Saturday, October 09, 2010

Heart - from the pessimist hypochondriac

I read way too much.
I am overly sensitive to my body.
I have a tendency to blow things out of proportion and then have to restrain my thoughts, my feelings & my words back into what is true and real.
I love WebMD.
I love diagnosing little aches & pains and learning I probably have nothing.  When should I worry and when is it nothing?  What is the line to cross before heading to urgent care?

This has come in handy before: knowing the difference between a chest cold & bronchitis, ear infection & teething, a bad scrape on my achilles tendon or did I rupture it?

But when it came to my heart issues I read too much.  I asked for too much advice & listened to too many stories.  Heart palpitations are a symptom of virtually everything.  Anxiety, thyroid issues and just plain old living.  Specifically, the rhythm I was reading about, super tachycardia, stems from cocaine, noctine, caffeine & aspartane or a physical abnormality like a third electrode on the heart.

I was so worked up I actually believed that the only good news I would receive is that I have something physically wrong with my heart and would need surgery.  I was prepared to hear that I have heart disease or some sort of strange problem that would keep me on medication and I may die young.

The cardiologist did a quick little exam, checked all my meds & history, a little EKG and then said I was normal.  WHAT??  People with my particular rhythm usually find them a minor annoyance and there is nothing wrong with them.  Since my "annoying" rhythms were likely due to stress and then made worse by anti-anxiety medication, we should continue on the heart meds for 3 months, then wean off of them.  Most likely, the heart will be retrained by then and it will go back to being just an "annoying" problem as long as I handle stressful situations and anxiety in a better manner.

Sheesh.  I'm normal.  I was so not prepared for that.

It took me several days to hear that as good news.  My intuitions have been right so many times, and this time I was wrong.  Expensively wrong.  But still good to get monitored & have a professional tell me I was wrong.  Wrong being an okay thing.  Because being wrong about this means I'm perfectly fine.  I can enjoy vigorous workouts, have no fear of my heart trying to beat out of my chest or randomly stopping, no fears of early heart attacks!  Wrong is a good thing!  Being wrong is okay.  Being wrong is the right thing to be....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

heart issues

I'm just curious if anyone else already knows what is going on with me and maybe can warn me about what's ahead...

I've been having "heart palpitations" for years, I can't even remember how long except that it was during a pregnancy. I called my midwife to ask her why it would happen - it was never painful, never made me stop what I was doing and would come at random times regardless of activity or inactivity. She said it was just my heart making more blood volume for the pregnancy. Oh, okay.

Fast forward to last year.

Sometimes around last fall/winter I began to notice that these palpitations (it's a very fast pulse rate, like 160/minute and would last a few minutes) were really strong and I started to pay more attention to them. They continued to pop up out of nowhere, I could feel my heart trying to beat out of my chest, I check my pulse, sometimes I stop what I'm doing & sit or lie down but many times I don't change anything at all. It can be WHILE sitting on the couch, while grocery shopping, but never happened during exercise. For a while they came every day at 9:30 am. Sometimes they were related to stress like arguing with a child. Sometimes I had to sit & use relaxation techniques to keep calm and attempt to slow it down. Sometimes I would have nothing for days, sometimes daily. It had no pattern. Morning, evening, midday.

This August I began taking Paroxatine (Paxil) for depression & anxiety. For 3 weeks I had no palpitations at all. None. Then I had a minor panic attack trying to get AJ out of the Dumbo ride at Disneyland (he didn't want to get out) and it took me half an hour to calm my body down. I began to have palpitations almost every day and at one point I had 3-4 a day. DH told me to call my doc or he would. :( I was Rx'd Propanolol to slow my heart - 1-3 pills a day as needed.

After 3 weeks I went in for a checkup. Yes, I had no more palpitations (I was taking 1 pill a day) but could occasionally feel a tightness in my chest as if it would begin but not fully develop. Also I have been oh so tired... and gave up caffeine. I was told I could take 1/2 a pill if I wanted and take it at bedtime to ease the tiredness.

