My Bout With Myocarditis

One of the scariest moments of our life was waking up to the news that Chris was having a heart attack. This was one year ago today. It turned out to be something much different, but it makes you sit up and be thankful for the life you have.

Wendy and I had a good laugh when I opened my computer just now. “Warning signs of a heart attack” was my last web page. I looked it up this morning, and have been at the St. Francis Medical Center since. Here’s the day’s story.

Earlier in the week I fought two days in bed with Strep Throat. No big deal, got on antibiotics and started recovering. I called the doctor back complaining that the medication was causing my heart to beat fast, feeling jittery and anxious, strange. So the doctor switched my antibiotics, and I took my first dosage last night. Again, no big deal.

Mistake. Never assume a symptom is from something specific, like a medication. It could be totally different, like this was.

I woke up at 5:15 with a pain in my chest. It was a pain unlike I’ve ever felt, so I knew something was up. I tried to first shake it off, made coffee, popped a couple tylonol. It wasn’t getting any better, so I started googling “chest pain.”

A lot of lives are probably saved by today’s Internet searching. I pulled up a webpage of possible signs of a heart attack. As I read, the feeling was scary. Chest pain, extended to arms and shoulders and neck, numbing jaw, shortness of breath. I was feeling all of this. “My Lord,” I thought. “I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Have you ever been tooling down a highway in your car, and all of a sudden the engine starts puttering? Maybe dies? And you’re left coasting for a while, wondering what to do, halfway not believing this was happening and halfway hoping the engine would just kick back up and driving would commence? (Our book, Love in the House, opens with such a story, come to think of it.)

I woke Wendy up and explained the problem. We both decided we should go into the Emergency Room. Wendy dropped me off to park the car and I walked straight to the desk, “I’m having chest pains.” The ladies kicked into gear, got me into a room, and tested me right away. Sure enough, I was showing “some serious cardio problems,” the nurse let me know, and I was wheeled down the hall for a closer look by the ER doctor.

More tests. Lots of Q&A. The ER doc was convinced that I had or was in the middle of having a heart attack. But head logic was pushing the other direction. I have absolutely no issues with my heart. I jog, I hike, I hunt. My family lineage: no heart problems. I’m 41, for crying out loud. Which to listen to, my heart or my head? So, I was sent to cardiology for a catheter: cameras and wires were sent up from my waist to my heart to take a careful look at my heart to see what’s going on.

The report back (and the reason I’m writing this from the hospital bed the evening of) is that I did not have a “heart attack.” Actually, a “heart attack” is not really a failure of the heart, but of the arteries. Doc says my arteries look fantastic. But I had myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart. I suppose myocarditis is more technically a “heart attack,” because it is a virus attacking the heart, which can be just as deadly.

One of the chambers of my heart was inflamed, and the doctors were able to apply the needed treatment to take care of it pronto. Now, 14 hours after my initial chest pain, I’m tired and a little groggy. But no chest pain, no shortness of breath. It appears everything is fine.

Dear God, I am so thankful for this outcome. And most of all, the love around me.

Love is so good. Wendy and I had those tearful connections, sobs of love and appreciation that soulmates understand. I enjoyed wonderful conversations with visiting friends. Playing on the iPhone with my grandson was a real treat. Several friends left messages, especially enjoyed one from my friend Ron (his daughter is getting married tomorrow, and I’m sad we won’t be able to attend). And I had some real special moments on the phone with my folks from Minnesota. When your elder parents cry and tell you how much they love you, it does much to heal your heart.

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • Teresa Carstens

    I’m so happy to hear that you’re doing okay. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  • Sargent Fam

    The Sargent Family is rooting and praying for you and your family, Chris.  Praise the Lord that you are doing better now.  Tell Wendy hello.

  • Jayhawk

    We heard you were having heart problems and we are thankful it was caught quickly & treated effectively. Get well soon!

    The Cunneff’s

  • Tania @ Larger Family Life

    Sending thoughts and prayers to you all from us across the pond.  

    • Chris Jeub

      Thanks Tania. And guess what I picked up at the Post Office when I went to get my second antibiotics. Your book! Thank you so much for sending it…looking forward to reading it.

  • Tonya Vander

    I am so glad to hear that you are doing well. We found out tonight at dinner. Jonathan’s jaw dropped as did ours. Please let us know if we can do anything. We will be lifting up your family.

  • Nicole

    good recovery! I have had the same but it came from a sickness called: polyangeite microscopique, it caused inflammation on my heart.
    It all started with a sinus infection…
    Thank you God for such good medical care!
    We are so lucky!

  • Jennifer Mull

    So glad you are getting the treatment you need. I know it was a scary experience for you and your whole family. Let your family dote on you, and before you know it, you will be back in action. :-)

  • Kaitlin Nelson

    So glad you are ok! Praying for your full recovery!

  • Vance

    Chris – sorry to hear, but glad you’re getting better!   

  • Janetkiessling

    Oh my goodness – Praise the Lord for the speedy drs! Praise the Lord for – dare I say – computers!! :) Probably felt kinda weird walking in the hospital & saying ” I just checked the computer & I am pretty sure I am having a heart attack ” And, yes, I, too had a few tears.  Hey Chris – there will always be other weddings to go to – but Wendy can’t find another best friend!!! :) We are praying for your full recovery!!!

  • Tina Drohan

    I hope you have a speedy recovery. I am glad you did the right thing and went to the ER. Feel better and keep us updated. Lots of love.

  • Mommy2 Lillis

    thank God you are ok now. that’s really scary

  • Lars Jorgensen

    We are so glad to hear that this wasn’t a traditional heart attack.  We will keep praying for a complete recovery.

  • Anonymous

    Glad things are looking up for you and you are feeling better!!!  Since they caught it so quickly maybe you are 100% on the road to good health but definitely take special notice of any shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, etc you have for the next year.  My father in law had myocarditis last year and maybe cause it took FORVER for them to diagnosis (seriously he was at Memorial a week and a half before they finally figured it out and he had been having symptoms for a week prior to ending up at Memorial) he started having weird symptoms six months after the fact that got progressively worse.  He ended up in the hospital again and the sac around his heart had hardened so he had open chest surgery to remove the sac.  Still has issues to this day because of the myocarditis.  He definitely did not get the prompt treatment that you got and hopefully that will make all the difference (it was no fault of his own, it was thanks to the drs at the Academy!)

  • Gabriela Kee

    The Kee family is praying!  We hope you are feeling better and the family is holding up fine.

  • Mom2abm

    So glad I stumbled upon your blog post. There has been a lot of prayer for you from down here in Texas. So glad to see you are doing much better!! Blessings, Sarah Pinero

  • Dana Bonham–HSoCR

    We are so thankful that you are well!  Our prayers were with you when we found out.  Praise the Lord, Chris!

  • Tom Umstattd

    Get well Chris, I like the picture of you and your grandson.  Too cool!

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  • CaptainLucy

    There is a book you should read, called “Gracyn’s Song”. She too had myocarditis, aged 8 I believe. It caused her heart to fail and she was placed on a Berlin heart to get her through until she could have a transplant. Very good read :-) 

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