2/26/10- Funky heartbeats and excercise with the elderly

Hi All,

I went to rehab!! But a few days ago I went to the doc again, so I'll start with that.

I went to the doc on Tuesday to have a check up and to figure out why I'm having those fast heartbeat runs. They interrogated Sparky again, and saw more of those fast beats but they wanted to get an idea of what is going on longer term, so they have me on the King of Hearts again. That is the portable EKG I will wear for 30 days. It's no big deal, and it will be good to try and catch lots of these beats to see what exactly is going on. So you'll be seeing me wired up for another month or so.

Over the last few days, I've been feeling quite good, so I decided to go to cardiac rehab. I put it off last week because I felt lousy, but Wednesday I was ready to go! I'm doing rehab at Virginia Mason (the hospital where I orginally went to the ER to be be diagnosed). The rehab place is pretty small but there are never more than 3 or 4 people there, so it's not crowded. Dave is the therapist and Cathy is the nurse. My first day, Dave hooked me up to the heart monitors (which, paired with the King of Hearts, means I has 6 leads on at one time). He then took my blood pressure (first time out of about 8) and we got started. I did stretches, 10 minutes on the treadmill (walking at a snails pace), and 7 minutes on the bike. Then I stretched again and that was it! Not a marathon exactly, but I was tired at the end!

On the first day, my heartrate was really pretty high. I started off at about 110 (normal resting heartrate is about 70, my normal is about 95) and then during the excercise I was getting around 138. That's pretty darn high. And you know what? When I got off the treadmill and was resting before the bike, I was talking to Dave and Cathy and we were laughing, and my heart rate went to 146! No wonder talking and laughing for too long wears me out! But the second day of rehab was much better, and I my heartrate didn't go above 126. : ) Big improvement!

Everyone there has been really kind and welcoming. I am definately the youngest person there by at least 30 years, but it's still a lot of fun. My new friend Steve (last name Martin, ha!) and I were watching the Olympics and he was talking about curling. I told him Nick loves it, but I think it's totally boring...ice mopping. He just howled..."Ice Mopping! That's hilarious! Hahaha! Honey, you're a hoot!". Easy crowd. ; )

Linda is lady in her early 60s who had emergency open heart surgery after they found a serious heart problem with her while she was under anestisia (sp?) for knee surgery. She's recovering pretty well, and likes to chat. She's been very nice except when I was on the bike. I noticed her looking at me for awhile while she was resting. I thought she was just admiring my excellent biking form, but it turns out she was waiting for the bike and was getting some annoyed with me. After I finished my 7 minutes, she says snarkily to Dave "Is she DONE?". I ran off to the treadmill with my tail between my legs. I'll get bolder later, but I want to stand back for now and see the pecking order. I definately don't want Linda putting a hit out on me or anything...

In other news, Gay and Pete are here, and we're having a great time catching up. Nick and Pete went to Snoqualmie Falls yesterday and it was lovely. It was a great day in Seattle yesterday...probably high 50s and plenty of sun poking through the clouds. Spring, is that you? Are you almost here? I like the thought of that!

Well, that's all I've got for now!

Jenny Lavik So glad to hear you went to Cardiac rehab! Also really glad to hear you are feeling better than last week! Have a great weekend with Gay and Pete! Love and Miss you!

Sandy Farrill Tell Gay & Pete hi. We miss spending time with them. Dad Glad to hear about the second day ecercise results. Snarkily, a great word.

Sandy Farrill So much for getting Dad his own facebook! He is still using mine. I'm glad you are feeling better. Your rehab class sounds fun. Give Gay and Pete a hug for us. We bought that house in OK and are going to look at it and some others this weekend.

Michelle Gonzalez McMullen It's good to be greatful for the little things!

Maggie Parry Salvino Take good care, Jana. Maybe you can meet a guy for me in your rehab class...LOL!!! ;)

Rosa Roberge Love your update :) Ice mopping. Too funny. When Jacob saw curling he said "I need that broom!" (he loves mops and brooms). Curling is indeed a very curious sport. Looking forward to hearing more. The ongoing saga with Linda - could be quite the drama. LOL.

Tammy Chriss *smiling and laughing* i love your outlook and the way you perceive things around you...you always make me smile and laugh {{tight hugs}} Come on Girl...hang in there and get the gold star on your forehead while Linda gets the silver star on hers...rooting for you

Lisa Mushel nice to see your smiling face - Linda will soon be one of your best friends!

2/22/10- Trip to the Doc

Hi All,

So when I last checked in (right after our trip to Leavenworth), I was so happy because I'd done great on the trip! When we got home, I was tired, but I expected that. Well, the tiredness didn't let up, which I didn't expect...

For the past week, I've felt really shaky and lightheaded (that feeling like I was stuck in an washing machine. Not the front loading kind. Then I would feel like I was drowning. That's not the analogy I'm trying to make here). And every day from about 11am to 5pm or so, I've also felt like my heart is pounding in my chest, I'm breathless, and my arms felt super heavy. So I called the doc and went in last week. The looked at the records from Sparky and saw that I have been having lots of little episodes of fast heartbeats for a minute or two. I also had an episode of ventricular tachycardia, which what they saw to make them put in Sparky. But they only saw one run of those, which is very good news.

In an effort to stop those fast little heartbeats runs, they reduced my meds a bit and we hoped that would correct things. No dice. So I talked to the docs again (the receptionist and the heart center operator now know me by name), and they decided to do an echocardiogram today.