Today I had AJ at the mall for some play time.  We chased each other from the play area to the car, not far and not fast.  Once in the car I noticed my heart hadn't slowed down from the running.  I sat there maybe 5-10 minutes to calm down and had no change.  I began to drive home.  On the way I began to feel faint and needed to get home faster.  By the time I got home I was very nervous and headed straight for the Propanolol and the ouch.  1 pill and lying on my side, it took maybe 20 minutes to slow my heart rate.  It wasn't all that fast, but it just wouldn't stop.
DH made me call the doctor.  Now I've been reminded of signs of a heart attack and expect a call from the Cardiac Unit in a few days.  Apparently that never happens so I need to be careful.  No more driving while expecting to faint.  Duh...

Monday, September 20, 2010

update from Doc & other stuff

So I finally had my "6 weeks later" check up today.  Week 3, I think, on heart medication. Boo.  Apparently my lack of energy could be part of that.  So instead of taking just one of those buddies in the morning to take half at night and half in the morning or a whole one at night.  And she upped my dose of Paxil.  I was worried about that before hand but if we can get the two to work hand in hand (Paxil makes me energetic, the heart stuff makes me tired) and even each other out then it will be fine.  I was a little surprised she didn't want to actually test my heart and make me wear a heart monitor.  But oh well.  I'm on these babies for the next 3 months as long as nothing weird happens.

Honestly I AM a little perturbed that she didn't check on my heart thing.  Maybe it's better not to bother with it right now, just manage it until I get off the anti-anxiety that is probably causing it in the first place.  I don't know. 

I'm overdosing on ice cream right now.  Literally forcing myself to finish the bowl.  I probably had a decent 2/3 c. left when I wanted to stop.  Ugh...  And it's Moose Tracks so it's not like I WANT to stop.  But it met the craving and the craving is long gone now.  Hunger is still with me.  Weird. 

I can't believe I've stayed steady at 145 pounds since June.  I thought for sure once I got my appetite back I would gain weight.  But I haven't.  Stayed right around 145-148.

I read someone else's blog today about their experience at Scott Robert's NYC class.  It was beautiful and intimate.  Of course the imagery is fantastic but they're kind of textbook SR - night photography, OCF, 2 flashes, Cold/Hug/Ravage poses, bridal poses.  Then she opened up about having Scott critique her work and where it was lacking and how she just bawled for a long time and the things it woke in her.  THAT's the part I really identified with.  I felt that perhaps I was supposed to get that when I went to LA but missed out because I didn't take risks, was unprepared, too proud to admit my shortcomings, honestly just wasn't ready for that level of work, and David was there so I didn't want to exclude him...  So I'm mildly frustrated, yet uplifted knowing that someone else is going through that.  Someone felt despair after being critiqued and also became hopeful because of dealing with the critique.  I want to badly to do another workshop.  I know I can swing it financially, but I just can't see myself getting away for a week during the school year this year.  Maybe next year?  Do I need to spend another year just learning and practicing??  Maybe I do...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

doc again

Last week's appointment got moved to this coming Monday.  Ugh...  So I should have something to say in a few days.

Monday, September 13, 2010

doc tomorrow

Tomorrow is my 6 week check up since my last one. 
But now they know about my heart racing thing.
I kind of want a higher dose of Paxil or something similar to it so I can go back to being super energetic...  Pathetic.
But where I am now I don't have tons of patience, it's quite a lot of work.  I'm not very energetic but I'm not wiped out all the time.
I'm not overwhelmed by life and leaving the house.

Will had half a day suspension today (only his 4th day of school) and I haven't cried over it yet.  I still want to but there kind of isn't a point.  The school was simply doing the exact same thing I would do - remove him until he's ready to be compliant.  I have to do that all the time.  And it's not like it's a "3 suspensions then expulsion" rule.  They've being quite awesome and supportive.  So the only reason I have to cry is my own pride.  Skoda.

I don't really know what to expect of tomorrow.  Just tell them how I feel now.  Run down the last 6 weeks.  Offer to wear a heart monitor I guess....