Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mardy Fish

I often like to highlight athletes, celebrities, and other famous people on my blog who suffer from heart palpitations. Mainly I like to do it to show that we're not alone. And that even the rich and famous get these pesky misbeats. And even the healthy and extremely fit, get the dance, too. Most recently I saw that Mardy Fish, a highly ranked American tennis player was extremely bothered by heart palpitations and even got a cardiac catheter ablation procedure to correct the faulty wiring in his heart. USA Today Sports covered his story online - Mardy Fish on Mend, Ready to Take on Wimbledon. Basically, Fish like so many of us sufferers, thought his heart might stop and rendered him unable to sleep alone for weeks. Even after the ablation, Fish "hasn't completely shaken the anxiety it caused." Oh, so true. That anxiety that accompanies heart palpitations is so hard to shake. With time, however, you can learn to accept that heart palpitations in and of themselves aren't dangerous. It took a long time to reprogram my brain to not freak out every time I got a pvc. Most of the time now I do a pretty good job of calming myself down and not working myself up about them. So Fish, you may not have won Wimbledon, but you certainly can win over the fear of your heart arrhythmia.

Post script: I thought it was very interesting that in the article it links to another one written about Fish recovering from a "Scary Heart Ailment." It's precisely language similar to that which gets people so freaked out about heart palpitations. I always wish they would give some reassurance to people that might suffer from something similar.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mother's Day

Years a go, when I was in the worst state of my panic regarding my heart palpitations, I feared even taking a walk down the street. Since then, I've come far. I've tried P90X, dance aerobics, swimming, biking, and jogging. All of them have been good for me, but I haven't really loved it. Until recently, when my friend Laura got me to try Hot Yoga. I've done a gentle restorative yoga for years, but it has always been in a comfortable air-conditioned setting. I resisted and resisted her invitations to try Bikram yoga. I mean if I really want to work out in 90-100 degrees, all I need to do is step outdoors. Plus, I've always had this secret fear that the extra heat and humidity would put me in some risk for a cardiac event. But despite having lost all the weight I needed to lose postpartum, my tummy is looking a bit stretched out and sad. So I finally decided to try a Hot yoga class in hopes of helping firm and tuck those areas that need it. With trepidation, I tried my first Earth class. 90 degree heat, 60 minutes later, and half a cup sweat and tears, I made it through my first class. The result? It was positively reinvigorating. Since then I've gone back several times. When I thought about what I wanted my mother's day to look like, I told my husband that I was going to skip church and try another yoga class. Seriously it was the best present I could have gotten. An hour of me time doing the thing that makes me feel great. I love my girls, but ironically, on mother's day of all days, I love when I'm away from them. To make it even sweeter, I came home to an empty house, took a shower without hearing any cries or whines, checked my mailbox and discovered the newest "O" magazine. Hey, I've been lonely without my Oprah on network t.v. Here's to "O", Hot yoga, a glass of wine, and no kids! Happy Mother's Day to all my mommy readers.

p.s. My husband just got home and surprised me with a Dyson vacuum cleaner!! Should I be offended? Nah, it's a Dyson! Awesome!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

To God be the Glory

I'm normally not a fan of any blog posting that gushes about how wonderful their husband is, how amazing their children are, or how awesome their life is. To me, it always seems a bit like bragging when it's on the ye old internet. But today I'm going to go a bit crazy and do a little public praising. Not to the mere mortals in my life, but to the God above, below and around.

Thank you God for providing me with a life partner that has supported me in health and in sickness. Nine years a go we took a vow and have fervently tried to uphold it.

Thank you God for each and every day that I am able to get up and take care of my children. The peace of mind and remission from palpitations has been a gift that I do not take for granted.

Thank you God for little baby laughs and toddler kisses. My youngest daughter is 4 months old now and has brought immeasurable joy to my life. Her easy going spirit is so refreshing. My toddler is feisty but I love that she won't be a pushover in life. She carries her emotions on her sleeves.

Thank you God for a family that lives near to me. Thank you for their guidance, support, and love. And thank you that they are always so willing to watch my children.

Thank you God for surrounding me with loving friends. Friends who have stuck by me, laughed with me, and cared for me.

Thank you God for the rain you are sending as I type this post. After a year of drought, it is so refreshing to hear the pitter patter of water falling and the wildflowers that have bloomed as a result.

Thank you God for sending your Son, Jesus the Christ, with whom we'd be nothing but dust without.

