I really can’t believe its July 1st. I mean seriously, I can not wrap my head around this. This week is full of milestones, one I’m happy about and the other, not so much. I meant to sit down and tell you all about it but life and when I say I life I mean I, kinda went off the rails. In the fall my blog was hacked into and some very unscrupulous people out in cyber world, conveniently loaded up my site with a bunch of what they call “back links”, thousands actually. Let’s just say if you Googled the words “the modchik+homeloans” you get pages and pages of results. Not super harmful, its like freeloading off someone else bandwidth, its just unkind. After a few all day marathons of attempting to extract and patch, this girl raised the white flag and stopped writing. Around the same time I was hit with the worst flu of my life, the thermometer read the word HIGH, apparently it cant read anything above 106. And if that wasn’t bad enough my impacted wisdom tooth became infected requiring an emergency extraction and oh by the way, job interview a few days later. I could not chew for weeks, let alone answer a phone, good thing there’s this thing called email.
I eventually recovered but there was one lingering problem hanging around and it wasn’t getting any better. Here’s the story:
A year ago today, as I was going through the motions of getting ready for bed, I felt my heart leap out of my chest. I automatically took a deep breath and shrugged it off. I turned to get something and there it was again, this lurching forward in my chest, this time I felt a tiny rush with it. Ok, I had felt this once before but not TWICE in a few minutes. I sat on the edge of the bed and concentrated on my breath, my palms sweaty. I laid down and a few minutes later, thump THUMP! What in the world? I sat up. What is this? My heart has rattled around in my chest before but NOT THREE TIMES in a row!. I’ve experienced enough fluttering that I sometimes take an informal poll, “so do you get these fluttering heartbeats?” “Does your heart sometimes feel like its skipping a beat?” I asked my mom, she too has them but assured me with a couple coughs everything goes away. Coughing? That just doesn’t seem like medically sound advice. I laid back down, now I was worried. I remember thinking to myself, if you don’t have a heartbeat you don’t have anything. I don’t know how I managed to let myself drift off to sleep without hitting up WebMD but I did. The next day I was fine.
A week later as I swam with my nine year old niece, she suffered sudden cardiac arrest as a result of an undiagnosed congestive heart disorder (CPVT) and was resuscitated twice in one evening. I don’t remember anything other than my heart breaking for the next month. In August while on vacation the arrhythmia returned. It was happening infrequently, maybe once a week. Within a few months it progressed from a few times a week to every other day. The day I returned from the Oasis retreat I ended up driving myself to the ER after a debilitating bout of arrhythmia and most likely general anxiety from not knowing. I swore I was having a heart attack. Turns out I was experiencing some PVCs (see the spikes in the EKG below) but the sharp pain in my left shoulder was probably the result of humping a camera bag in the desert for 4 days. Either way that day forced me to get help.
The months following were filled with cardiologists, an electrophysiologist, heart monitors, and a stress test, they all revealed nothing conclusive or structurally wrong. They look at my age and say, oh its probably hormones, go have that checked here’s a script and call me if things get worse. Gee, thanks. Where does that leave me? I can say a year later there is no real change other than I live with the condition and its gotten much worse. There isn’t a day really that goes by when I am not acutely aware of my own heartbeat. My nerves are shot as a result in the over production of cortisol. That’s what happens when your are constantly “under the influence”, its like being hooked up to adrenaline drip. There is a standing rule in my house now, you may not come down the hall or into my office without gently announcing your approach. Otherwise you will be peeling me off the sealing, gasping. I often describe myself as oscillating between two states, I’m not OK and I’m going to be OK. Its’ strange and becoming accustomed to it is even stranger.You can see why I find it hard to blog about my favorite shade of red lipstick. You see I have bigger problems. MUCH bigger problems.
One year later Lily and I are still both learning how to live, her new life of course, infinitely more challenging than mine. I’m really hoping that we can put this last year behind, only glimpsing back long enough to remind us actually how far we’ve come in relatively a short amount of time.
As my sister says after every Lily update on Caring Bridge, God Bless.