What does that do to you? Very much, I can assure you.

Both in 1996 and 2001 I was confronted with the HELLP-syndrome during my pregnancies. Fortunately, two healthy babies have come into this world, and now have grown into big guys. However, my body had suffered a huge blow which made me a heart patient at the age of 45. This was preceded by a long period of medically “inexplicable” complaints with a lot of misunderstanding and closed doors.

Because of my persistence and that of my family and friends, I eventually ended up with a cardiologist. He understood my situation and fortunately soon realized that something was terribly wrong. Indeed, I was catheterized almost immediately and a stent was placed in my left coronary artery. This was already 80% blocked! A shock to me but also to those around me because what if … Soon I was allowed to go home with a mountain of medication. I felt very fit and I could take on the whole world once again.

Anyway, after about four months, the complaints returned. Chest pressure, nausea, extreme fatigue, it seemed like I was back to square one. Reentered the Cardiology ward and was catheterized once again. However, the conclusion was different this time. Sorry ma’am, we couldn’t find anything. There is nothing wrong with you… This cannot be true! I know what I feel and NO it is not between my ears. It’s in my heart region!

Long live Google! I found the Radboud UMC via this search engine. I gathered up all of my courage and contacted Professor Maas. The first visit was immediately a huge relief. Finally having understanding and an acknowledgment of my problem and more importantly, action was being taken! Microvascular Angina Pectoris with vascular dysfunction was the diagnosis. The small veins in my heart area are cramped due to HELLP-syndrome with the accompanying high blood pressure. Surgical treatment is not possible, but medications are available. BAM, that hits you really hard.

Fortunately, thanks to the acknowledgment by Professor Maas of my complaints, things have gradually improved with me. Treatment currently consists mainly of adjusting the medication to control my high blood pressure. That high blood pressure made me unable to function normally. Outwardly you don’t see it, but after climbing a staircase you feel like you just ran the New York marathon. And then it is difficult to explain what it does to you if you do not feel heard and understood.

Now, a year and a half later, I have fully recuperated and returned to work with the right medication. Together with my family, relatives and friends I can enjoy life once again and do the things that give us all great satisfaction. If I had listened to me better at an earlier stage, action could have been taken sooner and I wouldn’t have had to feel so bad for so many years. I was and still am a young woman who is far from being written off. The condition will never disappear but luckily I have now been able to give it a place.

With many thanks to those who have always supported and continue to support me. Here too perseverance was needed! And my tip, or no, just some compelling advice to all young women with a similar story: Do not allow yourself to be dismissed, but continue to insist on further research! I have now become a happy person again.