Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Heart Of The Matter.

Oh where to start? How about... July of 2007. I was very- and I mean VERY pregnant with Maeve. I had been having an easy, breezy pregnancy (minus the horrific morning sickness) when all of a sudden I was HIT by some crazy heart palpitations. EVERYONE has had a heart palp or two (me included, previous to July of '07) but these were OUT OF CONTROL. One after another- the best way to describe it is if you were to have a handful of marbles and drop them - each one kerplunking at its own speed. My heart had nooooo rhythm to it at all. It was just skipping along to its own beat. Of course I called Dr.P right away and was seen; I was told it was anxiety. (hadn't heard THAT one before!!! :) I tried my hardest to go on with normal life, but I could hardly function- my heart palps were making me weak and out of breath. Super scary stuff.

One particularly HOT, August afternoon (it was right during registration at the studio- I believe I was 8 months preggo) I went to the bathroom and as I sat down it felt like every drop of blood in my body raced up to my head- all in one, swift, sweeping motion. BIZARRE. The stall started to spin, my heart started to race and I began seeing splotches. I stumbled out of the stall and told my sister (Emily) she needed to drive me to the ER asap. Something wasn't right.

We got to the ER (Ryan was right there with us- thanks to a few frantic cell phone calls) and I had to be taken from the car by wheelchair (talk about drama!) Questions were being shot at me left and right (yeah- no triage- just whisked right on back! I always joke with my friends & fam- if you need to get into the ER fast, stick out your gut like you're preggo and tell them you can't breathe and having a heart attack! :) "Any allergies? How far along are you? Who's your doc?" etc. etc. etc. By the time we reached the room I had electrodes stuck all over me (ankles, chest, back) and was hooked up to an EKG. Literally within SECONDS, they had a reading and took it to the cardiologist on call. I had 3 or 4 nurses shuttling around the room (one sticking an IV in, the other gathering info, one hooking up the O2/heart rate monitors) and a doctor who was standing back watching the monitor. When my heart rate finally started to bleep on the screen at an alarmingly fast pace (somewhere in the 180's) they decided to push some ativan. After a dose, my heart rate came down and hovered in the 110 area- and it has stayed there ever since- I KID YOU NOT. I could stop my ER story here... and just continue on with what is happening today, but I'm sure some of you are a little bit intrigued about the rest of my frantic visit to the hossy, right? :)

After things had calmed down a bit, Dr. Zande (the cardiologist on call) came in and talked with us a bit. By this time, the room was filled with my dad, sis & Ryan (mom was in K-zoo)- we all listened as he talked about TACHYCARDIA and PVC's (aka Premature Ventricular Contractions). I ended up spending the night in the hospital. I got an echo & they made sure that none of my symptoms were being caused by underlying preggo conditions (such as Pre-e...). We left the next morning with a script for a beta blocker and an appointment at Michigan heart. I seriously couldn't believe that this was happening to me- EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT. The only way I could get my mind off of that horrible night was a swing by Dunkin Donuts... so we did... a swing-by, that is :).

The next week at Michigan Heart I was fitted with my very own HOLTER MONITOR. Think sleeping at 8 months preggo is uncomfy? Try wearing one of these suckers! IT WAS AWFUL! And I truly wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy (well, maybe my worst:) I wore the monitor for 72 hours... it recorded my skippy heart and I was FORMALLY diagnosed with PVC's. THANK GOD they were benign. I was given the go-ahead for a natural delivery (I did have to be hooked up to a heart monitor but at least no c-section!) and I was taken off the beta blocker. My cardiologist did warn me if the palps didn't go away after the pregnancy, I'd have to have an ABLATION. I thought positively and focused on the impending birth of my little lady. My delivery with Maeve was awful (you all know that) but praise the wonderful Lord, my heart palps completely disappeared about two weeks after I had her. WAHOOOOOO! NO ABLATION!

Fast forward to October of 2009. My ENTIRE pregnancy with Henry was pretty great (minus the normal aches and pains- oh and the horrible swollen monster I had become- OH YEAH and all the urine jug tests for pre-e...BLAH) anyways, no heart troubles- UNTIL October-ish. I remember getting a few- and thinking "Its okay! These are BENIGN! AND THEY WILL GO AWAY JUST LIKE THEY DID AFTER MAEVE WAS BORN!" Big man was born, (Nov. 23rd) and my heart palps were still making their presence very much known. NOW, here I sit at 12 weeks (or 13 weeks?) post partum STILL dealing with a "skip to my lou" heart problem. Monday though, I decided I had had enough and made a doc. appointment with the best doc in town (Dr. Bigelow :).

