Sunday, March 20, 2011


Photo from Flickr
I've decided to simply surrender to this health journey i'm on as it appears it will go in whatever direction it wants :) So last Friday I was scheduled to have my MRI guided biopsy for the two new lesions in my breast. As I was getting prepped for the biopsy the nurse took my vitals and not long after an alarm goes off. The nurse looks at me and says, "is your heart rate normally low?" And I say "yes." She asks, "are you a runner?" I respond with another yes, but tell her that I haven't been running in a few months and am actually taking a short break from working out. In the past year it hasn't been unusual for my heart rate to be in the 40s when i've gone to see doctors or prior to my previous surgical biopsies. I don't think it's quite gotten down to 36 bpm which is what the nurse told me was my pulse! My blood pressure was low (which is normal for me). "Are you feeling okay?" she asked. "I feel fine!" She asked me that a couple times and she got the same response :) Turns out she's a cardiac nurse so she said, "it's probably nothing but just to be on the safe side I want to run a mini EKG on you." As the print out came out and she looked at the print out of my heart rhythm, turned to me and slowly said, "I need to run this by a colleague. I'll be right back." Hmmmm, not a really good sign I said to myself. She returns to tell me that the doctor who was going to do my biopsy isn't comfortable doing my biopsy as there are abnormalities in my heart. I don't remember her exact words but it has to do with not just irregular heart beats but the frequency of these irregular heart beats and that somehow my heart isn't getting the electrical signal or something is blocking it ... fancy words of "preventricular complexities in a bigeminy pattern." As they sat and monitored me for a little while the nurse said that my heart was mostly beating in these abnormal patterns and would occasionally shift to a normal pattern. She kept asking me if I felt fine, and I kept saying yes! More than anything I was disappointed that the biopsy couldn't be done. My doctor said, "it's too risky. We don't know what's going on with your heart. I spoke to your surgeon (who ordered the biopsy and has done all my previous surgical biopsies) and she agrees that this must be a new condition because she had surgery as recently as last October and we would've caught it at that time. It's not good to have a medical emergency at any time but having one in an MRI room is a really bad place to have one. You are going to be face down in a tube, and i'm going to be sticking two large needles in you and there's a possibility you may bleed and with unexplained abnormalities in your heart, if anything happens, we wouldn't be able to get to you quickly enough with all of the equipment." She told me that as soon as I got clearance from a cardiologist she would get me in for the biopsy.

They continued to monitor my heart for a little while then I was told that I had to go to the emergency room to get a more indepth checkup and a full EKG and other tests. I continued to have a very low pulse and these weird heart patterns .... but I kept telling them I feel fine!! :) So after 7 hours in the hospital I was finally released but with a holter monitor attached to my body to capture every heart beat for the next 48 hours. On Tuesday I go into the Minnesota Heart Center for a stress test and whatever other test they need to do to try to figure out what is causing my heart to not get the proper electrical signals. I am hoping to get clearance from a cardiologist some time next week so that I can schedule my MRI biopsy.

I guess I wasn't meant to have my biopsy on Friday. Hopefully this new heart problem is just a minor bump in this health journey i'm on .... i'm coming to accept that this journey I'm on will have many twists and turns and that fighting it or resisting it isn't going to do any good. When I finally got home on Friday night and was lounging on the couch with my pups, I smiled. In some ways, it was almost comical as I thought to myself ... okay, what body organ is going to act up next??!! :)

A special thanks to my friends Laura and Paula for taking care of my furkids and for assuring me that I did not have to worry about them.

If there's one thing I have learned through all of this ... life is precious and life is short. I am grateful for every new day I have and for the many gifts of love, friendship, purpose, passion and creativity that surround me constantly.

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