Three years ago today I experienced the scariest, most traumatic event of my life: I had a heart attack at just 32 years old.

Nikki by example |

I had just returned to work from a brief maternity leave and was looking forward to a long weekend of baby snuggles and a nice family picnic. However, instead of spending that time on a blanket in the warm sunshine with my boys, I spent it in a cold hospital room in the cardiac ICU recovering from a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). Because I didn’t get that picnic three summers ago, I decided to make it a tradition, a picnic every year around May 27 to celebrate each year of survivorship. Of course this year we’ve skipped the picnic due to a lot of factors like the constant dreary weather, the pandemic, and being in the middle of packing everything up for a move.

But I’m still in very good physical health and my mental health has improved tremendously, though I still occasionally deal with some PTSD stuff. But I get to watch Sebastian sing songs and learn new things and run around, and I’m extremely thankful that I was so lucky, that I’m still here to watch him grow. I’ve always felt that all the little things count so much, but now I know just how much.

In this third year:

–I signed up for and started training for the inaugural 5K SCADaddle© for Research to run 3.2 miles and raise money for more important SCAD research. The race was originally supposed to be held in April but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, so my training has also been postponed but I’ll get back into it soon!

–I continue to be active in several online support groups, including a SCAD Survivors NC Facebook group where I can connect with and support survivors who truly understand what I’ve been going through these last three years because they’ve experienced it, as well.

–I’m still eating better. My diet has never been horrible but we now make it a habit to cook at home more and to ensure we’re eating fresh fruits and veggies.

All in all, I’m doing very well. And I’m *still* looking forward to a long lifetime full of sunny, warm picnics!