Monday, June 8, 2015


It pulled me from a deep slumber, the sharp pain crushing my chest, spreading up to my throat and grabbing my jaw in a death grip. From there it spread down through my upper abdomen to my groin area, leaving my body in writhing pain.

Holy Christ! Was this the big one?

I tried to breathe through the pain, taking deep breaths, holding them and letting them out slowly. But no matter how much I tried to control my breathing it didn’t help. I took in the air as gasps and let it out in groans. The pain would not be appeased by my lowly attempts to control it with breaths.


I staggered out of bed, only to be met with a wave of nausea, my undigested diner from the night before catching in my throat.

“What are the symptoms of a heart attack in women?” I kept asking myself as I staggered to my computer.

A quick perusal of I found an article by Dr. Tom Iarocci  from October 11, 2013, which gave me the list of symptoms which include:
  • ·         Angina: pain, discomfort, pressure or tightness in the middle of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and then comes back; sometimes mistaken for heartburn
  • ·         Pain or discomfort in upper body including arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • ·         Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • ·         Cold sweat or sweating
  • ·         Feeling of indigestion, choking or heartburn
  • ·         Nausea or vomiting
  • ·         Feeling dizzy, light-headed or extremely weak
  • ·         Feeling anxious
  • ·         Rapid or irregular heart beats

Hmm, close, but was it really a heart attack?

As it turned out, it was a warning shot over my bow.

My heart was reacting to the unrelenting stress of trying to transition from my law practice into being a full time author. I was doing neither well, and the stress of underperforming was wearing on me and my body.

My choice was clear—leave the practice of law—or DIE!

Whoa! Really? The choice was that clear?

Transitions are never easy. The stress of making the choice to make the leap can be incapacitating. Leave what I have known for more than 28 years, a career in which I have been very successful, and jump into a pond with so many wide-eyed dreamers, but with so many broken hearts and broken dreams?  

Today I took the first step. I swallowed my pride and put the courts and clients on notice—I am DONE!  I can’t do it anymore.

Whew—I get cold sweats just thinking about it. But, my heart doesn’t race when I think about the future. My heart remains calm when I write, and most of all no matter how difficult the transition, the alternative when it includes dying is a BITCH!


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