The heart of the matter

I realized this morning, not talking about something doesn’t make it any less real.

As many of you know I went to qualify for the Gatorade study last Friday 11/11/11 and walked out with a reading of an abnormal EKG. I was pulled from the 50K and reported to my doctor Monday morning. The news she gave me was something it took a few days to process.

Before I tell you let me explain a little about my doctor. She’s awesome. She does not over diagnose and she will do everything she can to keep you off meds and without a label. When I needed to have my gallbladder removed we started with the idea the pain was indigestion, then acid reflux, perhaps stress and a slight panic attack? We took baby steps and minimally invasive testing until we found the issue. When I learned I have exercise induced asthma we tried just an inhaler as needed or breathing techniques before moving onto a pill and inhaler. When I was given a pill, we tried to make it so I could stop my allergy meds.

She is very caring and understanding. She never questions me when I say I want to switch a med, she helps me when I say I struggle with taking a certain brand or variation (I hate nasal sprays for example). Soooo when she gave me the news, I had no choice but to believe her and know it was not coming from a negative place.

Sitting there I was thinking I would be told I’m baseline abnormal and to go live life. Sure my ovaries are questionable. Sure I lost a gallbladder. Sure my eye sight sucks, my lungs don’t work, my vertebrae collapse and pinch my SI, and probably every other part of my body is moody. My heart though. I have always been confident in my heart. My blood pressure is normally something like 97/58. My pulse is in the low to mid 60s. All signs point to perfection with that sucker.

Imaginewhat I felt when she said …my EKG report reads the textbook example of someone who has had a heart-attack.

Everyone who is rolling their eyes and saying it was an equipment glitch or it’s hereditary or something…it isn’t. Those types of issues read differently on the report. Now, this doesn’t mean I have had a heart-attack, it might mean that, but there are other options too.

Basically she’s not a cardiologist and doesn’t know what is going on, but the fact that my heart is sending out rhythms saying it might be damaged means I need to go for additional testing. The next step in the process is a stress test with echo on the treadmill. Easy, right?

WRONG

My current insurance has a $2,500 deductible. I have a slew of pre-exisiting conditions that blocked me from coverage while I was unemployed. OK not a slew. Essentially they don’t care my PCOS is mild and I have no issues aside from cysts. And they don’t care my asthma only exists every once in a while on trails. They see two potentially complicated conditions and me as a money suck.

My new insurance kicks in at the end of January. If I get the tests done now it will be at least $1,600, no that isn’t a typo. If I wait until January (essentially Feb) I will pay around $500-$600. Much better, still a pain in the ass.

What might they say? Well, it may be yes at some point in time I had a heart-attack. Perhaps it was at birth when I was 1 month early, cord around the neck x2 and 50% chance of living? Perhaps it was during one of the gallstone attacks and it was brushed off as nothing. I may just have a strange heart that sends out those types of readings as normal…but it’s not too common. Maybe it’s because of the long distances I’ve run and now the reading is off, but the structure of my heart is fine. That is what we’re trying to find out with the stress & echo. 1) What does my heart look like? Is there any damage we should care about? 2) How does it function? Does it do what it needs to with or without the damage?

I won’t lie, I an terrified. I am scared I have a heart condition and I didn’t know it. I am worried there is something wrong and I should be on meds and I won’t know until 2-3 months from now. I am also struggling with the idea I may never be allowed to run again. It’s such a massive part of my identity I don’t know what I would do. But people recover from things all the time. And people push through things all the time. Who is to say I can’t be a success story? A story of overcoming the odds? A story of those few months everything was scary, but it turned out to be nothing.

Until I get the testing I am not supposed to run or do anything to stress my heart (just in case). I am allowed to volunteer, I am allowed to walk. And if I can’t stand it, then I can run “jog” a 5K. Nothing more.

Sister and I will do the Turkey Trot (I will walk with her) the following Saturday I will do a local event where I will walk with a friend who is recovering from her own issues. In December I will volunteer and walk events and we’ll conquer January when we get there.

Thank you everyone for your support and concern. I hope everything will blow over and I’ll be back to “normal” soon.

Until then I am finding all the other things life has to offer. Tomorrow I am going to the Brown’s game. Last night I attended a Tastefully Simple party  where I was sat on by a St Bernard and was able to pet a baby horse. There’s TV and books and games and … PEOPLE who can fill my life over the next while.

3 thoughts on “The heart of the matter

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