Thursday, March 06, 2008

No cause for alarm. I'm just dying.

For the majority of my life, I've been a healthy person. Thanks to a combination of good genes and being raised by a mother with strict hand-washing policies, I don't get sick very often. I've never suffered any chronic conditions or diseases or even serious injuries. Twice have I been admitted to the hospital: Once to be born and once to give birth.

Naturally, it's disconcerting whenever my body is not performing on par. About three or four weeks ago, I started experiencing some weird heart business. Just exerting myself slightly, like going up and down stairs, sends my heart into overdrive-WHAM, WHAM, WHAM! I feel it in my chest as well as "hearing" it in my inner ear (The hearing of my pulse in my inner ear is practically a constant thing.). When I run, it's a hundred times worse; I can't make it but a few blocks before the sensation that either my heart is about to burst out of my chest or a vein explode in my neck totally overwhelms me. And I have a lot of trouble breathing, like Juggernaut has pummeled my chest and I can't get a bit of air up under my ribcage. There are bouts with lightheadedness as well. It's as though the minute I lace up my sneakers, I transform into a 500 lb asthmatic.

Last time I got off of the elliptical machine, I was a spectral shade of gray and doused in cold sweat. That can't be good.

Then there are the occasional periods of squirrelly anxiety. I'm jittery, short of breath, and feel as though a hummingbird has lodged in my chest. I wake up on most mornings with a pounding headache and jittery nerves. Last night, I discovered after sitting for a long period of time that my ankles were swollen.

Originally, I chalked these symptoms up to taking too much decongestant, but it's been almost two whole weeks since I came off the allergy medication and my condition has, if anything, only gotten worse. It's been tremendously annoying this inability to run (my preferred form of exercise and stress-relief), and I've been on edge this past week, short-tempered and grouchy.

At the behest of my husband, I went to the doctor this morning. (Much prodding was required; I HATE going to the doctor's.) I got hooked up to an EKG machine that looked older than me, got my blood pressure checked, and was generally poked and examined. The doctor couldn't say what's been causing my heart weirdness because everything checked out normal, but the prospect that I've inherited a bum ticker was of some concern to the doctor. My maternal grandfather died of a massive heart attack before he was seventy; maternal uncle died of a heart attacked at 52; and my other maternal uncle had bypass surgery this summer, and he's only 42.

Within the next day or so I should be receiving a phone call from a cardiovascular specialist to schedule some tests. Namely, a nuclear stress test which goes something like this. Cool, huh? Just like a patient on House except there probably won't be a cranky, crippled genius doctor there.

One of the downsides of my body deciding to stop cooperating is that running has now been kiboshed by my doctor. In all likelihood, this means my race schedule will have to be amended. including omitting the Monument Ave 10K next month. Bummer.

For once, Momma A's health woes trump Papa A's. As typical of my life, I don't get sick often, but when I do it's a dozy.

Here's to bringing the Medical Hotness!

***Update: The internet is a dangerous thing to an overly curious self-diagnoser with a Hugh Laurie fixation. I've been doing some Googling about, and the condition that seems to match the most of my symptoms is the charmingly named aortic regurgitation. Wicked, huh? Share my excitement here and here. How typical would it be for me to have HEART VOMITING? Only in my world, peoples. Only in my world.

But let's all hold off our judgments until I have to undergo a bunch of bizarre-ass tests.



girl with curious hair said...

Um--this isn't good. I hope you feel better soon and the doctors figure out what the problem is.

(I'm also officially a little worried.)

Alex the Odd said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you. Be well.

Ev said...

I'm more than a little worried - what can I do? Do you need me to watch the man during your test (so Adrian can go with you?) Do you want me to go with you? I'm a good driver.
Seriously - give me a way to be active here!

Anonymous said...

Jeezus Manda. I'm sending you my good thoughts and energy. Take good good care of yourself, and utilize your support system!!! Let us know what happens so we don't have to get all inter-web creepy.

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