prayers being said.

    Still hopping from blog to blog. My goal is to post at each blog at least once. Nice to meet you. Happy blogging!

    Storm’s last blog post..100 Things – My 100th Post

  49. Hello, I’d like to let you know I featured this article in this week’s Homesteading Carnival. It’s up and I hope you’ll stop by and check it out!

    Please announce it on your blog!

    Thank you!

  50. I shared this lesson on stents with my kids. We’re doing a heart lapbook right now, so this fit in perfectly. I’ve known SO many people who have had stent put in their heart. Now I understand a little more about what they had done.
    Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad you have so much energy and are feeling so much better so quickly. Praise the Lord! Isn’t it amazing what He has given man the ability to do medically? 🙂


    Penney Douglas’s last blog post..St. Patrick’s Day Pictures

  51. Dear Robin, 17 months ago I had 3 stents put in my heart. My main and another 2 arteries were 90% blocked. I almost didn’t mention my chest pains to the doctor as I thought it was indigestion. If I hadn’t felt a prompting (which I now believe must have been the LORD), I would be dead by now. It is true that heart attacks aren’t always felt like portrayed in the movies. I am glad you are feeling better. 🙂


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