6 days and counting

It’s amazing to me how something which is so terribly important has been pushed to the back burner for discussion for 5 days now. Last Monday 2/13/12 I went to the heart specialist to learn “what is wrong with me”. Going into the appointment I was a complete mess. For days before the appointment I was a complete mess. Examples? Sunday the family and I went to eat at Beef O’Brady’s (local casual eating place). I ordered a steak quesadilla, and in classic ordering out form it was one of those once piece was folded over so it had 6 triangles versions. I ate 1 or 2 triangles at the restaurant before feeling like I might throw up and having to rest for a moment. It took me the WHOLE day to finish that thing and it’s the only thing I ate that day too. I constantly couldn’t concentrate on what was being said, I kept having those attacks like the one that sent me to the ER. I knew it wasn’t serious though and the worst thing would be fainting so I stayed in my world of clouds and fear. At my Mom’s place I was either crying or napping. Basically, I was SO MUCH FUN to be around.

The morning of the appointment I limped into the registration area. Why was I limping? Because my left leg had formed a horrible painful calf cramp and I had convinced myself it was a blood clot and if I moved it too much it would break loose and kill me. Yes, I am that dramatic at times. As I sat there doing the standard “Why are you here” “Do you have insurance” I heard, “Do you have a living will?” And all hell broke loose. I couldn’t process this was a routine intake question. Nope I just knew it meant I was dying and I started crying like it was my job and I was going for employee of the year. I couldn’t calm down. Eventually they had to take my picture as a first time patient anyway (great) and I was lead back to my room. Inside I collapsed on the bed-type thing and between tears answered more questions for the nurses. After they left I gathered myself just a tad before the doctor came in to see me. He started asking me again about my symptoms and about any pains and bleh bleh bleh. Finally at the end the exchange went like this:

Doctor: What other medical conditions do you have

Me: ….listing all me stuff I could recall….

Doctor: And you know you have Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, right?

Me: No! What the hell is that?….Oh sorry I shouldn’t swear at you.

Although I am proud to say I held back the tears long enough to hear him say it wasn’t some fatal disease where I have 6 months to live.

What is it? Well for those who like sources you can read about it at

U.S. National Library of Medicine
Mayo Clinic
or good old Wikipedia, which oddly has the most info and best pictures

For those who don’t wanna read, it basically means I was born with some extra tissue in my heart. Because of this extra tissue the electrical waves have the potential to get confused and go into a short circuit. Instead of entering and leaving my heart in a normal pattern, they will loop around and not leave. This leads to rapid heart beat and all the fun stuff that can come from a rapid heart beat. Usually within a few minutes it will correct itself. I have never had this happen to the point of worry, so I can’t tell you what it’s like. Mostly I’ve been asymptomatic except for a few palpitations over the years, but nothing noteworthy. Remember this was all caught using a routine EKG back in November?

Soooo what can I do? CALL GHOST BUSTERS? OK not the real answer. Nope, I am set to return Friday 2/24/12 for an outpatient procedure. They will enter through my groin to explore my heart. They will attempt to get my heart to go into the short circuit issue. If they can’t, when I wake up they will tell me the connection is too weak to cause me any problems and I’m good to go live life. If they can, they will perform the ablation to remove the extra tissue and removing the possibility of a short circuit in the future. When I wake they will tell me the extra tissue is gone and I’m good to go live life. Either way I should be going home the same say and after 3 days of recovery (no heavy lifting, no driving, nothing too crazy) I am cleared to work out again. Which puts me at around 2/27, essentially I’ll start training in March.

Oh the other part of the doctor conversation I liked? The end when I asked..

Me: When can I run again?

Doctor: Three says after the procedure.

Me: OK I only have to wait 2 more weeks.

Doctor: Did someone tell you not work work out?

Me: Yes, my PCP said not to do anything that can affect my heart rate.

Doctor: Well, that’s just silly, it’s just as likely to happen no matter what you’re doing.

Thank Doc reallllllly going to help my anxiety with THAT tid bit. He also told me to move to Florida if I’m cold all the time, because this won’t fix my low blood pressure. In fact he says it’s a blessing, given my age and fitness level I’m lucky to have low blood pressure. Gee wonderful, Rx blankets STAT.

My reactions to this news? Partial relief. As strange as it may sound to some, I’m glad there is SOMETHING behind what is going on. I really didn’t want it to be a “fluke” because flukes can’t be studied or fixed or explained and that drives me insane! I’m glad it isn’t life threatening or dangerous. During the week my anxiety has decreased drastically. I am sleeping through the night again, I am able to eat (for the most part) and I can walk around and talk to people without a cloud being around me. However, anxiety is still there and is manifesting itself as acid reflux. FUN. Hence the not eating totally normally. It hurts. In an odd way though, it’s nice to have my stomach hurt instead of my chest. It’s probably tied into the not taking my asthma meds situation, but that’s another story.

My deeper reaction? I’m scared. I know it all sounds so routine and everyone is all “You’ll be fine”…but it’s my HEART. They are working on my HEART and I just can’t get past how important of an organ it is. Luckily I’ll be under twilight so I won’t be able to get too freaked out. I’m just one of those people who think “What if it goes wrong and I die?” And no amount of comments or hugs is going to make that fear go away. Only waking up and being told “It’s all over” and taking those first few steps out the door in my swooshy pants and running shoes.

 

12 thoughts on “6 days and counting

  1. Good luck with your procedure…I am a nurse and I used to work at St Francis “the heart hospital” and I know you have heard.this before but you will do great! The procedure is not too bad. So good luck again on the procedure and your recovery!

  2. As a worrier myself, I sympathize with you here. I can't even imagine how scary it must be. BUT you are correct in feeling relieved that they have figured out what the problem is, so you can go about fixing it. Good luck with your recovery!

  3. Pingback: Unexpected weekend | ROJ Running

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