Friday, February 15, 2013

Turning 33

For some reason, turning 33 really made me think about the duration of human life. It seems like just the other day I was turning 32. My children's birthdays seem to fly from one to the other. My husband and I are going on a cruise next month to celebrate our 10 year anniversary (on Carnival, nonetheless). It really does feel like the other day, and yet thinking of all the things that have happened in that decade makes me realize a lot of time has gone by. I have noticed it on my physical body as well. Even though I have probably never been more fit and healthy, I see the age spots on my face. I see the stomach that has carried two girls and will never look the way it did. I have acknowledged the fact that I will never go back to the day when I didn't know what a heart palpitation was. Sometimes when I see my young girls, I covet their youthful experience. When the best part of the day is eating a chocolate cupcake on your mom's birthday and the worst part of the day is when your tiny tinker bell snow globe breaks. That age of innocence is a brief breath of the human existence. We do grow indeed in stature, in wisdom, in heartache, in grief, and in joy. And at 33, I believe I'm sort of in the middle of it. You know you have to be somewhat old when your cake has only one candle on it. So there's no escaping time. As much as I want to freeze it and not let my girls get any bigger, I know it can't be so. The only thing we can do is embrace every moment and live in the present.

And in light of my birthday, I decided to change my blog design, add labels to ease search, and update my picture (the old pict of me was when I was 23). Hope you like the changes I made. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My bi-annual appointment

 Bi-annual: I've always been confused by this term. Meaning "happening twice every year" or "occurring every other year"? According to ye old internet, both are acceptable definitions. I try to go to my cardiologist every other year. Since my condition is benign, I probably don't have to go at all, but I always love the reassurance. And recently, the palpitations had been getting me down a bit and I've had a couple weird sleep disturbances (adrenaline rushes and breath holding incidences). So it was time to go back to the Doc's for a bi-annual check-up.

I love my cardiologist, do you? It took me many years and many different doctors before someone took the time to listen to me and reassure me with appropriate language. One of my first cardiologist was the type to quickly listen to my symptoms, give me a work-up (EKG, echocardiogram, holter monitor) and then deduce that I just needed to get a grip on my anxiety. "But Doctor," I would cry, "my anxiety is my heart palpitations." The second doctor I saw was a very nice guy. He was a bit of a grandfather figure whereby on the way out the door he would give me a hug and say something like, "I see people with serious heart problems every day. You should count yourself as one of the lucky ones." I know he meant well, but it made me feel small and silly. Finally, I found a wonderful cardiac electrophysiologist. He immediately took my condition serious because of some family history. At every visit, he will listen to my concerns, give me an EKG, look at my QT interval, discuss natural and medicinal approaches, and encourage me to keep working on not letting them get me down. He has great bedside manner--speaking with confidence and compassion. For example, I told him that I recently have had this morbid fear that I'm going to die in my sleep. We went over a previous sleep study I had done over 10 years a go, and then reassured me that he is absolutely certain that whatever is going on with me during my sleep is not a cardiac event. He said, "I can promise you that you are NOT going to die in your sleep." And then we laughed that well maybe it was something might happen when I'm in my 80s or 90s but not right now. And then of course, at that age, isn't that how everybody wants to go out?

Since that visit a week a go today, no more morbid thoughts. I've been sleeping better and feeling much more rested. And if I still continue to be bothered by sleep disturbances, he recommended two wonderful sleep specialists in my town. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 with a bang?

2012 was a pretty good year for me, in regards to how I dealt with stress, anxiety, and an occasional heart palpitation. 2013 came in with a bang, literally. My heart has been banging all over the place the last couple of weeks. I blame it on holiday stress, a change of routine and schedule, too many sugary treats, lack of exercise, and a lack of sunshine. And even though I have tried to heed all of my own healing advice the last week or so, nothing has changed. I'm still suffering with an abundance of pvc's and chronic tension headaches. I'd like to think of my body and my heart as somehow taking a beating at the end of last year (by overextending myself, traveling too much, and not giving myself enough rest and relaxation) and now I'm bruised. The harmful forces may be over, but the aftermath is not. I have to keep reminding myself that. My heart palpitations are not going to go away over night despite all the therapeutic things I can do for myself right now. I just have to keep plugging away at eating right, getting sleep, keeping my stress levels down (even if heart anxiety is the only thing that is plaguing me right now), breathing with awareness, etc. and have HOPE that things are going to get better soon. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. My physical and emotional body needs to heal first, and then my heart will find a more peaceful rhythm.

But man, this recent bout of ectopic beats has reminded me how much pvc's suck (for lack of a better word). They can be annoying as hell when you lay down to go to sleep in the evening. They can ruin a sweet moment with your child when you have an episode while reading to her. They can still scare the beejeezus out of me when I get all warm and nauseated after a particularly forceful one. They can come out of the blue. They can come when you are feeling blue. They can come whenever they damn well please. Go away, now, you pesky palpitations. I have been humbled.

How has your 2013 gone thus far? Any new years resolutions to take better care of yourself?

I hope and pray you have a happy healthy heart this year!