Tag Archives: heart health

Another Health Update, Again

First, I have to apologize to my readers and to the people I follow for having been incommunicado for a while here. I will catch up with all of you, I promise, but it will take me a while.

So, what was I doing? Well, I was off being an introvert after I was surprised with the news that I actually wasn’t out of the woods with my heart-health after all.

And, I was doing as introverts do. I wasn’t depressed, but definitely worried and befuddled. Quietly freaking out is probably a better description. But introverts need time to absorb information, turn it over in their minds, and think carefully about whatever it is. And I took the time to do just that.

The history of this is that after my “all clear,” one of the specialists called me to his office and told me that upon further investigation, my tests actually showed that I likely had had a heart attack and that there was also heart disease of some sort, as well. Ischemia, they call it. If that isn’t a scary name, then I don’t know what is. Inside you, your own body is scheming against you. Great.

He told me that I had to have another test. This time, a definitive one. An angiogram. A cardiologist sticks a probe into an artery in the arm or leg, then enters the heart and takes a look all around to see what’s going on. Yum.

I couldn’t wait to have this done but at the same time, I didn’t want it done at all.

In the meantime, I had to wait. So I decided to put my health first and foremost.

I walked and did mild exercise.

I read about my condition.

I took appropriate supplements.

I worked at keeping my weight down and eating a mostly green veggie and fruit diet.

I religiously took my myriad of prescription medications, including the one whose chief side effect is weight gain. Isn’t there a story in here somewhere? Ah yes, here it is:

Specialist (aka, God): You need to lose 10 kilos. (For the metrically challenged, that’s 22 lbs.)

Me: Won’t that be hard to do if I’m taking this stuff that causes weight gain?

Specialist: (consults ceiling and gives every impression of an imminent ascension into heaven) What stuff?

Me: This medication. Metoprolol.

Specialist: What about it?

Me: It causes weight gain.

Specialist: Make sure you start losing some weight, now. See you next month.

See what I mean? I think his real name must be Dr. Kafka.

Anyway, I tried to remain calm while I waited for six weeks for this next test. Easily said, not easily done.

Finally, test day arrived. I was on a ward mainly comprised of men who were in varying stages of getting the bad news about their heart conditions. My anxiety began to climb but I tried valiantly to keep my mind off the situation.

Then they wheeled me into their chamber. Lots of monitors, tubes, straps, needles and stuff that was completely unidentifiable but scary nevertheless.

They gave me a sort of twilighty drug that actually didn’t work because I was completely awake the entire time and trying to see the cardiologist’s monitors. Which I couldn’t, of course, because they were placed so that he had a good view, not me. And besides, I don’t know what that would have accomplished anyway – I wouldn’t have known what I was looking at! But human nature being what it is …

So they stuck their mobile forward observer’s post in my wrist and I felt it slide past my shoulder. Then … nothing. Ten minutes of waiting while I thought I was going to crawl right out of my own skin.

A young man’s face leaning over mine – the cardiologist in training – and the immortal words: “Your arteries are pristine.” No ischemia.  No heart attack. No damage of any kind.

I gave M the big thumbs up as they wheeled me back to the ward for a couple of hours of recovery. I couldn’t stop grinning. I couldn’t stop smiling. I couldn’t stop feeling grateful. The next day was my birthday and I couldn’t have had a better present.

It turns out that my heart went a little glitchy because I did too much physical activity on a hot day and a nerve in there started to act out. It’s what the techs who originally tested my heart had thought – nothing really wrong.

I can actually have this nerve fixed if there’s any more trouble from it, but right now I’m just going to wait.

That gives me time to think. I think about the men on that ward that day who didn’t get good news. I wonder about how they’re doing. I wonder about the two cardiologists. One who told me that I’d likely had a heart attack and was suffering from clogged arteries. One who proved that I wasn’t. I think anout the friendly nurse who coached me on keeping my arteries pristine. I think about my M, who sat beside me the entire time.

I am grateful.

A Happy Health Update

I had the last of the tests on my heart yesterday, and the techs and the supervising cardiac specialist indicated to me that they couldn’t see any damage from the period of dysrhythmia that I experienced! Yay! 🙂

A bonus is that they couldn’t find any underlying problem that might have caused the dysrhythmia in the first place! Yay yay!!

I can’t tell you what a relief that was. Or maybe many of you have experienced something similar.

So, the way I understand it, some nerve endings in my heart misfired for some reason. This had never happened before, and there’s a good chance that it may never happen again.

It was likely just a glitch. In the scheme of health things, a very small one. And I’ll talk to the cardiac specialist about all this stuff when I have an office appointment with him.

But this little glitch forced me to re-evaluate many things; to be more mindful. I feel like I’ve got a second chance.

My husband is presently commuting to his new job that is four hours away. We only see each other a couple of days a week. Do we really want to keep doing that?

Do I want to stay in a job – I’m a high school teacher – that’s incredibly stressful and is “lead” by some of the most dogmatic, short-sighted, otherwise-unemployable people anywhere? I have one year left. The pragmatic decision is to stay. That way, the numbers will work out much better.

After many years as a private pilot, I have prepared a second career as a professional pilot. By the grace of someone or something, this issue with my heart is unlikely to affect my long-term medical status with respect to this career. Again, the pragmatic decision is to wait for a year before starting it.

My deep-down sense is that stress caused this situation in the first place.

But I have to be able to live my life, too. I can’t act like a delicate hothouse flower. I never was one of those and can’t see any value in starting that now.

Maybe I’m just talking about living a more balanced life, and the big question for me is how to do that.

What about you? Have you faced a situation where you’ve had to re-evaluate how you live your life? Have you felt like you’ve had a second chance? How have you handled it?