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Stressed Out

Apr 20

Posted by: ACHA
4/20/2012 10:46 AM  RssIcon

By Jennifer Gooden

Stress tests. Many of us ACHDers have had one. We have walked them, ran them, huffed and puffed our way through them. Any way we can, we just get them done. My first—and to date, only—stress test was done about four years ago. And I failed with flying colors. Seriously, people, it was an epic fail.

I in no way, shape or form consider myself an athlete. I take the occasional swim, play on the elliptical or even hit up a BodyPump class—super fun by the way—but let’s face it, I am out of shape. Is it because I don’t exercise regularly or the whole “heart thing”? Both? Who knows. But I am scheduled for another stress test in July. And I am stressed out about it.

My last stress test lasted all of 13 minutes. Afterwards I was gasping for air, exhausted, and then I puked. Awesome. I overexerted myself, like I frequently do when I try to prove myself or show that I am “normal.” To bruise my pride even more, my mom had to drive me home while I slept in the back seat with an ice pack on my head. Nice.

This time I really want to do better but I am seriously stressed out about it. I don’t want to overexert myself. I don’t want to puke. I don’t want my husband—or mother—to have to come and drive me home. So I am starting to walk three days a week, building up my stamina. I started out at about 15 minutes of walking but now I am up to 20, and I see the progress. I know that my stress test won’t be all walking, but it has to help, right? Walking also helps me deal with the stress of the upcoming stress test. Ironic, huh?

Have you ever had a stress test? How’d it go? What stresses you out and how do you cope? Do you know what else helps me deal with the stress? Comfort food, like this low fat fettuccine alfredo!

Jen and Ziggy’s Fettuccine Alfredo


1 bag tofu noodles
2 Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges (in Light Swiss)
Italian seasoning, basil and black pepper to taste


  1. Drain and rinse your noodles well.
  2. Pat noodles dry very well with paper towels.
  3. Microwave noodles for about two minutes.
  4. Pat dry again.
  5. Break up cheese wedges and mix them in the noodles.
  6. Sprinkle with seasonings as desired.

**Feel free to add broccoli for a bit of veggies or even some shrimp**

Jennifer Gooden is an emergency department nurse who was born with transposition of the great arteries, as well as other congenital heart defects. She and her husband Ziggy are working on transitioning to a more healthy lifestyle. Read more about their adventures in and out of the kitchen at their blog.

Location: Blogs Parent Separator ACHA Blog

4 comment(s) so far...


Re: Stressed Out

I have had a couple of stress tests. With the first, I was very out of shape and was embarrassed more about that which is what probably stressed me out. The 2nd stress test was with the purpose of generating symptoms -- and I was much thinner and I was not stressed about being "out of shape". I lasted much longer because I had, like Jennifer our Blogger - started working out and getting healthier. I do not know if I passed or failed either test--- but it was an event for sure!! Here is what stresses me out most of all... the process of which I/we have to go through to get these test done. The Insurance companies and the Dr offices and the hurry up and wait. The lack of communication and Depts who do not talk to each other. I spend so much time do their job ahead of time!! It is their job and they get paid to do the scheduling, the benefit assignment, the arranging, etc... but yet I am doing the smiling and dialing!!! What?? I have spent hours trying to get office personnel to talk to each other... Just today, trying to get my heart cath scheduled with my new insurance carrier--- I could not get a straight answer between member services and provider services and could not get the Insurance Auth person at the Hospital to talk to the right people at the Insurance Co... really is this my job? I should be paid!! Only to be told by the Hospital Insurance Auth person that she has other things she needs to be doing and she has been working on this all day! Wow. Do these people not know that they are working with ill people?? This is the kind of stress we do not need!! Everyone we meet is dealing with something--- and in a Heart & Vascular Center, or any medical community--- those that have chosen to make it their livelihood-- they need to remember that these are patients they are dealing with and they must give their 100% plus to each and every one... if they cannot do that, they need to find a different industry to earn a living - where they do not have to deal with people.

Jennifer, keep walking, build up that stamina, strength- and confidence-- you will do so much better on that stress test, but you will feel so much better most of all... Best wishes!!

By Renee Sanders on   4/20/2012 1:03 PM

Re: Stressed Out

Gotcha! My first stress test was awful. I was out of condition and the tech kept saying, Keep going, keep going. Finally I stepped off the treadmill and stood on the edges. He said, Don't step off, so I stepped back on, then back off. I couldn't go any longer. I never had pushed myself like that in my entire life. All my life when I got tired, I rested, then I continued.
So, like you, I walked and got somewhat in condition. Second time wasn't as bad. So, walking definitely will help, or it should.
Now I walk nearly every day for at least 20 minutes. Sometimes it's a brisk walk, so I have to increase distance to equal 20 min's. - a nice thing! Sometimes I just take my time - depends what I've done prior, and how tired I am.
I hope your next test goes much better! Cheers,

By Connie on   4/20/2012 1:03 PM

Re: Stressed Out

My annual tune-up is just around the corner as well. Doc said last time that my work load wasn't where he'd like it to be. To that I say, 'What am I, building the pyramids?' What they get is what I give.

By M@! on   4/20/2012 1:19 PM

Re: Stressed Out

I had d-tga and pulmonary stenosis. I am always nervous about stress tests though I have only had maybe three in my life. The last one I had was two years ago. It was a stress echo which I had never had before. I was really embarrassed because we had to wait for my heart rate to go down to a certain rate and it just wouldn't. I felt bad because the doctor and two techs that were performing the test had to stay late because of me :/ Not to mention the fact that I was worried that something was wrong. Fortunately everything turned out ok but I still feel like it would have gone more smoothly if I were more active in general.

By Melissa N. Medina on   4/20/2012 1:43 PM

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