What Becomes of a Broken Heart?

What Becomes of a Broken Heart?




When I had a stroke I often wondered if others would understand more clearly what the aftermath of a silent killer was like if stroke or heart attack survivors had a visible affliction like a broken leg.  I have been the recipient of both a stroke and a heart attack, and through nothing but sheer luck, their powerful silence did not kill me.

Strokes and heart attacks don’t run in my family–cancer does–and for the last 20 years I have been the last family member standing. It wasn’t the load that broke down this time–it was how I carried it. Inner stress runs through my veins every single day, and I was born a worrier, come from a lineage of worriers, and will sadly leave a legacy of more worriers. I was raised to believe that it’s our family’s duty to worry about everyone else and I proudly carry on the tradition. Each day I try to make a difference, but am in no way an overachiever or I would have been one of the folks putting in my artery stents Wednesday night.

I think most of us know what heart attack symptoms are backwards and forwards, but I mistook the first signs Sunday night as indigestion. I knew what was happening wasn’t normal, and  I had a good idea of what was going on- but I was too busy drowning in the river of denial to see what was hitting me in the face–or to my heart. That’s right, I sat there trying to concentrate on the The Hand Maiden’s Tale ignoring the first heart attack. Yes, the first heart attack.

Wednesday night the pain in my chest, the nausea, and the shortness of breath returned again with a vengeance, and this time it did not go away. Again I balked going to the hospital for the sole reason that my British family raised me to ” have a stiff upper lip, chin up and never be a bother”. Seeing I don’t recall any of them ever experiencing heart attacks I sensed that none of then had ever felt jolts of electricity hitting them on the 4 block ride to the Carleton Place Hospital when they were trying to instill those family values in me.

About 7 minutes later I heard the words “cardio” and “call the ambulance” as my local hospital did everything they could to get me out of pain and rushed off to the Ottawa Heart Institute. This isn’t the first time that the Carleton Place Hospital has gone above and beyond for my family and I wish I could do more than just say “thank you”.

It wasn’t an easy ride for me in that ambulance as memories began flooding through my mind. Three years ago I had made the same journey, only to the Ottawa General Hospital with my late husband and they had asked him the same departure question as they asked me Wednesday night. In the space of 15 seconds you have to answer if you want to be resuscitated if something terminal happens, and let’s face it, even Google can’t answer that question. Steve knew exactly what answer he was going to hear– but it still hit him like a ton of bricks. Do not resuscitate!

In what seemed no time I was ushered into a cold looking room at the Ottawa Heart Institute that reminded me of an examining room from an alien B movie. Suddenly the whole space became a movie theatre with black and white shadowy images of my veins as the feature of the hour. I lay there and shook my head. I knew how I got there, but how do you shake the emotional sticky monkeys off your back. In what seemed no time, but I knew it wasn’t– I felt a rush of warmth fill my body from head to toe and knew that my veins were now flowing again. Trying to make light of a bad situation I silently wondered if this is how Vampires feel after a “satisfying bite”.

I’m honest, my health stats are not the best, but I was told if I don’t get rid of the stress it is going to end up killing me. I know a lot of of the load I carry is not mine to carry and I need to stop worrying about what I can’t control. But, that’s easier said than done, and I have to sit down and realize I can do anything, BUT not everything.

At 5:48 the next morning my machine began to beep from a small panic attack and I’m sure imaginary quotation marks were quickly rising from my body. A nurse popped her head in, looked at me and said in a thick Jamaican accent,

“Linda, let it go!”

With that she sat down beside me and reasoned that my greatest weapon is to be able to choose my own thoughts, and it’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.

Now I know I’ve got to find 
Some kind of peace of mind

I’ll be searching everywhere

Thank you to the Carleton Place Hospital and the Ottawa Heart Institute for their amazing care and letting me be here a little while longer. Please donate!



Common heart attack signs and symptoms include:
  • Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back.
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Cold sweat.
  • Fatigue.
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness.





And Suddenly I Became Sad for NO Reason at All….

Survivor’s Guilt —Set Adrift on a Memory Bliss

Don’t Cry for Me Argentina– Heart Disease, Anger and Gnomes

I Had a Stroke – I Didn’t Break My Leg!


unnamed (1)

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

24 responses »

  1. Thanks for all the info, Linda. With any luck some will remain stuck in my brain. As with any health problem, I think it is easier if there is a cast, also when it is fixed it is fixed. Take care, & munch on the beauty in your memory pictures


  2. Wow! I’m so glad you finally went in. After I tried to resuscitate my brother, I found his paperwork asking not to be. Death is devastating, so take care of yourself! Start meditating every day. It works!


  3. I’m so grateful this morning. Grateful for a quick ambulance. Grateful for your good medical team. Grateful for your body’s healing. Grateful to that nurse for sitting with you and giving good advice. Grateful I’ve known you if only virtually these years. Prayers sent your way for continued healing. ❤️💕

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well said Linda! I sometimes think my stress is going to take over me too. So glad that you had such awesome care and wish you a speedy recovery 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Handmaid’s Tale is an awesome show, and I get stressed watching it..holding my breath!
    Thank you for sharing your experiences, and advice throughout your recovery. Stress IS a silent killer, and I wish more people could understand us. My mantra, when I remember is:

    Is this going to matter in a minute?
    Is this going to matter in an hour?
    Is this going to matter in a day from now?
    ” Week”
    “. Month”
    “. Year”
    Is this going to matter in my Lifetime?

    Good Luck, thinking of you
    Easier said than done, “Don’t worry, be happy(song)”. Been practicing, but my thoughts control my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was thinking of you this morning when I came into to work Linda. Actually I was just about to send you a personal message when I saw this. Well said Linda!! Someone we both know occasionally causes me periods of stress which I let go of almost immediately. So far so good. You are an inspiration Linda! Thanks for letting know how everything went and so glad that you are on the mend. lots of love, your friend, Jim and Ron xoxoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my Linda. Quite the story. Know how u feel because CP Hospital was a second home for my stepdad Steve who passed away there in 2002. Followed by my Mom Bernice in 2011. Then the biggie my hubby Ian in 2015. The Civic & Heart Institute for Ian were regular 2nd homes.

    The ambulance rides all familiar.

    Yesterday I had a weak spell followed by severe indigestion & nausea after eating a sandwich. Wonder if anything to worry about. Fine today.

    Wishing u a speedy recovery Linda. You are young yet with lots of bucket lists I’m sure.

    Love & hugs

    Bonnie xo

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s