Sunday, December 6, 2015

My Broken Heart

I remember the first time I had a heart palpitation. I was home for Christmas break from my first semester of law school. I'd gone to bed, and as I laid there trying to go to sleep, my heart started taking little breaks...

Thu-thump, thu-thump, thu-thump, THU................................... thump, thu-thump, thu-thump.

Over and over again, my heart would take a little pause mid-thump. Scared the crap out of me because of my dad. This slight variation in my heartbeat brought up every bad memory of my dad passing away from a heart attack when I was nine. I finally got to sleep that night, and made it through Christmas break with the occasional THU...... thump. When I made it back to school I went to the health center and had an EKG. Everything checked out. Stress, they said.

Fast forward almost twenty years later. I see a cardiologist once, maybe twice, a year. I'm four years shy of my dad's age when he died from his heart attack so I get checked. Regularly. EKGs every year. A full stress test a couple of years ago. I passed every test. No red flags. And everyone has palpitations here and there... some of us are just more sensitive to them. At least that's what I've been told.

Enter hyperthyroidism.

When I had my first really bad pre-diagnosis episode a little over two years ago, I went to urgent care because my feet were swollen for no reason. I could tell my heart was racing, and as the sweet nurse checked my pulse, he said my heart was beating at a rate of 147 beats per minute. That's high. Normal is between 60-100. After they hooked me up to an EKG machine to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack, they pumped me with fluids and sent me home with some Potassium pills.

My palpitations started increasing. They happened all the time (except for when I'm hooked up to an EKG machine - without fail, they stop as soon as I'm hooked up to that machine). I found that if I laid off the caffeine and hit the gym more frequently, my heartbeat would sort of regulate itself. When they started happening more frequently without ceasing though, I knew something was up. When I was finally diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, I was told a fast heartbeat and palpitations are par for the course.

Now that I'm in the throws of my thyroid issues again, living with palpitations is pretty much my reality. They happen all the time and there's not much I can do about it until I get my thyroid regulated. And it's tough. I can't sleep on my left side - I can feel the palpitations more on that side. And when they happen frequently (sometimes as often as every couple of heartbeats), it feels like I'm losing my breath. The palpitations are such a pain in the behind, but with the hair loss, fatigue, etc. I have to deal with them until I get this nonsense under control.

The good news is I saw my cardiologist two months ago and I checked out fine with him. But goodness, I can't wait until my heart is thu-thumping normally again.

1 comment:

Tisha Dandridge said...

Glad you got good news from the Cardiologist.