I was totally thinking Dr.Bigelow would once again diagnose them as benign PVC's and send me on my way with some more anxiety meds (after all- anxiety is what the root problem is...or so I thought). Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. He listened to my ticker, and listened some more, and some more. I was starting to sweat bullets. And those dreaded words "I think I heard something" came out of his mouth.

Me: "Ummm, heard what?"

Dr.Bigelow: "Something that a doctor doesn't want to hear."

Me: "Okay..."

Dr. Bigelow: "You're having some definite rhythm disturbances and I'm not going to try and diagnose with you with one thing or another but I am going to refer you back to Michigan Heart."

Me: "Right- so they're benign though?"

Dr.Bigelow: "I can't tell you that- but I will tell you your heart is having rapid accelerations and decelerations within a short time period and that can be pretty stressful. Also your resting heart rate is 110. That's a tad high."

Me: (thinking...yeah I knowwwww its accelerating like mad & YEAH 110 SUCKS for a heart rate!!)

Dr. Bigelow had a talk with me about trying to relax as much as possible- no exercising (can't get my heart rate any higher at this point) and I was put back on a beta blocker. We also talked about the dreaded ablation. Of course, it will be the cardiologists call, but with the way my heart is ticking now-a-days, I'm kind of getting desperate for anything....even (YIKES) the ablation.'s the rundown in case you missed anything:
I am.... 25 years old. A NON-smoker, NON-drinker (besides the occasional glass of wine or beer), 15 lbs. overweight (baby weight I like to call it :), and I am on a BETA BLOCKER!?!?! Aren't those for old people??? Oh yeah- along with my lexapro, klonopin, and "the pill." WOW. Just call me a walking pharmacy.

After getting some bloodwork done I headed home thinking about going through the holter monitor and echo and alllllll that other junk once again. I also started thinking about the ablation (which my mom is coincidentally having done tomorrow). I am sick of meds. I am sick of monitors. I am sick of my heart doing this to me. ANYONE out there with a heart condition that alters how you feel physically (for me- it makes me feel light headed, drained, dizzy, spacey, tingly, out of breath) I FEEL for you. This is AWFUL. I don't have time to be down. I don't have the energy to deal with this. I am so discouraged right now. Discouraged that the palps won't just GO AWAY. And STAY AWAY. Discouraged that I take such good care of myself- making it a POINT to take my vitamins, not smoke, not drink excessively, not eat crappy foods, being active, etc. and here I am stuck with this. NOT FAIR :(

Okay... so enough with the pity party for myself. All I need to do is look at a picture of a kid at St.Judes and I'll feel blessed and thankful. But really, today just wasn't a good day here... and I'm scared and just want some answers.

Ohhhhhhh sighhhhhh....
Thanks for following along (if you could keep up!?!?!) with my scatterbrained post. I promise to post something more uplifting tomorrow. For tonight, I'm sleeping next to my main man and watching my fave Adam Sandler movie... (any guesses???) :)


Kase and Jules said...

Oh man Ash...that is CRAZINESS!!!! I feel so bad for you because when I am ill (with anything) I am so unhappy and grumpy :/ I am so sorry :(

Angie B said...

ashley i totally understand...not exactly the palps but symptoms that wont go away!! u know my ordeal with migraines and eye issues at the end of my pregnancy and i still deal with that...i will be praying for you.

Jessica Perry said...

Awww, so sorry this is happening to you! Definitely saying prayers for you friend.

Dominica said...

I'm sincerely sorry to hear that. I can relate to your pharmacy feeling...I have asthma and allergies and the "sugar" and that's four pills right there not including my prenatail vit and and advair---ugh.
Reading you post and hearing another one of my associates issues with their heart sometimes makes me feel so naughty for not taking better care of my health esp if you knew what I ate and how much butter and cream and .....well let's not go there but it makes me grateful bc there are people who who've treated their bodies better than myself and all they need is cure or a new chance and here I am .....obese as ever and well....anyway.....Here's to inspiring change!

Megs said...

Hey Ash! I didnt know any of this! I will be praying for you...Our Lord is a God of healing! He healed my foot completely and totally through one prayer and I believe He can heal you! I dont feel its His plan for you to be dependant on meds for the rest of your in Him and rest in His peace! Love you!