I hid because I was afraid. I stopped posting because I had a health scare. I called my Doctor on October 22nd because I was short of breath, my blood pressure was up, my ankles were swelling, and I just didn’t feel right. My Doctor did an EKG, blood work and urinalysis. She also wanted me to have a stress test. I stopped posting because I was afraid and didn’t know what was going on with my body and with my health.
I had the stress test the week after I saw my Doctor and it did not go well. They gave me a medicine to increase my heart rate while I walked on a treadmill. My heart freaked out. It felt like it was going to fly out of my chest, I was panting and couldn’t breathe, and I had chest pain. They had me lie down, put me on oxygen and ran for the doctor. They called my EKG abnormal and the nuclear x-rays of my heart at rest and under stress showed mild abnormality. They sent me to a cardiologist. I wanted to post and share my fears so many times but I was afraid I’d jinx myself somehow if I did.
The cardiologist was brutal in his analysis, and his honesty was terrifying. He said I had to lose weight (DASH diet, Mediterranean diet or combo of both) and get my blood pressure down or I was going to die. Yes, he used that word. He wanted me to have an angiogram. That nearly scared me to death, but it was the only way to rule out something serious or possibly life-threatening.
I had the angiogram today. I went in as an outpatient for a 10:30 a.m. procedure. I had nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before. Not to be indelicate, but they shaved me. The nurse called it my “spa treatment”. Ha ha. They shaved both sides since the area where they thread the catheter in is basically in the crease of the leg in the groin area. I’m not sure why both sides are needed (they only used one), but I also had two IV’s put in my left arm. They said one IV was for emergency purposes. Perhaps prepping both arteries was also for emergency purposes. When they wheeled me into the procedure room, there were two male nurses and one female nurse in the room. There were also at least two people behind a glass wall observing the procedure. To prep me, they rolled back my gown and everything was on display. Ta-da! The one male nurse was kind enough to warn me, “we’re going to expose you now”. Gee, thanks. So much for privacy. The Doctor came in and proceeded to poke and push at my groin area, looking for my artery. That hurt. He numbed me with lidocaine and tried to find the artery with something sharp. When I said, “Ow!”, he asked for more lidocaine.
Once he had the tube inserted in my artery, he went in with a catheter about the size of a piece of spaghetti. I could feel it moving through my body. Not a very pleasant feeling. When he got to my heart, he had the nurse inject the contrast dye. They told me I would feel a warming sensation like a big hot flash and I might feel like I wet myself. I did not feel that way, thank God. I felt a warm feeling flash through my body, but it just felt weird. It was nothing to panic about.
What I felt next was the worst part. My heart began to skip beats. That felt terrible and frightening. When I commented on it, the female nurse said, “it might feel like your heart is skipping beats. That’s just the Doctor examining your heart.” The Doctor then said, “That’s me, tickling your heart.” He told me everything looked normal.
When he was finished, he said I have “gorgeous arteries” and there were no blockages. Thank you, God. The Doctor thinks the shortness of breath is because of my high blood pressure being out of control so I need to work on weight loss. My medications have been changed. I am eating better, following the new diets, and have lost eight pounds. I have a long way to go and must make this way of eating a lifelong change. This was my wake up call.
I hid because I was afraid. I was afraid to share scary, possibly bad news. I was terrified today, going into the angiogram, not knowing what they’d find. I was worried if I told everyone ahead of time what I was facing that I might have to post bad news when it was all over. I only told a few people. I waited until I could share some good news. I hid because I was afraid. I was afraid what I had done to myself was some serious, permanent damage. I am so very fortunate that it appears I have a chance to fix this. Thank you, God.