Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013...in 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!


Freya Deeds said...

Ali, nice to hear I'm not alone. :) These little buggers invaded me, too, and I'd being lying if I said it's hard not to feel down about it. But I'm trying, and seeing how upbeat you are about it give me hope! Thanks so much.

Ali said...

I had to learn the hard way, unfortunately. 10 years a go these frequent episodes would have gotten me really down. I mean way down.[I also think just knowing that I've had them for a long time and I'm still around helps immensely!] It was the ultimate conundrum. I was afraid I was going to die because of them, but I was also afraid to live with them. Now, I know that the only way to make them better in the long run is to stay mostly upbeat and keep doing all the healthy things you know how to do. And don't expect relief immediately. Yesterday, I had a bunch of them, but I kept at my healthy resolutions and tried not to dwell on them. Today,the sun came out in Austin, and I haven't felt a pesky misbeat once. Hooray! Good luck with your own relief! Try breathing into a count of 4, hold your breath for 7, and then exhale to a count of 8. Do this for a few minutes. My favorite breathing exercise.

Stock said...

I had to laugh when I saw this just because the past few weeks have been pesky for me too. Must be something in the air right now.

I've had these things plaguing me for about 10 years. I had them for about 2 years, then they actually went away for about 3 years, and then I've had them again for the last 5.

Anyways, during the last 5 years, I've gone all 'engineer' on the situation and kept track of the rough number of skipped beats along with weather, diet, exercise, illness, weight, resting heart rate, and life events.

Every year I see a peak around this time of year. I think that's for a few reasons.

For one, it's a tough time: the stress of the holidays, having kids in school, the horrible weather, and lack of sun.

But second, I think illness has a big part. There's tons of colds and flu going around. I always have a huge bout of PVCs for a day or two after the peak of a sickness. And there are times when I don't get sick but I think my body is fighting something off.

One of the hardest things sometimes is not knowing when or why these things happen ... like an unexpected shock. I've found that correlating them to certain things helps me know when then are going to come. The correlations aren't always obvious. For me they've only become obvious through some intense record keeping and unfortunately now having gotten very sensitive to getting them.

For me, illness, suddenly stopping intense exertion, getting in an argument, getting stressed, or when my body is recovering the day after a long hard workout are the times when I'm almost guaranteed to see some bouts.

Right now, maybe its just the weather, post holiday stress, and the immune system fighting off everything thats flying around!

Ali said...

Ah yes, illness abounds. It's all around us. My family has had a cold for over a month now. I have been pretty lucky, but supposedly when I went to the chiropractor's the other day, my lymph nodes were super swollen. Hoping it's just a sign that my immune system is fighting all the nasties and not that I'm about to get sick. But yes, I always get a lot more heart palpitations when I'm coming down with something. I think it's awesome that you keep track of all your triggers. Women usually have to add premenstrual symptoms every month! I'm all about knowledge. So if you know what bothers your heart, all the more power to you. But if you find your list of triggers grows so long, and you start to feel super restrictive, try to start meditating about letting it all go. The need for control, the need for answers, the need for a cure. Let that all go. Only then can you achieve peace. Just my two cents. :) Happy Friday!

cassi said...

You have hit the nail on the head for me. two weeks off work, no routine, no exercise, sugary treats and then the stress of returning to work, waking up early and the healthy diet has left me with non stop palps to the point of distraction. I have booked in to see my cardio next week cause its been a while since my last checkup but Im pretty sure their gonna tell me everythings fine. I think its the vagus nerve connection - I allowed a lot of 'naughty' foods back in over the holidays and gained a few kilos belly fat and have bloating etc. Today I am going to fast and hit the restart on my diet for tummy and see how it goes.

icslaub said...

Hi, my name is Isabel and I have been reading your blog for a little while now. I have been suffering from PVC's for about 5 years now. I am a naturally anxious person, which doesn't help my cause, despite so many trips to the doctor and cardiologist about my palpitations and tests, etc, and them telling me that there's nothing wrong with my heart and that ectopics are common and nothing to worry about. They are so horrible though and I certainly wouldn't wish them on anybody. I am a lot calmer about them than I used to be, but at the moment, I am 36 weeks pregnant with my first baby and I have been feeling them more than ever. I had (another) holter monitor when I was about 26 weeks just to check that nothing had changed and it came back 'normal' and just showing ectopics which I was again told not to worry about. I so wish there was a magic pill that would just take them away forever. Since I've been pregnant, they have been making me a lot more anxious, especially dealing with all the other symptoms and changes that pregnancy brings along with it. And I have huge (probably irrational) fears about the labour and how my heart is going to handle it, if I'm going to have to deal with palpitations on top of the contractions and hoping that I don't have a heart attack or something! Yes, probably sounds totally irrational, but that is my hugest fear at the moment. Which really sux as it's preventing me from feeling excited about the birth and meeting my baby for the first time. Anyway, fingers crossed it all goes well and thank you for this blog - it certainly helps to read about other people's experiences and to feel that you're not alone :)

MoonDog said...

Wow, am I glad I stumbled upon this gem of a blog! I find your entries to be very insightful and well put together. It's hard finding relevant information from the mouths of people who live with PVCs.

Like you, 2013 has seen an increase in my PVCs. I agree that it must be having to do with the time of year, and all of the ick that's floating about. As it stands right now, my PVCs are revved up due to having a touch of the flu. Unfortunately, my PVCs have lately been triggering what's called PATs. An episode of tachycardia that, at first, scared the daylights out of me (seriously, thought I was having a heart attack or something!). Several tests and cardiologists visits later, I found that like the PVCs, they are benign and yet another electrical malfunction I just have to live with. While I've overcome a great deal of stress with the PVCs, now knowing they won't kill me, I have the PATs freaking me out. It's hard to stay stress free when your heart goes from skipped beats to race horse speeds. I've passed out twice because of them.

