Saturday, July 31, 2010

Me Day

Everybody needs a day to themselves every once in awhile, especially people that suffer from chronic anxiety and stress related palpitations. After another busy week playing host to my dear sweet sister-in-law, I was ready for a break this weekend. My husband took my young daughter and headed out of town to his parent's house today. That meant I got a Me Day. I started my day by going to get a pedicure with a friend. Then, it was off to the grocery store. Now, that might not sound like too much fun to you, but you have to believe me, it is when you are WITHOUT child. I came home and after fixing me a yummy lunch, I fell asleep for a couple hours. I woke up and decided I wanted to go swimming. Again, swimming is a completely different experience when you aren't worrying about swim diapers and flotation devices. I lounged by the pool and read a good book. I then came home and took a shower. I actually had time to put in a hot oil treatment and scrub my face. I even started singing in the shower--since no one was around to hear it. Now, I'm trying to decide what steamy romance to watch tonight. I could feel my stress level drop every hour today. I'm thankful to my husband for giving me such a wonderful treat.

No palpitations for me today. :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

They're back, and I'm back

My respite from palpitations a couple months a go has given way to a vengeance of them the last couple of weeks. Last Saturday evening, I had the worst case of them I've had in years. I had just laid down to go to sleep when they started to rear their ugly heads. The end of a day seems to be a common trigger for many of my palpitations. I'm not sure if I'm just not feeling them during the day and then when I go lay down, I start to notice them or if they are just they byproduct of a long stressful day. Usually, I believe it's the latter. A couple whumps later, I can tell my anxiety level starts to rise. I start to practice my deep breathing, but then my mind starts to play little tricks on me like "Uh oh, what if they don't stop? What if I start getting more of them? What if I have to go the hospital?" And as soon as that negative anticipatory anxiety starts, I get more and more of them. Pretty soon, I was in bigeminy or trigeminy where I started getting them every other or every third beat. I would exacerbate the condition when I started putting pressure on myself to "beat these pvcs" after all I'm an expert on them now, right??? I continued to deep breathe and then decided I would try talking to my husband for distraction. I started telling him all the things I had on my plate right now and all the stresses and worries I'm dealing with. That helped a lot and before I knew it, a gentle peace enveloped me and I fell asleep. I remember waking up around 3 a.m. in the morning excited that I had gotten some sleep and that the pvc's were no longer bothering me. Every time I'm successful at accepting and dealing with them, I'm encouraged that I do have the power to make them stop. I don't need a magic pill or a doctor to help me through them. I have me. My mind and attitude is my greatest ally.

But even after that successful night of stopping them, palpitations continued to bother me off and on throughout the week. It was the week before my period was to begin, and I firmly believe (although some male doctors won't admit it) that the fluctuating hormones played a role in the abundance of pvc's that I experienced this week. I also went out of town for a week and although vacation can be relaxing, just the change of routine, most likely contributed to them. I got back late yesterday and instead of relaxing and taking it easy I went over to a friend's party. As I was sitting outside in the hot and humid late afternoon sun she handed me a Mexican martini. I knew I was dehydrated and should have been drinking water, but I started to sip on the alcohol anyway. A couple minutes later, whump...whump...whump. My heart was skipping in a dance. We excused ourselves early. I went home and took a shower. They were still bothering me but when I sat up in a meditative pose and started to breathe in and out fully to counts of 3, 4, 5 and they started to diminish. My husband came in and gave me a back massage and once again, I started talking through all my worries. And guess what? The palpitations disappeared after an hour or so. I was able to go to sleep without any trouble and woke up late the next morning feeling refreshed and energized.