Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Living on the edge

Photo from Flickr
I woke up this morning at 5 am to my heart doing what felt like major cartwheels and to my heart feeling like it was going to pop out of my chest as I struggled to get a full breath. "Is this it? Am I about to go into sudden cardiac arrest? Am I just overreacting? This will just pass. I don't want to make a big deal out of nothing. If this goes on i'll call 911" .... and on and on and on, my mind goes as I wait to see if I get chest pains, even though intellectually I know that women often don't get chest pain like men do. I don't know what a heart attack feels like, or the moments leading up to it? If I make the wrong decision, the consequences could be fatal ... I know that now. But my heart has been doing bizarre stuff lately and most of the time it's just gone away and I've been fine, so how do I know when I need to take action and really do something, i.e. get medical attention?

So I'm realizing this morning that it sometimes feels like i'm living on the edge, or walking on a ledge ... a ledge that's been created from the various bits of pieces of information fed to me along with symptoms my body has: I have an electrical problem in my heart (a pretty significant electrical problem) -- the doctors don't know what causes it; they don't think (but they're not sure) that it's related to the left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC) disease I have that's the cause for the weakening of the left ventricle in my heart. They don't know much about this disease so prognosis is uncertain. It's a serious disease that has been known to lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Electrical problems of the heart and arrhythmias are associated with LVNC. Yet my heart right now is functioning normal even though structurally there is weakening. The heart procedure at the end of the month will hopefully take care of the electrical problem in my heart. If it returns, however, it is most likely related to the LVNC. Physically, even though the beta blockers have helped and i'm at least getting some sleep (for which I am extremely grateful for) I can still feel the erratic beating of my heart ... the extra heart beats coming from my ventricle, where heat beats aren't suppose to start from.

I don't want to make a big deal about all of this. I want to keep living my life as normally as I possible. But how do I know ... how do I know when it's serious enough to call for medical help? Most of the time the symptoms just pass, and I'm okay. But what if I make the wrong decision? If only I could have a magic sign that flashes in front of me that says 'Marilou ... NOW you need to call for help! NOW you pick up that phone!'

This morning I took a gamble, and it worked out okay. My prayer for today, "God give me the wisdom and the insight to know when I need to act ... give me peace and comfort to not worry about every step I take and to trust in my life's journey wherever it leads me ... and fill my being with an acceptance and a true sense of gratitude for every moment I have."

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