I'm very glad I found your site and can take in all of the information provided to help relieve the stress. I plan on trying to follow your example, and some of the advice offered by other posters, to see if I can avoid (or put off) the medication my doctor has recommended. I don't know about anyone else, but I hate the idea of drugging up to slow my heart down to a normal pace. I'd much rather find more holistic remedies that will be easier on my mind and body!

Thanks for the reminder that we're not alone in this struggle against our "dancing" hearts. :)

Mrs. Aranda said...

Hi Ali! I'm so happy to read your wonderful writing again! It's always interesting to read your posts and all the comments they inspire. Several comments hit close to home today. First, Stock's comment: "... getting stressed, or when my body is recovering the day after a long hard workout are the times when I'm almost guaranteed to see some bouts." YES!! I have to remind myself that it'll be ok and that I NEED to continue working out! And second, your follow up comment: " ...if you find your list of triggers grows so long, and you start to feel super restrictive, try to start meditating about letting it all go." Again, YES!! That is what I have decided to do this year. After 12 years of dealing with Lone AFib, PACs and PVCs, my resolution is to let it go as best as I can. These pesky palpitations have always had a way of restricting my life. I would hesitate to work out for fear of dying. I would not want to drive by myself for fear of having an episode in the car. Well enough is enough! Guess what I did yesterday?? I drove 1 1/2 hours away from home, alone, and became Zumba licensed! It was an 8 hour, strenuous training, but I survived! Today my heart is stubbornly reminding me that it too likes to "dance", but you know what...it makes it easier if I remember that often times it goes haywire without physical activity so at least today I KNOW why my heart is trying to salsa and merengue in my chest! So, this year I hope to move more by teaching Zumba a couple times a week, eating healthier foods, hopefully lose the weight I think may add to my cardiac stress, and just try to live life as fully as possible. As always, thank you for your informative and inspirational posts and for connecting us to each other. This journey is a bit easier knowing there are others out there feeling what we feel. Wishing you and your family the best this new year!

All My Best,

JasonMChicago said...

Ali I was searching for Vagus Nerve issues and ran across your site. Please consider getting tested for LYME DISEASE BY A LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor).

I had hear palpitations and numerous EKGs since 2005 and I finally got diagnosed with Lyme in 2012 and got treatment and the heart palpitations are all gone! (the only reliable way to get tested is through an LLMD. Regular doctos are not able to diagnosis Lyme. You should also get a test through IGENEX.COM for blood work.

Lyme can manifest in MANY MANY MANY different ways for different people.

A google search for "PVC and Lyme Disease" results in 3 Million hits!!!!!! https://www.google.com/#hl=en&tbo=d&q=pvc+and+lyme+disease&sa=X&ei=1uwTUeG8No_zqQGnhYGADw&ved=0CC0Q7xYoAA&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42080656,d.b2I&fp=94f15d20714fd1c1&biw=1011&bih=515

Anyway I will continue to look at the Vagus Nerve article that I originally came to this site for but I just had to mention this. :)


Ali said...

Oh, I feel the love, everyone. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Cassi, I hope your cardiologist appointment went well and you were able to get some reassuring advice. And good luck with the diet. I know it's hard to kick-start a diet after eating all the yummy holiday treats. I'm still having a hard time adjusting to no sugary treats. It seems like there is always an occasion to indulge...

Isabel, I wish I could give you a hug. I had those exact same fears when I was pregnant. I think what helped was scouring the internet and finding that a lot of women who have palpitations have that fear. And when it came to labor and delivery, most every woman would say that their heart did fine during that time. And mine? My heart responded as the strong muscle it is. No problems. My labor and delivery went as smooth as can be. And even post-partum I feared them, but despite taking care of a newborn and getting very little sleep, my heart was steady. Maybe a few misbeats here and there, but nothing that I couldn't handle. Take care Isabel. And let me know when you have that precious baby of yours.

Moondog, you made my day. To call my blog a "gem" just brightened up my mood. I always strive to be honest with my readers and encourage hope. I remember when I first started getting palpitations years a go, I would search the internet and find these people in their 60s and 70s complaining about palpitations and telling the newbies that they never get better and they still fear them. How horrible is that? Mine still might be present but I refuse to live my whole life afraid of them. I never want a reader to think that just because you have heart palpitations you are doomed to live an uncomfortable and fearful life. And I'm so sorry about the PAT. I hope you can get some relief. I'm all for natural remedies, but if they continue to bother you, medication might not be an enemy.

Mrs. Aranda, thanks for being a faithful follower. And you go girl! I'm so proud of you for driving in the car (a past fear of mine as well)and getting licensed in Zumba!! How cool is that? What a great way to exercise and stay healthy. I recently started doing hot yoga at least 3 times a week. And I used to be terrified to do hot yoga. Isn't it amazing how our souls long to try new things and get over our fears? I pray that this truly is the healthiest year yet for you!

Jason, it's funny you posted the connection between Lyme disease and PVCs. I've been having some adrenaline surges at night while I'm sleeping and when I took a look on the internet, I would often stumble upon Lyme disease. When you say you got treatment for Lyme, what exactly did that entail? But that's great that your PVCs have subsided. Thanks for stopping by.