The stress of trying to work my way up the corporate ladder took its toll on my health. Working long hours and striving to “achieve” caused a lot of stress, which developed into
problems with my heart. I was weak, dizzy and light headed most of the time. I remember going to aerobic class and taking my pulse and she’d always tell me I must be wrong, so I thought I just didn’t know how to take my pulse properly. Now I know different. This was in my early to mid twenties when this all started.
The palpitations just got worse and worse. I was weak all the time and would get head rushes every time I stood up. My heart pounded so hard, you could literally see my clothes move. I used to hide it by holding things over my chest thinking everyone could see my heart. When I would walk up the stairs and get to the top, I had to nonchalantly go really slow to catch my breath. I was more shy back then and didn’t really tell anyone how bad it was.
I knew the importance of good health. So, I was eating good food, exercised daily and thought I was doing everything I could. But I was still weak all the time due to my super fast heart rate.
When I first went in to get tested, they thought it was my mitral valve (which it wasn’t). Years later I went in again and had an electrophysiology test done. That was no fun at all. I told them I wanted a family someday and was told due to my heart issues, I couldn’t. They told me I wasn’t getting enough oxygen, so the baby wouldn’t either and could have birth defects. That’s all I was told. They recommended a drug, but when I looked at the side effects, I thought – no way. I could’ve ended up worse than what I was. I certainly didn’t want that. So I lived with it for 10 years.
I felt frustrated because the Dr’s. didn’t understand how bad I was – they just didn’t believe me when I told them. That’s part of the reason I just kept it to myself all those years. My boyfriend (now husband) convinced me to have surgery. It was no picnic, but I had it done and felt like a new person – for 2 weeks. It came back. I thought I was imagining it, because when you feel so bad for so long it is normal for you. It was weird for me not to be dizzy and have head rushes. After a week, I realized it is true – it is back. I called the hospital and they told me to come in and have a Holter monitor put on. I had never heard of a Holter monitor before. When I went in, they hooked me up. The nurse said – press this when you have a symptom. I said – I have a symptom all the time. She rolled her eyes at me and said just press it when you have a symptom. I didn’t care for her attitude, but thought whatever, I’ll just try to pick and choose when to press it. After 24 hours, I went back in to have it taken off. She said they would call in a few days. I got a call from my surgeon within an hour. He was in shock. He kept saying – Oh my God – do you know how fast your heart rate is – Oh my God. Your average heart rate is 213 beats a minute and it was up to 240. I said, yes I know. He said – can you come in this Friday and have the surgery over again. I said no because I couldn’t get off of work that soon and find someone to drive me. The hospital was in a different state from where I was living. He said – I can’t get you in until September (3 months away). I said OK. I’ll just come then. He said – how are you going to live that way for that long. I laughed. I said I’ve been living this way for 10 years. What’s another 3 months. I have to tell you – it felt good that someone finally believed me and could see it on paper.
I had the second surgery and guess what – it came back again within about 6 weeks. It wasn’t as severe – my heart rate was more like 160 – 180 (which is really high, but not as bad as 213). I was still very weak and dizzy a lot – just like before. I went in the hospital month after month, test after test for one year. Now looking back, I was a guinea pig. My doctors were working with the world specialists in that area and they couldn’t figure out what was going on with me. It was very frustrating.
A year after my second surgery, I did something very simple that changed my life.
P.S. If you want to hear more, click here.
P.P.S. I was able to have a daughter who is incredibly healthy – who is now 12 years old!