Posts Tagged With: Atrial fibrillation medication

Day 280: No Worries, Part Deux

Exactly 39 days ago, I wrote a post called No worries. If I do say so myself, it was a good post.  And other people seemed to like it, too.

What are you waiting for?  Go check it out by clicking on that link above.  I’ll wait.

Back?  Okay.

Yes, I wanted to re-visit that post today, because, frankly, during the past week, I lost track of the lessons of that post.

In other words, I’ve been worried.  My mind has been doing this:

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Even though I believed it, when I wrote 39 days ago, that worry doesn’t help us,  I still circled back into worry, this past week.

(Psssst! If you’ve ever lost track of a previously learned lesson, see another previous post — called “The Ascending Coil” —  for a perhaps helpful “reframe” of the perhaps unhelpful concepts of “backsliding” and “losing ground.”)

So where was I, before the aside in parentheses?

Oh, yes, I was going to re-cap some facts, to explain why I “backslid” into worry last week:

  1. Last week, I was surprised by a new development with my unusual heart. I went into atrial fibrillation, where I will most likely stay, for the rest of my life.
  2. As a result of #1, I will need to take medication (to counteract the increased risk of stroke) for the rest of my life.
  3. When unexpected changes happen, my first reaction is often to  catastrophize — a cognitive distortion I seem to share with many other human beings.  (For definitions of catastrophizing and other common cognitive distortions, click here.)
  4. While I actually like certain kinds of surprises (e.g., I’d LOVE somebody to be clever enough to succeed in surprising me with a party, some day), other kinds of surprises make me cranky.  And when I’m cranky, I tend to worry more.

I think those four reasons, above,  are enough to explain why it sucked to be me, last week.

Actually, I don’t think it actually sucked to be me, at least not completely.  In ways, it was wonderful to be me, last week.

I’ve just always wanted to say that:  “It sucked to be me.”   And I haven’t said (or written that) before, until now.

Okay! I don’t know about you, but I‘ve gotten a lot out of this blog post,  already, including these benefits:

  1. I got to boss around my readers, insisting that they look at a previous blog post I’d written,
  2. I got to brag about that blog post,
  3. I got to brag about the fact that I’m so smart, that people have tried and failed to give me surprise parties in the past,
  4. I got to use the term “It sucked to be me” for the first time and, in general,
  5. I got to  complain about my week.

That last point reminds me of a favorite movie quote (at 1:00 in this two-minute clip):

If you had trouble hearing that quote at the one-minute mark,,  Dr. Walter J. Kornbluth (played by Eugene Levy) said this:

What a week I’m having!

But you know what? I hope I’m not spoiling anything for anybody,  but by the end of the movie “Splash,”  Dr. Kornbluth (as well as all the other characters I cared about)  had No Worries.

And I feel safe in saying, now, that I’m back to No Worries, too.

Thanks to Eugene Levy, Tom Hanks,  everyone else who collaborated on “Splash,” other creative collaborators everywhere,  and to you, too, for reading today

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 275: Getting better

I appreciate, so much, people’s comments, hopes, and wishes in response to yesterday’s blog post.

Here are some random thoughts about what’s been happening:

Over the “Breaking Bad” Marathon Weekend (see here, here, and here), I noticed I was getting short of breath.  There were LOTS of reasons for those feelings, so I noted them, but I didn’t worry about them.

However, after the weekend was over, I still noticed the shortness of breath. I no longer had good explanations for those feelings, so I started getting concerned.

Monday night, when I was taking a nice long walk with my bf, Michael, I talked to him about my worries.  I said to him, “I can’t figure out, these days, whether these feelings are in my head or in my heart.”

And I told him about a technique for people having panic attacks. This technique was inspired by this book (which I recommend highly):

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The technique is this:  If you feel panicky and believe that might be heart-related, try this:

Exert yourself physically and see what happens.

So I said to Michael, “Wanna sprint?”  Because I also remembered, many years ago, challenging my old business partner, Jonathan, in a similar way, and discovering — much to my surprise — that I was a damn good sprinter (over very short distances).

So Michael and I sprinted, to the nearest tree.  And it was fun, again, to run like the wind.

After our sprint, I took my pulse.  And, much to my surprise, I found that my pulse ….

… was not speeding up.  At all.

It reminded me of my life, from ages 10 to 35, when I lived with a fixed-rate cardiac pacemaker.  During that time, even though I managed to dance a lot of disco, becoming a

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(which was lots of fun), my heart rate never, ever speeded up, no matter how much I exercised.

In 1987, when I was 35 years old,  I got my first DDD cardiac pacemaker, which essentially repaired my heart to act like  yours — like a “normal” heart.  That is, every time I exercised, my heart speeded up.

I remember, after I got that pacemaker in 1987, going to an indoor track and jogging.

To me, that felt like one of my childhood dreams.

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Flying like Peter Pan.

Monday night, my heart was not speeding up at all, after I had sprinted like the wind.

So I knew something was very wrong, but I didn’t know what.  When Michael and I got back home, I called the on-call cardiology resident at the hospital where I get my treatment. And together, we decided I should come into the Emergency Room.

So, at 9 o’clock on Monday night,  Michael and I went to the Emergency Room.

Now, as usual, I have some time limitations on writing this blog post, so I need to make a “long story, short.”  Here are some of the highlights of the next 24 hours:

  1. A very cool doctor, whom I had never met before, listening to my heart, and telling me that I had a “beautiful” heart murmur, which “sounded like the wind.”
  2. Two very cool doctors, whom I had met before, telling me that I was in atrial fibrillation, probably for the rest of my life, but not to worry, because this was extremely manageable, and with my very cool pacemaker, they would fix it so that I might actually feel better than I had been feeling lately.
  3. These same two very cool doctors,  seriously and respectfully discussing with me the pros and cons of various responses to my current situation, one of which would include being on medication for the rest of my life.
  4. My believing that the decision we came to, together, was a good one, and feeling hopeful about the future.
  5. Spending a couple of hours, having an echocardiogram performed on me, with one of the kindest, most beautiful people I have ever met in my life, which included the tears involved with any new, unexpected, and potentially scary development in one’s life.
  6. Having nothing but good results, in all ways.
  7. Going home.

Which is where I am writing this blog post, now.

Gotta end this blog post, so I can get some more sleep and go to work.

Thanks to doctors old and new, runners who fly like the wind, kind people everywhere, and to you — especially — for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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