A tragedy- 4/6/2011

Hi All,

Wow, it's been an insane few days. First, I have some terrible news. Yesterday afternoon, our next door neighbor was brutally attacked in her home and is not expected to survive. It looks like it was a domestic violence situation, and not a random attack. They haven't caught the person who did it yet, but we are hoping they will soon.

So this awful event lead to my crazy situation. I got home yesterday about 4:15pm and as I was driving up, I saw flashing lights right by our house. I thought "Ha! They caught that rotten burglar that's been hanging around". But as I got closer I saw there were about 15 police cars by my house and our street was roped off with police tape. And I start to freak out. A cop told me to find a place to park and come talk to him.

I had to park about a block and a half away (including going halfway up our wildly steep hill). I made it halfway up the hill, going really slow so my heart would be ok. It was beating a little fast, but nothing unusual. The detective came over to talk to me, and as I explained how I knew Pegi and what I knew about her, my heart started to hurt a bit. The more details I found out from the police, the worse my heart felt. They told me her head and body were beaten, and she crawled outside her house to scream for help, and rolled down our very steep hill, probably causing more damage. Strangely, she was in her underwear, and her gas stove was on full blast, but there was no flame. After hearing all this, I sat down to let my heart chill out a bit, but the pain didn't get better.

An officer called an ambulance for me and it arrived not a moment too soon. The worst chest pain I've ever had I would rank as a 3 on a scale on 1-10. Yesterday's pain was a 9. It was excruciating. I felt a terrible pressure in the middle of my chest, my left shoulder blade felt like it was stabbing my chest, and my neck and jaw were killing me. The medic's were super kind and calming, but my anxiety level was through the roof.

I got 4 doses of morphine and 2 nitroglycerin before it started to take the edge off at all, at about 11pm. I was surprised the pain kept going on for that long. The whole time I was sure it was a panic attack and not a heart attack.

So the ER docs did a lot of tests, and found that my heart started to release enzymes that are produced when heart muscle dies (that's what happens in a heart attack). So I did, in fact, have a heart attack. I can't really get my head around that. It seems pretty unreal. It was a small attack, but they are all serious, no matter how big or small.

The docs don't think the attack was caused by any artery blockage, because I've never had any on the tests they've done. It was more likely triggered by the stress of the situation. That makes complete sense to me. Even today, if I think too much about what happened to her, my heart starts hurting and I can't breathe all that well.

So I've been here at UWMC for observation and I should be able to go home tomorrow. I will have several big tests next week, as the docs try to figure out why my heart responded to this situation with a heart attack. They did do an ultrasound of my heart, and my ejection fraction is 35, exactly what is was back in November. So it's great that that number didn't take a huge dive with this.

I do want to figure out what this means for the future, if anything. Does this mean I'm at risk for more heart attacks? Would they be bigger/more dangerous? Does this put me closer to, further from or make no difference regarding a transplant? All questions I hope to be able to answer soon.

As always, thank you all for your kind words, love and prayers. You all are too good to me- that's the truth.
I love you all!


  1. Wow! I will be praying for you and your neighbor! I am sorry to hear about her. I am really sorry to hear about you.

  2. Whoa. Jana - I am thinking of you and your neighbor (and Nick!) right now. Let us know how all of you are doing! We miss you!

  3. Hi Jana. We haven't met but I work with Nick at Expedia and wanted to just post and say I'm sending you healing thoughts and prayers. I hope you get to head home sooner rather than later and also hope that we can meet some time in the not too distant future. Take care and heal quickly.

  4. Hi Jana,
    I am a long time F/A friend of Gay's and have felt like I know you from reading this blog. I am praying for your quick recovery and for your neighbor. Gay kept me up to date on what happened to you. It must have been awful for you. One of these days I hope we meet. Just found out today about Nick's new job. I am so happy for him. Take care of yourself.