There are CHD patients who seem to have struggles with their condition their entire lives. And then there are those of us who have no issues—until we do.
I’m the latter. My last surgery was at age 4½ and I’m fortunate to have not undergone any type of intervention since. I’m 28 now and up until a few months ago, I felt invincible. Then I began to experience more frequent palpitations.
I couldn’t even walk from the parking garage to my office at work without having several minutes of my heart feeling like it was doing cartwheels in my chest. This was new to me and I knew I should speak up but I tried to write it off for a few weeks.
It kept happening.
The palpitations began to make me really tired. My husband and my parents began to notice that I would periodically put my hand over my chest because the palpitations felt as if they were taking my breath away.
I began to think about my last few EKGs and event monitors—there were things that concerned me and I didn’t know if they were connected or a cause for concern. But then I thought about my nephew, Drew. He had truncus arteriosus and died suddenly at 20 years old while getting ready to play soccer with some of his friends. I began to wonder if he ever felt anything different but chose to write it off and not say anything. That possibility hit me like a ton of bricks and I knew I needed to stop pretending to be Superwoman and speak up.
Long story short: I was having a lot of PVCs (premature ventricular contractions). My repeat echo was fine—my mechanical valve that’s been ticking away for 23 years is still going strong! I earned myself a new medication and am still in the process of getting the dosing right, but I feel so much better!
I was having difficulty deciding what to write for my blog post this week but I feel like sometimes we as CHD patients try so hard to be “normal” that we can ignore what our bodies are trying to tell us. Don’t ever doubt yourself or feel like you’re being bothersome. Your family, friends and cardiologist would much rather you listen to that inner voice or—at the risk of sounding cliché—your heart. We’ve all fought too hard to start battling ourselves when it comes to our health.
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