Matters of the Heart: The Waiting Game

I hate waiting! I feel my heart beat. More precisely, I feel my heart pound. Is this normal? Stress? I want the tests done now, so I can move on to the surgery. I am trying to make good use of my waiting time; researching hospitals and doctors. I am also sending Robert out on quests to help with this research. I do believe I get tired more easily. What??? Am I having symptoms? On a fashionable note, I did find some elastic waist sport pants and capris at Talbots. Ah, post-op fashion… I also bought a shirt that buttons in the front. Raising my arms after surgery sounds painful, so the buttons in the front may help. You’ll have to stay tuned to see if my thoughts are accurate.


Matters of the Heart: Telling People

I call my husband and here are my exact words, “Holy shit, you will not believe what just happened to me!” So, with a few tears I recount my doctor’s visit to my husband who is on his way to Los Angeles. Next, I call my friend and tell her I am coming over for a stiff cup of tea. With a few more tears, I recount my day. The tears get less the more I talk about it. When I arrive home, I begin to call my four children. Two girls cry, the youngest daughter takes it okay, and my son is very curious about the whole thing and asks lots of questions. Later in the week, I tell my friends from work. They are very supportive. However, I let them know I was not telling our principal until I had some idea of the ramifications of the diagnosis. I also tell my crossfit gyms in Tucson and Scottsdale that I can’t work out for a while. Again, the coaches are very supportive. The coaches let me know they’ll help me get back in shape when I am ready. All crossfitters will understand my agony in knowing I will have to start over at a date yet to be determined.


Matters of the Heart: Diagnosis

During my annual physical, the nurse practitioner asked, “Has anyone ever told you that you had a heart murmur?” I emphatically said no. Next thing I know the physical is over and I have a consult for cardiology. Of course, it takes a couple of weeks to get that first cardiologist appointment. I arrive and a student gets my blood pressure and an EKG. The doctor comes in. “You definitely have a murmur, but it is not new.” I go across the hall for an ultrasound which takes about 20 minutes. The ultrasound technician asks if I had a lot of shortness of breath. I should have known that was a bad sign. Again, I emphatically said no. The doctor returns and says he cannot mince words. I have a severe heart murmur that requires replacement of the mitral valve through open heart surgery. However, I will need two additional tests before seeing the surgeon; a TEE (transesophageal echocardiogram) and an angiogram. The TEE gets better pictures of my heart and the angiogram will check for blockages in my arteries. Apparently I can get a two-for-one deal. While my chest is open, they can fix any blockages at the same time. Now I wait- for another two weeks. I am beginning to believe two weeks is the magic number for appointments.