The other night, I had a very long, involved phone conversation with another spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) patient. She is early in her recovery, still in the “crawling out of the sink hole” phase where even though you think you are making progress, the walls keep sliding down on top of you. Much like a romance-induced broken heart, getting over a torn artery — physically and mentally — takes time.

With my recovery from SCAD I was fortunate, in a way, that I had double bypass surgery to reroute blood flow of the affected arteries. With surgery, I felt a bit as though the problem was “fixed.” In my mind, I do tend to think of my SCAD as a mechanical failure that was repaired.

The woman from the phone call doesn’t have faith in her situation yet. It is still too new. Although we had messaged on a social media site, a voice-to-voice phone call was invaluable in understanding her mindset.

And that is where I cannot help. I can empathize. Concur. Advise. But it is she who has to take up the yoke of SCAD and say, “you know what, screw you.” Because in the end, that is what makes the difference in managing our health. We can obsess. We can complain. And, we can fret.  But ultimately, whether we help ourselves — or even others — is up to us.

No right. No wrong. Only a best effort.