Let me just say this stress stuff is for the birds. Evidently, while I don’t think my stress is more than I can handle, it obviously is. And the medication my doctors had me on proved to be too much for me (possibly with the weight loss) that left me feeling completely horrible a few Sundays ago which led to me first calling my mom so my son wouldn’t be scared and then dialing 911.
Panic disorders (as I’ve been diagnosed with after a pretty minor wreck that uncovered a spinal cord injury in my neck – also introduced me to my very first panic attack not too long after) are very scary and very real. For anyone not knowing what these are or what they feel like… all I can say is I would never wish them on my worst enemy (not that I even really have one of those…) Anyway- for me they follow the same signs and symptoms as a heart attack. It can be in the most un-stressful situations (watching a movie, hanging with my son, relaxing by the pool, or even just sleeping!) and I start feeling strange. I start with this heavy feeling, my arm goes numb or tingles, extreme pressure in my chest, and difficulty breathing. The first thought is, “This is it. I am about to die.” Even knowing now that it’s probably just a panic attack… that initial thought is always the same.
I’ve learned ways to try to control it. My doctor has prescribed me medicine. These strategies don’t always work. It’s those times that it seems like well maybe I’m wrong… maybe this really is a heart attack this time. I asked the ER doctor about this while I was there. His response, “This won’t be the last time I see you in the ER. When your panic attacks present the way they do and you feel you’ve done what you can do… it is just better to be safe than sorry.” He said I wasn’t alone. Everyday they see patients in the ER for the exact same reasons.
I also have mitral valve prolapse which sometimes effects the outcome of my EKGs. So when the fire rescue arrived at my house (8 very nice men – and good looking too) were all in my room taking my vitals and what not. My EKG was off. They asked if I’d like to take an ambulance ride to the ER. I was hesitant at first.. Do I really need to, I asked. And the guy looked at me and said, “Only you know. But there are some things that are a little concerning and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.” He said if I didn’t want to go now. If I wanted to rest and see if I start feeling better but didn’t get better, I could always call them and they would be right back here for me. But I didn’t want to put them out again for coming back and I didn’t feel much better, so I chose the ride.
The ride is a pretty scary thing. I’m no fan of needles but was stuck in the arm in a moving vehicle going over potholes and whatnot. Ouch is all I can say. The stuff he had me chew (nitrate & aspirin) should come with a small sip of water. Yuck. But you lie there looking around feeling the tragedies and the emergencies that no doubt took place in the same place that you are lying now. It’s definitely a major reality check to take better care of yourself… you only get this one life.
The hospital revealed another abnormal EKG, they did an x-ray, gave me more meds, took blood work. And ruled out a heart attack! He wanted me to follow up with my doctor and take the next day to rest but after some time, I was released. That next day – I slept for 20 of the 24 hrs. No time to call my doctor as I barely felt that I could do anything. So the next day I called. They scheduled me to come in that Friday for tests. Just take another day to rest… obviously, my body needed it. I slept all but maybe 6 or 7 hrs. Wednesday I woke up and forced myself to get to work. Surely, I had plenty of rest… I’d lost almost 2 days to sleep. But an hour into work… I wasn’t feeling right. I called my doctor and they said come on in. While the nurse was taking my vitals, the machine for my heart rate was sounding its alarm. She said did they say anything about a low heart rate at the ER? Not that I remember, I said. Well its at 48. That’s really low. But finally (I’m sure because that just scared me and I started my panic) it went up and she took me to my room. I had to wait about 20-30 minutes for the doctor and for another EKG. This time my heart rate had dropped back down to 47. He said, I think possibly with your weight loss, your medicine is too strong. I am cutting everything in half. Let’s see if that helps things. Take the rest of the week and rest. Don’t over exert, don’t put yourself in stressful situations, just rest. So, I did. It’s quite boring to be a couch potato when you’re told to be.
I know I’ve just written a novel it seems… just wanted you all to know what’s going on… why it seems I’ve been MIA. I’m just trying to focus on staying calm and resting when I can. I go back to the doctor soon. I’ll keep you updated. I’m doing my best to make the best choices I can… but I have not been on plan. It’s hard when you are asleep for some of the meal times! I am feeling a bit better (though last night another episode- thankful for my boyfriend that can keep me calm even over the phone! He doesn’t realize how much he helped…) and plan to start regular SHRED as soon as possible.
Hope you all are doing well, staying healthy, and SHREDDING on!! Just remember to listen to your body… it really is always better to be safe than sorry!!
Much love- Lindsay