A new mum had eight heart attacks at the age of 34 because of a rare condition specialists in Leeds had never seen before.
Bronnach Pemberton now struggles with everyday life as she has been left with debilitating heart failure.
The mum-of-three is likely to need a heart transplant in future.
She said: “I have had to literally say goodbye to my former life. Having three boys, you want to be around to see they turn out to be lovely little gentlemen. Will I be here to see them get married? We just don’t know.”
Bronnach, from Bramley, Leeds, had given birth to third son Eoin eight days before she became unwell in February last year.
“I was breastfeeding Eoin and I started to feel very ill. I was clammy, I had pains in my jaw and had really bad shortness of breath, heavy arms and felt pains in my chest.
“Looking back I think ‘why didn’t I think I was having a heart attack?’. But I was 34 and I was fit and healthy – it was the last thing on my mind.”
Her symptoms were initially dismissed as panic attacks but when they returned, she went to hospital where it was discovered she was having a second massive heart attack.
Two of her coronary arteries had split, known as Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection or SCAD, and she needed immediate open heart surgery.
Despite Leeds being a specialist centre, medics had never seen the condition before.
“The doctor who diagnosed me had happened to read about it in a journal,” she said.
During the operation there were complications and she had another huge heart attack, while in the days afterwards that she was given the last rites.
“When I was in intensive care, the surgeon told my mum and dad most cases were diagnosed post mortem and I was really lucky to survive,” she said.
Bronnach now needs help with her boys, including older sons Jared, five, and Conan, four.
Though there are just 260 known survivors of SCAD in the world, she has found others affected, including two from Leeds taken ill after her.
The former teacher at Bradford Academy is due to retire on medical grounds.