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Theresa Griffin

Theresa's Miracle

"Footprints”, the poem where God says to the human "When things got the roughest, that's when I was carrying you", has become meaningful to me in a way I never would have expected before November 3, 2002. November 3, 2002 was the day God carried me. 

It was a beautiful fall afternoon and after doing some laundry and playing with my cat, I decided to go to the Goodwill store to do some serious bargain hunting. I made a purchase and chatted with the clerk. As I was leaving, I dropped to the floor in sudden cardiac arrest. A fellow shopper, who saw me go down, told the clerk to dial 911 and she then started CPR on me. The ambulance depot was 3 blocks away and the hospital was close by as well. Two ambulances and a paramedic supervisor arrived very quickly. Apparently, paramedics can now do everything for a cardiac arrest that they can do in an emergency room - and they do it right where they find you. These heroes did everything they could for me.

I was taken to the hospital where I spent some time in critical care. A defibrillator was implanted at the end of my 2 week stay. I chose to have the defibrillator because I couldn't imagine living with the fear of having a cardiac arrest alone at home. Sometime in mid-February, I received my diagnosis: catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia. I was put on beta-blockers and promptly developed bradycardia. Also, around mid-February my lead came out of the ventricular wall but this event wasn't entirely a bad thing. It was too dangerous for me to be away from medical attention with no protection from the arrhythmia so I spent a week in hospital with all my meals cooked for me, free computer access, and an entertaining roommate. The ventricular lead was re-attached at the end of February, 2003 and the doctors changed the defibrillator in order to accommodate a second lead. Now the pacing I needed would be done from both chambers, thereby reducing the risk of congestive heart failure down the road. 

At my one week post surgery check-up, I found out that the atrial lead had come out. I had a choice about having it re-attached, and, as hard as it was, I chose to go ahead with it. The third surgery was completed at the end of March, 2003. I had my 5 week post surgery check-up May 12, 2003 and everything is fine. I have been riding my bike and when the defibrillator was interrogated it showed that I haven't been in any arrhythmia at all!!! I don't have to go back to the hospital for 3 months!!! 

My life is evolving in a direction I hadn't anticipated. I wouldn't be here to go down this path if it hadn't been for a good Samaritan, wonderful paramedics, doctors and nurses at 2 London hospitals and a little machine that is near and dear to my heart. It has been a rough road at times. I am facing my fears and am able to return to the Goodwill store. Next month I will be meeting my paramedics at the annual survivor's lunch. I am now part of the The Canadian SADS Foundation family too. 

I try to live one day at a time and seek out the positive things life has to offer. I realize the importance of human connections more fully now. Life is good. I thank God for carrying me that afternoon and I am making footprints in the sand for myself these days. 

Submitted Spring 2003 
Theresa Griffin
London, ON &


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