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!

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