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Thread: Broken Heart Syndrome

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    Distinguished Community Member Earth Mother 2 Angels's Avatar
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    Default Broken Heart Syndrome

    ((((((Hugs to All)))))) ~

    If people exist, who doubt that the pain of parental grief is incomparable, Debbie Reynolds has proved them wrong.

    Tuesday, 12/27, Debbie announced to the world that her oldest child and daughter, Carrie, had passed after suffering a heart attack on Friday 12/23 during a flight from London to Los Angeles. Carrie, who was 60, the Star Wars Princess, the brutally honest and hilarious author, actor and activist, and her mother were estranged for about a decade many years before. They were reunited and became even closer after Carrie’s bipolar diagnosis.

    In fact, they had been working on a documentary about Debbie’s life. Their homes were close to each other, separated by a hill. In one scene, Carrie tells the camera, while she’s walking to her mom’s home, “I usually go to her. I always go to her.” When Carrie enters Debbie’s home, she calls out, “Mommy! Mommy! I’m home!”

    Wednesday, the day after Carrie’s passing, Debbie apparently had a stroke, while planning Carrie’s funeral/memorial service with Debbie's son, Todd, at his home. The shock, the stress, the anguish, the pain must have overwhelmed Debbie, and she passed at the age of 84 to join her beloved daughter.

    Todd stated that his mother’s last words were, “I miss her so much. I want to be with Carrie.”

    As a grieving parent, and having met many grieving parents through various on line venues, I believe that most parents feel this way, after their child dies. We can’t let go. We want to continue to be with our children.

    In my parental grieving research and informal polling of grieving parents, I discovered that the incidents of severe medical issues, such as heart attacks, cancer, and autoimmune diagnoses, were significantly higher among grieving parents than the general population.

    Stress is the Number One Factor in the exacerbation of every medical condition, and there is no greater stress than grieving for your child.

    In fact, the overflow of stress hormones can cause a gripping of the heart, known as “broken heart syndrome,” which mimics a heart attack.

    Debbie had spent 5 days under extreme duress, waiting for test results, praying for the best outcome, seeing her daughter attached to a ventilator, with machines and tubes and noise and trauma all around her. Debbie was likely sleep deprived and malnourished, which would be typical in this situation.

    I can envision this, as it was my experience when my son, Michael, died. But I was much younger, and I had 32 years of experience in that same hospital setting with both of my children. Debbie didn’t.

    It was just too much for Debbie, who had had a previous mini-stroke and partial kidney failure and appeared frail in that scene from the documentary. It seems quite plausible that she died of broken heart syndrome.

    Now, Todd is planning a funeral/memorial service for his sister and his mother. And Carrie’s daughter, Billie, is grieving for her mom and grandmother. And they, and all of Carrie’s and Debbie’s friends and fellow artists describe their current state as “heartbroken.”

    May they find peace and comfort that Mother and Daughter are together eternally.

    Broken Heart Syndrome:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/29/he...eart.html?_r=1

    Love & Light,

    Rose
    Mom to Jon, 47, (seizure disorder; Gtube; trache; colostomy; osteoporosis; hypothyroid; enlarged prostate; lymphedema, assorted mysteries) and Michael, 32, (intractable seizures; Gtube), who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003 and now resides in Heaven. Our Angel Jon lives at home with me and Jim, the world's most wonderful dad.

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    Hi Rose,

    Absolutely beautiful post! I felt so heartbroken for the family. This was truly dying of a broken heart. I read that Debbie had had a few strokes in the past, and not just mini strokes. Her little body just couldn't take it. I feel so sorry for the son as well having lost both his sister and mother in roughly the span of 2 days. I heard about broken heart syndrome on a documentary before where they said stress may be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, factors in cardiovascular disease. I had heard people can have strokes from stress. One person told me "East Of Eden" with the father having a stroke as the son leaves, is a fictional example of a person having a stress induced stroke. Since Carrie died of a heart problem herself it would not surprise me if both woman had weak blood vessels to begin with from genetics too.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/cripsnotcreeps.php

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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    Thank you for posting this, Rose. As someone who lost a child I can easily understand how the experience could kill someone.
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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    Distinguished Community Member Earth Mother 2 Angels's Avatar
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    ((((((funnylegs4)))))) ~

    Yes, stress is the primary factor in the exacerbation of any medical malady. Parental grief is unbelievably difficult and impossible to comprehend, unless you've experienced it. Grieving parents often refer to it as a "club no one ever wants to join."

    My theory about factors contributing to Carrie's heart attack are less genetic and more associated with lifestyle. Carrie did have a problem with substance abuse; she even had a one woman show titled, "Wishful Drinking." Carrie was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder, so she might have been taking medication, which could have affected her heart.

    Carrie was on a book tour promoting her new book, "Princess Diarist," which is stressful ~ lots of traveling, flying, hotel rooms, interviews, book signings. Her heart attack occurred on a flight from London to Los Angeles, an 11-12 hour flight. I've wondered whether Carrie actually had deep vein thrombosis (DVT) with a clot to her lungs or her heart instead of a heart attack. DVT is common among frequent flyers.

    Of course, Debbie was 84, with assorted health issues over the past several years, so her condition was likely fragile, predisposing her to succumb to the stress of Carrie's death.

    East of Eden ~ one of my all time favorite movies. Yes, I think that Adam's son, Aron, leaving to serve in the War, was a catalyst for Adam's stroke. Of course, Adam had a lifetime of stress, with his estranged spouse, his failed business venture, and the impending war. But the stress of Aron's manic departure pushed Adam over the edge. At the end, he finally became close to his other son, Cal.

    agate ~

    ((((((Joan)))))) I'm so sorry for your loss. Please know that I'm always available with a listening ear and an understanding heart, if you want/need to share your journey.

    There have been many times, particularly in the early years after Michael's passing, when I was so overcome with grief that I could barely function. But I had to function, because Jon needs me. Jon's first hospitalization was 14 months after Michael passed, and he was in the same ICU, just doors down from Michael's room, then moved to the same medical floor, only 2 doors from the room where Michael passed. It was sheer torture for me.

    Only 4 months later, on Christmas Eve, Jon was admitted to ICU with pneumonia and a broken right hip. Jon's been in ICU 6 times since Michael passed, and every time, I revisit Michael's final days. And, of course, I fear losing Jon.

    I agree with you that it's completely understandable how the stress of losing one's child can result in broken heart syndrome and even death.

    Sending healing prayers to you ~

    Love & Light,

    Rose
    Mom to Jon, 47, (seizure disorder; Gtube; trache; colostomy; osteoporosis; hypothyroid; enlarged prostate; lymphedema, assorted mysteries) and Michael, 32, (intractable seizures; Gtube), who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003 and now resides in Heaven. Our Angel Jon lives at home with me and Jim, the world's most wonderful dad.

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    East of Eden ~ one of my all time favorite movies. Yes, I think that Adam's son, Aron, leaving to serve in the War, was a catalyst for Adam's stroke. Of course, Adam had a lifetime of stress, with his estranged spouse, his failed business venture, and the impending war. But the stress of Aron's manic departure pushed Adam over the edge. At the end, he finally became close to his other son, Cal.
    Yes just rewatched the movie again recently. Wonderful film! When I watched it again I definitely saw the buildup of stress and this is displayed physically by his body language as well. As for Carrie only found out about her addiction history after posting that.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/cripsnotcreeps.php

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