Monday, March 5, 2012

Matters of the Heart--Mine

When I was in college I loved to dance.
We also had a "quote wall" around our dorm room door ... and one of my favorite quotes was, "If you don't feel like you have rhythm, put your hand over your heart to feel the beat and dance!"

Well, I've got plenty of rhythm. In fact too much at times.

My Cardiology Appt. on Friday left me sitting in the beautifully serene waiting room at 8am (first appointment of the day), with calming music playing, water falls burbling, and my heart racing and pounding wildly wondering how I would walk out of the appt.--feeling silly about being there or devastated and even more worried?!
(If I were a cartoon, I'm SURE my heart would have literally been pounding OUT of my chest.)

I sat and read a magazine article about the Tao-te Ching, which I happened to study some in grad-school. It was strange to bump into that of all things there in the waiting room after years of not reading or thinking about it. The quote that caught my eye was, "No arc rises forever ..."
Oh my ... not the calming words I was searching for at that very moment.

Perhaps this only underscored the fact that I'm a worrier.
A "think-through-it-practice-it-over-in-your-head-a-million-times-so-you-say-the-right-thing, do-the-right thing-worrier." Or as my own mom nailed it (mom's SO know these things) "A closet-type A person with overtones of perfectionism" edged with doubt and pleasing that usually leads to not pushing for exactly what I am aiming for and then disappointment." Lovely, eh? I am still a nice person, really!

Well, the Cardiologist confirmed a few things. It is NOT my imagination that things are not exactly how they should be.
However, my heart is not missing a beat, it is actually adding beats, and not just when I'm resting which is what I thought since I notice them mostly when I sit down to rest. The Holter monitor revealed that they're happening all the time, I just am so busy much of the time, I don't always notice them like I do when I finally sit down.

However, it's "not a big deal."
(whatever! tell me that when I feel like my heart is not beating in rhythm or it's going to pound outta my chest or stop.) But really, he's the cardiologist and I'm certain he knows what he's seeing and I'm sure he's seen worse.
Technically it's called Pre-Ventricular-Contraction AND (bonus here 'cuz I get the upper chamber doing it too) Pre-Atrial-Contraction. PVC and AVC

Luckily it is not a pre-cursor to any heart trouble here or later (like a heart attack) and in the words of my doctor, "I could put you on medication for every day for the rest of your life (no thank you), OR you could learn to deal with how it feels when it shows up until it leaves and try to avoid the stressors: stress, caffeine, or whatever it is that triggers them."

That's right, it will come and go throughout my life ... which explains why I've had it crop up in the past, just never, ever to this extreme or level or duration. He explained that many people have them and never notice. Then other people are super-sensitive and can really feel this extra contracting. Apparently the combination of numerous triggers set it off on the ski trip and the high altitude probably didn't help.

HOWEVER, I will mention as well, that he was really glad I came in because this certainly COULD have been the same kind of things that could indicate a bigger problem, so please don't shrug off your symptoms thinking that it's nothing!!!!! It might not be. In fact, in looking at my family heart history he admitted that, "I was NOT dealt a kind hand genetically"-- thankfully THIS is not an event that reflects any of that luckily. It is also NOT the kind of heart rhythm problem that is associated with Lyme Disease which I had in the summer of 2010 (praise God!)

So, it's good news for sure ... but disappointing news to know that it's most likely going to be something to deal with going forward.
I will be having a tread-mill stress test and ultrasound in a week to make sure the underlying structures are sound and not hiding anything strange.
Otherwise, the news is ... I just have extra heart beats. Go figure.


Tara Anderson said...

Glad you got your results back and it's nothing to worry about! And I, for one, am not at all surprised that your heart has "extra" beats. :)

The Sanders Family said...

Glad to hear that this is manageable and nothing too serious. And glad you got it checked out!! You just have such a caring heart, that of course if beats a bit extra :)

Carrie said...

I like what Tara said. Your heart is just so big it has to beat a few more times to keep up with itself! :)

Girly Girl Mommy said...

I'd be anxious too! So relieved for you that it is nothing to be concerned about. Good for you for not passing it off and having it checked out.

The family

The family