Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Changed Perspective

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my increasing heart palpitations, chest pains and shortness of breath. I've gotten a few emails asking me how everything is going so I thought I'd share what I've learned thus far.  After that initial doctor's appointment and a visit to the Emergency Room a week later for increased symptoms, I finally had my appointment with a cardiologist.

I am not one of those cool people who get heart palpitations for absolutely no reason at all.

They ran a couple different tests--echocardiograph and an isotope stress test.  Both were interesting to say the least.  And when I left the appointment, I wore a Holter monitor which is basically a portable EKG machine that would record the electrical firings of my heart over a twenty-four hour period.

The initial results from the Echo and stress test came back immediately.  I have an arrhythmia which is just a fancy way of saying my heartbeat is irregular.  And I also have heart valve disease, more specifically Valvular insufficiency.  Which again, is just a fancy way of saying I have a leaky heart valve.

The doctor was very brief in explaining all this to me and although he allowed for questions, I had no idea what to even ask at that point.  So right now, I have no idea what kind of arrhythmia I have or what heart valve is leaky.  Those are pretty important things to know.  I do know that I have a strong heart and the problems seem to be mild right now.

When the results of the Holter monitor come back, I will have another appointment with the Cardiologist.  I already have a long list of questions and will most assuredly have a pen and paper handy to write everything down.  The researcher in me hates not knowing what's going on, especially when it involves my health.

Before I found out the results, I thought that if I learned something was indeed wrong with my heart, it would change everything.  I would feel depressed, angry, hopeless.  Maybe it would even be the push I need to finish my book and check some things off my Bucket List because now I would know that I'm not invincible.  I figured at the very least it would be life changing.  

That's not really the case.  I don't feel any different.  Except for the symptoms that pop up a lot more frequently, I keep forgetting that there is anything wrong.  Life isn't any different.  My house and child and husband all still need my attention just as much as before.  I don't have time to feel sorry for myself.  I don't even know if I have the right to.

Sure, the heart is a pretty important organ and heart problems--no matter how small--can be really scary.  But it could be a hell of a lot worse. 

I wanted to write about this not because I'm asking for sympathy, but because I'm amazed at how normal I feel.  I always thought if something bad happened to me, it would rule my life.  I wouldn't be able to look past it.  Maybe those philosophical moments I've been having have done me more good than I thought. 

Because all I really want to do is keep on living my life to the fullest.

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