Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Heart

When I was 20 years old I had heart surgery. It was a fairly simple cardiac ablation but it was still a really big deal in my life. After years of being in and out of the emergency room and cardiologists offices with no relief from a heart condition that was a huge part of my daily life I was finally getting fixed.

It started when I was in my second year of college. I would get really dizzy, light-headed, and unable to breathe. It continued for the rest of the year, progressing with each passing day. It got so bad that in my junior year of college my parents started taking me to the hospital when I had really bad attacks. I would stand up and fall over, unable to catch my breath or slow my heart down. My resting heart rate was around 180, which is more than double what the average heart rate for someone my age was. When I was having an "attack" it was upwards of 210.

So many doctors told me in the ER that there was nothing wrong with my heart since I was a 20-year-old girl and 20-year-old girls don't have heart conditions. After more ER trips than I can count I finally saw a doctor who diagnosed me with Supraventricular Tachycardia. In the most basic terms PSVT is essentially when the heart beats so fast that the heart muscle cannot relax between contractions and in turn can't supply enough blood and oxygen to the body or the brain.

I was put on Beta Blockers, which caused me to sleep the majority of my days away. I had the surgery that February (Valentine's Day, to be exact). Cardiac Ablation is where the doctor goes in through the femoral artery and cauterizes heart muscle and tissue to allow it to pump better. My surgery went well, with the exception of my artery bursting while I was in recovery. They keep firm pressure on the incision for a certain amount of hours after the procedure before you can get up and when my nurse helped me up my artery opened up and sprayed blood everywhere so I had to stay longer than expected.
Yes, that's me shortly after my surgery. I slept in this exact position for hours.
I woke up long enough to eat a roll and then went back to sleep.

My heart was "normal" for several years after my procedure and I'm thankful for those good years. However, my heart is getting worse and worse. I'm not sure if it's the same condition – actually, I don't think it is because it feels completely different. My heart stops, never for very long but long enough that it hurts and I lose my breath. I can't walk very far or up and down the stairs because I get very faint and can't breathe. After it stops it continues in a bird like fashion. I describe it as "fluttering". I have a hard time standing up and often fall to the floor and have to calm my heart and take in oxygen slowly before I can get going again.

In other words, I think I have the heart of a 90-year-old woman who is extremely out of shape. Since I'm still feeling angry and disappointed in doctors as a whole, I'm putting off going to a cardiologist but I have a feeling that one day I'll need another surgery. I'm enjoying the non-fluttery moments for now though.


  1. Jayanthi ParthasarathyAugust 5, 2015 at 11:38 PM

    said a prayer for you - you look like an angel sleeping
    can understand irrregular heart beats having gone through the same

    1. I'm sorry to hear you have experienced heart problems as well. It's not much fun. Thank you for the prayer!