I had congestive coronary heart failure and did not discover the signs

  • Shannon Hennig is a small enterprise proprietor and well being and wellness advertising knowledgeable.
  • Over the summer time, she started experiencing severe fatigue, stiffness in her toes and legs, and chest ache and issue respiration. She examined unfavourable for COVID-19, and was turned away on the ER after being instructed she had a chest chilly.
  • In September, the 34-year-old was hospitalized for six days and given a prognosis of congenital coronary heart failure, a situation that primarily impacts individuals ages 50 and up.
  • Hennig realized that being preoccupied with work, household, and fear over COVID-19, she’d neglected her personal bodily wellness and pushed her signs apart as nothing severe.
  • Now, Hennig is working to enhance her well being, and cautions different working mothers to examine in with themselves extra typically to keep away from making the identical mistake.
  • Go to Enterprise Insider’s homepage for extra tales.

At first of 2020, I used to be a busy 34-year-old entrepreneur and dealing mother, residing with my husband and son in Calgary, Canada. I would spent the final 5 years rising a consulting facet gig right into a thriving full time enterprise, working with practitioners within the well being and wellness industries on their branding and advertising.

I had quite a bit to be pleased with. In my first 12 months bringing in over six figures in income, and I used to be simply on monitor to do the identical in 2020. I had large plans to scale, construct a more practical gross sales funnel and rent a group to help me. 

My purpose was to extend income via constructing a signature program for personal purchasers whereas additionally increasing my outreach to small enterprise homeowners via an internet instructing and training program. I hoped to start working with tons of of recent purchasers.

Sooner or later in early September, I wakened at 4:30 a.m. with a particular gurgle in my chest. 

It sounded and felt just like the form of factor you get while you’re combating a foul chest chilly. 

All summer time lengthy I would been feeling extra run down, and extra drained than ever earlier than. I would had chilly and flu-like signs since July and had gained 12 kilos over the earlier two weeks. My legs and toes have been continually puffy and stiff, and I had a noticeable shortness of breath once I’d climb my stairs. 

I described the extent of fatigue to my husband as nearly being “at a mobile stage”, and no quantity of napping or taking it straightforward appeared to alleviate my exhaustion. 

None of those signs made sense to me as I used to be lively, consuming a nutritious diet and had misplaced 55 kilos over the earlier 12 months. Throughout quarantine resulting from COVID-19, I would prioritized my well being the very best I may and thought I used to be managing nicely.

Learn extra: I am a 3-time CMO and 5-time ironman triathlete, however having a baby is the toughest factor I’ve ever finished

I used to be doing my greatest to navigate the realities of the pandemic and what it meant for my enterprise, together with the problem of my husband and I homeschooling our 6-year-old.

My busy day by day routine started impacting my enterprise in large methods. I not had the time to dedicate to shopper work and was fighting deadlines that below regular circumstances had by no means been an issue. I additionally had no thought the place I used to be going to search out the time to show my son.

In speaking to friends and purchasers, it appeared like everybody was affected by the identical low stage nervousness and exhaustion that I had. It wasn’t as if I used to be alone and distinctive within the bodily and psychological toll of juggling all of the balls, so I pushed my well being to the facet.

My time was being poured into creating the enterprise of my desires, however I did not but understand my lack of work-life steadiness was unsustainable.

Quick ahead to that morning in September, and I knew that I wanted to get assist. I would already been examined for COVID-19 and the outcomes have been unfavourable, regardless of my signs matching these extensively related to the virus. I would even been to the emergency division 10 days earlier complaining of the identical points, together with coughing up small quantities of blood, however was despatched house and instructed that I had a chest chilly.

Within the emergency division, as I watched my blood stress rise to lethal ranges and my skill to breathe change into much less and fewer, I used to be given my prognosis.

The physician instructed me I had pulmonary edema, a situation the place your lungs fill with fluid, and that I used to be in congestive coronary heart failure.

There I used to be. A 34-year-old lady, sitting alone within the emergency division as a result of COVID-19 visiting restrictions would not permit my husband to be with me, being instructed that proper now, proper on this second, my coronary heart was failing and I used to be dying.

What adopted subsequent was a whirlwind of emergency remedy to open my blood vessels, gradual my coronary heart and get oxygen into my physique. An IV stream of heparin, a blood thinner, and nitroglycerin (a drugs that helps loosen up blood vessels and permit blood to stream extra simply to the center) stabilized me earlier than I used to be moved to the cardiac intensive care unit.

I used to be hospitalized for six days, the place I discovered that my coronary heart was pumping at lower than half the quantity that it ought to. Additional diagnostics confirmed that the first trigger was hypertension that had been uncontrolled for too lengthy.

As I got here to phrases with my prognosis, I instantly turned to Google to search out out extra about what I used to be up in opposition to, and I used to be surprised to see that the signs of coronary heart failure mimic a lot of these of COVID-19 together with shortness of breath and issue respiration, fatigue and weak point, and chronic cough and chest ache. I went on to study that congestive coronary heart failure can also trigger fast weight acquire from fluid retention, coughing up blood, and swelling in your legs, ankles, and toes.

Learn extra: Working mothers are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Listed below are Three methods leaders can foster a supportive tradition for working dad and mom, based on a LinkedIn VP

I would had signs of coronary heart failure via the summer time, however I used to be too busy with my enterprise and worrying about COVID-19 to think about the rest. 

After a spherical of exams together with an Echocardiogram and a cardiac MRI I used to be identified with cardiomyopathy, which is a weakening or thickening of the center muscle to the purpose the place it could possibly’t pump blood correctly.

When it isn’t being handled via treatment, stress administration, vitamin, and train, it could possibly progress to superior coronary heart failure. 

In keeping with the Centres for Illness Management (CDC), cardiomyopathy typically goes undiagnosed, however as many as 1 in 500 adults in the US could also be residing with the situation. When it isn’t being handled via treatment, stress administration, vitamin, and train, it could possibly progress to superior coronary heart failure. 

I knew that I needed to utterly reevaluate all elements of my life if I used to be going to maneuver ahead.

Shannon Hennig Before and After Hospital 2020.JPG

Hennig on the day earlier than hospital admission and 6 days later after being discharged. In two weeks after being hospitalized, she misplaced 27 kilos of water and fluid build-up.

Shannon Hennig


The stress of enterprise possession, motherhood, and COVID-19 had pushed me to the verge of utter collapse. I had most of the danger elements for cardiomyopathy however had no concept that this illness may have an effect on somebody my age with such lethal penalties. 

Since my prognosis, I’ve made modifications to raised steadiness my work and household obligations and be extra in tune with what my physique is attempting to inform me. To different busy working dad and mom throughout this time, I encourage you to examine in with your individual bodily and psychological well being simply as you do along with your family members, so you do not miss a life-threatening prognosis like I nearly did.

Shannon Hennig is a contract author and well being and wellness advertising skilled. She is the president of OpenInk Options, of firm that helps well being and wellness professionals to construct their private manufacturers and change into thought thought leaders in industries. Observe her on Twitter.

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