To God be the glory, great things He has done; so loved He the world that He gave us His Son, who yielded His life an atonement for sin, and opened the life gate that all may go in.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Most Frequent Causes of Palpitations

1. Exercise
2. Stress
3. Anxiety or fear
4. Smoking
5. Alcohol
6. Too much coffee, tea or carbonated drinks
7. Diet pills
8. Nose decongestants
9. Inhalers for asthma
10. Anti-depressive medication
11. Certain illnesses such as anemia
12. Certain heart diseases (arrhythmia)
13. Thyroid problems
14. Menstruation
15. Lack of B vitamins
16. Low levels of blood sugar
17. Diabetes out of control

What cause is bothering you right now???

site: The Diabetes Club

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Hormone Connection

I've always believed that hormones play a role in the level of heart palpitations I experience. Whether it be an increased level of stress, menstrual or pregnancy hormones, the pacemaker in my heart has often responded with more paused, heavy beats. And although I've known for several years now that I'm predisposed towards Type II diabetes (because my father is diabetic and I was gestational diabetic with both my girls), I hadn't fully realized the hormone connection between insulin and my heart palpitations until recently. In my previous post, I mentioned that I was in a sugar detox/weight loss program. 2 months later and 10 pounds lighter, I'm still going strong. I have greatly reduced the number of processed sugars and carbohydrates in my diet. After reading what I believe is must-read for everybody, "Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It" by Gary Taubes, I was even more convicted in the belief that an abundance of carbohydrates in our Western diet has had detrimental consequences to our health and well being. I can honestly say that despite having a 3 month old and a 3 year old, I have never felt more energized and healthy. Better yet, I haven't had a bout of palpitations since I started the detox. Do I claim that this is the cure for heart palpitations? Certainly not. As I mentioned before, I believe that many different hormones play a role in our experience of the dance. I also believe that for whatever reason, we will have periods in our life, where we are not bothered by them as much. Luck, blessing, or discovery, I'll take the respite anyway I can get it. And you might think that sugar doesn't effect you and/or you might not be overweight, but it might be worth it to look into reducing your total carbohydrates in your diet. Ask your doctor of course.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sugar Detox

Okay so I have an additional 6 pounds to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. In addition, I would like to lose an additional 7 pounds to put me at my ideal weight. So I'd like to lose 13 pounds in all. Coupled with the fact that after delivery and gestational diabetes, Christmas came around and I ate way too much sugar (my mil made 8 different batches of cookies), I've decided to try a sugar detox program. I've always known that I was sensitive to sugar but it really hit home this Halloween. While my friends and I were enjoying a pedicure, a bowl of candy corn was brought out. As I dove in for handfuls, some of my friends started making comments about how gross candy corn is. One of my friends said she could only eat one because they are so sickeningly sweet. The others nodded. I told them I could probably eat the entire bowl. That's when I started thinking about it. Chocolate, Peeps, sweethearts, ice cream, birthday cake, pie, jelly beans, etc. If it's got sugar in it, I'd eat it. So after Christmas, I decided it was time to try to detox from refined sugar and simple carbs. I started reading, "The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program" by Kathleen DesMaisons after it got rave reviews on Amazon. I officially went off overt sugar and all white foods December 27. I'm curious to see how detoxing from sugar will effect my body and mood. I've lost weight already and can tell my stomach looks flatter. I've had a bit more energy, which is a real plus since I'm having to take care of two little girls now. No headaches, and no major bouts of palpitations. Just a little depressed every evening after dinner since I miss having dessert. I hope to go 3 months strong without eating any sugar. After that, I have to watch my sugar addiction for another 6 months before I might be able to eat a cookie without wanting another dozen. My overall goal is not to go off sugar forever, but just to be able to get to a place where I can eat a handful of M&Ms without feeling like I need more. Wish me luck.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Delivery Room

My beautiful and healthy (praise God) daughter was born November 17, 2011. We are all doing extremely well. A bit sleep deprived, but adjusting well to a family of four. My older daughter is in love with her new baby sister and has been a great helper. Labor was a bit more difficult than with my first as I labored a lot longer without an epidural. After experiencing intense contractions 3-5 minutes apart for over 8 hours, it was time the anesthesiologist came in. As he started prepping me, he started asking me the standard questions, such as have I ever had heart disease, etc. Seldom do doctors ask about heart arrhythmia per say so I went ahead and started filling him in. While groaning through contractions, I spoke of PVCs, and of bigeminy, of my cousin and possible Long QT in our family. I mumbled stuff about tachycardia and fibrillation. That's when the anesthesiologist looked up from his paper he was taking notes on and asked "Are you a nurse?" I asked why he thought I was one and he told me that the terms I was throwing out made it seem like I had a medical background. Ha! Nope, I've just experienced these little buggers for so long, and I have wanted to educated myself about my heart. I actually took it as a great compliment. You always hear that you have to be your biggest health advocate and the fact that I was able to convey my medical history (even in great pain) made me proud. The epidural took and less than 2 hours later and a few pushes, my daughter was out. Recovery has been relatively easy, and post partum I haven't experienced too many premature ventricular contractions - medical jargon for "the dance". I bet the anesthesiologist would have even gotten a greater kick out of it if he had known I blog about the subject.