Thursday, February 7, 2013

Heart Month

You may or may not know, but the last few months have held quite a health scare for me. Shortly before Christmas I had a fainting spell at home that appeared to be a seizure, and Jesse couldn't get me to respond, so he had me rushed to the ER. 

Where they ran a battery of tests but found absolutely nothing. I am apparently in mysteriously good health (PTL), yet somehow still managed to completely lose consciousness? Other than finding out my blood pressure runs typically low, they came up with little to no information about what was going on. While they were running tests, it mildly happened again, my blood pressure dropping to 40 (should be closer to 120) and they got me to breathe through it so I didn't lose full consciousness. They suggested I follow up with a cardiologist. 

And I'm thinking "a cardiologist? I'm too young for that?!" 

Turns out it was a good idea. He had me set up for a tilt-table test. They strap you to a table and lean you back about 70 degrees. Imagine, leaning backwards against a wall. They let you stay there for a half an hour and watch what your heart and blood pressure do. Apparently almost anyone will pass out after this much time. They were essentially trying to induce the episode to see what's going on. 

Well it worked. A little too well. Right around 22 minutes, I started to feel myself pass out so I let them know. Less than 30 seconds later I had completely lost consciousness and went into the convulsion thing that Jesse had seen at home. Usually when they do this and then they lay you back down, most people don't go out all the way, their heart rate rises and they recover. Instead, my heart stopped beating. For roughly 30 seconds my heart was completely flatlined. (I am glad Jesse wasn't there. He probably wouldn't have handled it well.) I scared all the nurses and they were all a little freaked out, because they had never seen this before. 

They had to give me medication to get my heart rate back above 80 because it was having a hard time rising above 40-60 beats per minute. And my blood pressure was still out of whack, not regulating itself back to normal yet. A few bags of fluid and about an hour later, they released me to go home and rest. Also forbidden was working and driving until they knew more about what was happening and how to treat me, as the Dr didn't want to put me on a pacemaker. (Thank God!) So for the last 21 days or so I've been on a leave of absence, unsure of what's been going on. Thankfully it was very restful and I enjoyed myself immensely. 

Largely I feel completely normal. These spells don't happen frequently, but they can be life threatening. They put me on a simple medication that will regulate and dull the reaction so that if it does happen again it won't be so severe and the heart won't stop. It is mostly an issue with the Vagal nerve being overactive, and shocking the heart too much, which causes it to stop. So we're working together to find out what triggers these reactions and avoid them (such as pain, stress, standing in one place too long, etc). Add that to the medication, and I will lead a completely normal life!  I will still be able to work and exercise and enjoy myself. He released me today to return to work, which is a huge relief! 

The biggest blessing of all, is that he said most young people who have this issue seem to outgrow it. By age 30-35 we will reassess and hopefully it will no longer be an issue, and the nerve will be calmed down a bit and not so easily triggered to stop the heart. 

I feel thankful. Thankful that they know what's going on and it will (hopefully) be easily managed and not happen again. Thankful that I have insurance. Thankful for a good and caring Doctor. Thankful that we haven't been bankrupted or financially burdened by this beyond measure. I am thankful there is hope for healing! I am thankful to lead my life, working, driving, and that it won't restrict me in ways that would have been really difficult. Thankful I don't seem to need a pacemaker for this issue. Thankful for my life, that God saw fit to leave me on this Earth a bit longer. Thankful for my supportive and loving Husband. Thankful for family and friends who have prayed for me and walked through this with me. 

Thankful you all chose to finish this extremely long monologue!
Seriously, thank you for taking an interest in my life. 
Hope you all have just as many reasons to be thankful!

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Alisha! I just saw this and was slightly freaking out. I am SO thankful that you are okay, that's so scary. ): I love you and am praying for you.