France and her husband Serge were thrilled with their future, until they were faced with the terrifying reality that France might not have. Just a week after the birth of their baby, Brielle, in January, their lives would change. France started to feel bad, which she attributed to gas, or perhaps food poisoning.
“It was like intense pressure and it was burning. My husband grabbed some ice packs and I held them to my chest and in less than five minutes it was over, ”France said.
The symptoms would however alleviate recurrent pain, more intense, often returned. On one occasion, while Brielle was breastfeeding, the pain became unbearable.
“I got to the point where my arms went numb. I looked at my husband and said grab the baby, I’m going to drop her, ”France said.
“It was the worst pain I have experienced in my life.”
“The look of fear entered her. She said ‘Serge, I can’t feel my arms’ and I remember looking at her. From the waist up, it was like it had been rolled with red paint from the bottom up, ”Contant’s husband said.
France was rushed by ambulance to the emergency department in Timmins, then to Sudbury hospital, where at 29, doctors were delivering staggering news.
“I had had a massive heart attack,” France said.
France has been diagnosed with SCAD, or spontaneous coronary artery dissection. A sudden tear in an arterial wall in her heart resulted in a blockage.
“There is a flap forming inside the artery that can completely block the artery, which caused the heart attack. It was a massive heart attack and the damage was so extensive that half of my heart went dizzy and formed a blood clot in the heart chamber. ”
The causes of SCAD are largely unknown. The condition primarily affects women between the ages of 30 and 60. It accounts for about 25% of all heart attacks in women under the age of 60. Pregnant and postpartum women can be at risk. SCAD can lead to heart attack, cardiac arrest, and even death.
France said that while most patients with SCAD recovered naturally, she was airlifted to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, first for observation and then for surgery. However, before her operation, she experienced another setback.
“Three and a half weeks after my first heart attack, I had a second heart attack. Luckily, I was in the hospital when the second heart attack happened because I’m pretty convinced that if I was home when it happened, I definitely wouldn’t. I can’t be here today, ”she said.
Six-hour double-bypass surgery at the Heart Institute would solve the problem of SCAD in France. However, being away from home and family for more than six weeks caused a different kind of grief. France would spend its 30 years in hospital.
“I missed a lot of things while I was in the hospital. I missed our son’s school enrollment, I missed our daughter’s fifth birthday, for me these are milestones in their life but I knew if I didn’t get better I would wouldn’t. You can’t be there to see anything else anyway, ”France said.
“So I said you know what you have to do in France to get through this, to be strong for your children because they only have one mother,” she said, tears in her eyes.
Once home, medics asked France not to lift anything, including baby Brielle, for 12 weeks. When that time was up, however, she cherished the moment, lifting the baby off a bed and kissing him softly on the cheek.
” What does it do? »Asks her husband Serge, recording the moment on his phone.
“Good,” replies France, water gushing in her eyes.
“It was a momentous moment for us,” she said with a smile.
From her home in Timmins during the COVID-19 lockdown in March, France participated remotely in the cardiac rehabilitation program at the Ottawa Heart Institute.
“My recovery went smoothly,” she said.
France also joined participants from across Canada in the September “Jump In” initiative, a fitness challenge raising funds for women, just like France. All donations are matched by corporate donors until October 7. You can donate to JUMPINNOW.CA
France Contant is grateful for her heart health and her future; a gift to his family of rescuers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
“I’m really grateful to be 30 years old and have a long life ahead of me. I will be there for weddings, graduates and grandchildren. Yes, I am grateful to be there. “