Creative Corner

The IHSA creative corner includes poetry and artwork related to Coronary Vasospasm and Microvascular Angina which were submitted to us by patients and their loved ones. You are welcome to browse through our creative corner to explore all of the wonderful works of art we were delighted to have featured in this area.

Have you created any artwork related to either of these conditions? Would you like to share your work with us to possibly have it featured on our website someday, in the near future, and seen by our readers? Contact us today to find out how!

By S. Hilton

My crafting started way back in 2005 after routine knee arthroscopy to check for arthritic changes.  Unfortunately, surgery triggered a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and left me disabled the condition causes pain from the slightest touch and my right leg has no temperature control so it’s usually freezing cold too. I have had several painful nerve block procedures since surgery however there is no cure for CRPS so use strong medication and adapted to live with it. Fast forward to 2020 before my cardiac arrest and I use crutches at home, wheelchair for distance and an adapted automatic car using only left leg.  I started crafting to refocus my mind away from the pain and discomfort and keep my brain active too.  So, in March 2020, after surviving the cardiac arrest and serious complications I was extremely weak and confused but once again I was able to sit propped up in bed and quill shapes etc. My crafting, and in particular quilling, allows me to express myself creatively and since my arrest provided its own kind of therapy helping lift my mood and provide a safe space to heal physically and psychologically too.  Over 12 months I have quilled artwork for the ICU waiting room (my family’s suggestion) cardiac ward where I recovered from having an ICD implant and the local Air Ambulance team who attended my arrest. Once covid restrictions are lifted I hope to present the artwork to thank amazing people but also give comfort to others too.

Tight As a Corset

By A. Pompa

As if I’m laced up

Inside so tight

Constricting the beat

Not feeling quite right


Just one morning please

Awake with no pressure

Nothing sitting on me

Nor feeling of tether


The days my engine worked

Unaware of its moving

Find remembrance

Now pain lingers, looming


Quelling the restriction

A spray or tingly tongue

Aids in my comfort

Reprieving for some


To breathe in deeply

Remain in the quiet

My heart pumps so hard

A silent sort of riot


Undo these laces

Release the free flow

Quiet my anguish

Find normal once more

Here comes the pain again

By S. Brown

Here comes my heartache

Spasms are labour in my heart

No baby in the end


The pain comes and goes

The air squished out of my lungs

My heart starved of blood


The pain grows and grows

It’s deeper longer stronger

Cutting through my chest


My bra feels too tight

I cannot think speak or move

Then the pain has gone

Island of Self

By A. Pompa

A far away scene

A whole lot to sift through

Just a cup and a string

To the mainland of proof


Stuck in the sand

A view of the lively surf

Unmoved, I feel stagnant

Can I undo the curse?


An island of self

Reliant on me

No other can do this

Navigate my sea


Communication seasonal

Rough weather common

This string often one way

Help hard to summon


I hear others out there

Their pleas in number

We need a boat, a bridge

To gather, truth encounter


To link with another

The spirit of fight

In front of me fully

Witnessing all that’s been right


Until we gather

Our numbers a tribe

I’ll wave through my spyglass

Sending powerful vibes


Together we matter

Each in their own

Learning and sharing

A brighter future sewn


Pain Uplifted

By A. Pompa

For as long as I can remember I have loved creativity as an outlet. My first way to get to know myself and reflect life was through my love of words. Journaling and creating poems helped me. Later, I was intrigued by visual art and expressing myself through sketching and painting. Sometimes words and paint combined. Creative outlets are a way to gain insight to whatever is happening in life. It can be cathartic and good for the spirit.

The painting I was asked to share was created just before and during diagnosis of a chronic heart and vascular condition. Its title is “Pain Uplifted.” I was struggling with very low energy, few answers and trauma I wished to transform out of and learn from. I took a photo of me in a protective fetal position and worked from that for the closed-in figure at bottom. There is a broken heart on the ground in front of me. It bleeds out and feeds seeds around me of things I needed to learn from to grow. A larger version of me. A more open existence. A daisy to the left of me is the simplest aspect of my spirit and the zinnia to the right is how much more I’ve grown and drawn strength and color from past things. At the time (during diagnosis), the skies were still gray and bleak, but I’m throwing good energy out to embrace future change. 

I am more than a dysfunction. I am more than the physical. Through expression by word or visual art, it alleviates the pressure of ongoing pain. Difficult moments, days and spans of time can be brought into perspective. It can be healing. Focusing on all that is alive in my heart and mind make for less desperate days. If any other person can relate to the image and help them heal a little, it is even more heartening to me. 


U. S. Copyright 2019 © R. A. Smoller – All Rights Reserved

Dying Irises

By R. A. Smoller

I started painting at the age of 66, but creativity has always been inside of me.

When I was in the hospital with my first heart attack, a friend brought me these beautiful irises. Every day I would look the irises from my hospital bed and wonder, “How long would they last?” I tried not to direct that question inward, but the temptation was right in front of me. Whether rightly or wrongly so, I had already drawn imaginary parallel life-spans between the irises and me. I took the flowers home and slowly, they began to fade but they didn’t die, they wouldn’t die. It seemed to me that they kept fighting to live and they were still so beautiful. I decided to paint them, to freeze a moment in time for the living flowers and for me. In that moment, in that painting, we weren’t glorious, but we were alive, and we were still beautiful.

Nothing and no one lives forever, but the beauty of the irises gave me hope and a much needed spiritual boost. I have painted many flowers since then, but the “Dying Irises” will always have a special place in my heart.


Get Informed

Learn all about the symptoms, causes and triggers of these heart conditions.

Educate. Inform. Enlighten.

Click to access the login or register cheese