The symptoms started when I was 35. Nausea, fatigue, muscle pain, sweating. I had no energy and looked anaemic. My GP ran all kinds of tests for a few months, and when nothing came up, she diagnosed me with burnout. Sometimes she would even roll her eyes when I returned for another consultation. In the end, I had a heart attack and went to see the GP. I was nauseous, and I had pain in my jaw and neck – typical for women with heart problems. But I got sent home with a suppository, and the wrong diagnosis: oesophagal cramp.
I was already seeing the cardiologist because of my high blood pressure. I had often asked him to examine my heart because my father died after heart surgery at the age of 51. The cardiologist did not think it was necessary. But I felt so miserable. I could not work anymore, and I could hardly go up or down the stairs. I should have been in the prime of my life, but I had no energy and could barely get through the days.
His replacement was amazed when she read my file and scheduled follow-up tests. Via my homoeopathic doctor, I visited Angela Maas for a second opinion. She specialises in heart problems in women. Fortunately, she took me seriously. My cardiologist wanted to wait and try to patch up my heart with medication. But Angela Maas thought that was not an option. It would be waiting for another heart attack to occur, and I would not survive that. Thanks to her, I had life-saving heart surgery, which gave me back some quality of life. But a lot of the damage to my heart is irreversible.
It turned out that I am genetically predisposed to heart problems, just like my father. The cardiologist who overlooked the symptoms never apologised. I was young, and my symptoms were atypical, he said. While it is well-known that more young women are having heart problems, and my symptoms exactly fit the image of a heart attack in a woman. Fortunately, my homoeopath was always sharp. He took me and my symptoms seriously. He immediately said that it could be my heart, and because of my father, he also considered the heredity. He encouraged me to continue to seek help. Thanks to him, I am still alive.
Maxine is 50 years old, a nutritionist and the founder of hartinshape.nl