The echo is the ultrasound that gets the very best picture of the heart that they can get (without cutting me open). I last had one in November, and I've wanted another for awhile, just because it tell me my ejection fraction(EF). That is the pecentage of blood my heart is pumping out with each heartbeat. When I was first diagnosed, it was about 15%. About 70% is normal. At my last echo, it was 25-26%. I've been really hopeful that I'd see a big jump this time since I feel so much better than I did in November. I tend to put a lot of importance on this number, because when I tell any new doctor my EF is 26%, their eyes get a little wide, and they make a note. That's not confidence inspiring.

Well, I was wrong-o-la about the EF improving leaps and bounds. My ejection fraction is now 20%. Blech. The doctor said that those little fast beats can make the EF low, so she's not surprised. I think the lesson here is not to put so much value on the EF because it doesn't exactly correlate with how I feel and what I can do.

So the doc decided to increase another med today and I'll go in tomorrow to see her again. If these med changes don't work pretty soon, they may try a new medicine that helps reduce those fast beats better, but it sounds like it's not great for my lungs long term. Hmmm. Well, we'll see.

In better news, I've actually felt quite a bit better today than all last week, so maybe I'm getting a little better anyway!

And in better news than that, Nick's parents, Gay and Pete, are flying in tomorrow for a visit! We always have fun when they're here, and I'm sure Gay will whip up some yummy treats for us to enjoy. : )

I'll keep you posted on this stuff as it becomes news worthy!

Meghann Chapman poor Jana, keeping you in my thoughts and prayers!

Michelle Gonzalez McMullen Goodness girl! I am thankful for your fb updates. I am sending you a big hug and lots of prayers.

Patty Morrelli Tapney I'm sending you a really big hug, and I'm sure that Gay and Pete will help to lift your spirits.

Hannah Sales As always girl, praying for you and missing you tons! Love ya!!!

Daniel Fletcher Stay safe!

Errin Kramer-Wilt Ugh. What a bummer. Just remember no one WANTS to be a number :) How long will you have guests for? I am out of town until next tues...but we should get together after that for some shenanigans. Keep me posted on your schedule!

Yoanis Mendoza Thanks so much for the updates..i often wonder how you are and all i have to do is log on. Keeping you in my thoughts.

James Reasoner I thought EF was "extra fine".....which you are!

Luis Cheng-Guajardo Love you Jana! Hope you have a good time with the Morrelli's!

Rosa Roberge I like to hear how you are doing with your updates too. Sorry you are still having to deal w/ tachyardia, etc., but glad you were having a feel-good day today :)

Melissa Cadena Morrelli Love Ya Jana, we are always thinking of you!

David Carson J. There has got to be a book within U about all this, I have never seen anyone ill, spread so much joy, blessings DDC

Lauren Berett Thinking of you...Hope you feel better soon.

Mandy Morrelli Young Glad you are feeling better today, hope you have a great time with mom and dad. I wish we could be there! ((hugs))

Isabel Morelli The in-laws are visiting!Better feel better and ready yourself for a lot of talking and lots of bear hugs. I hope P+G got off OK with all the snow, etc. I read your note and think it encouraging. Lots of kisses

2/15- Vacation and More!

Hi All!

We took a vacation!!!!! Granted, it was small, it was within driving distance, and there was no beach, but it was fun! We went to Leavenworth, WA for our anniversary/my birthday/valentine's day. For those of you not from around here, Leavenworth is a little town in the mountains about 2 hours east of Seattle. It wasn't snowing like I hoped, but there was plenty of snow on the mountains, and even in town, so it felt wintery for sure. We also met our awesome friends Chuck and Errin up there so we had partners in crime (if you consider eating and looking at porcelin german figurines crime).

The trip was great and pretty low key. We did lots of eating (surprisingly, the german food was lousy but the cheeseshop was right on point, as expected) and some drinking and some hot tubbing and lots and lots of laughing. : ) We stayed 2 nights and got home yesterday. I held up really well on the trip, but I was ready for bed last night. All in all, a great weekend.

And in other news, I had my consulation with the cardiac rehab folks today! I'm so excited about this because it's the beginning of me getting stronger and more confident with what my heart can do. Today's session was just paperwork and chatting. We discussed what the program will be like (rehab 3x week for an hour each time, heart monitor on all the time I'm there, and blood pressure checks before and while I'm completing each excercise), my medical history, and I asked if I could get my parking validated (I can. I'm obsessed with parking validation these days).

There were about 5 guys working out while I was there. I'd say they ranged in age from 68-80. Not a non-white hair among them. ; ) So I'll be the spring chicken...I'm sure it will be fine. : )

My first class is on Wednesday afternoon, so I'll tell you all how it goes!
Also, happy belated Valentine's Day!
I love you all!
Errin Kramer-Wilt Both of us had a fabulous time too!!! We make great travel partners. Also, I just realized I never wished you a happy birthday this weekend even though that was part of the celebration. So....HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Jana Farrill Morrelli :) Thanks Errin!!

Kelley Dees Atkinson You will probably make the day for all the old guys in your cardiac rehab! They will be scheduling extra workouts just so they can be in class with the young hottie! : )

Patty Morrelli Tapney I was thinkin' the same thing as Kelley!

Sandy Farrill What a wonderful weekend! Love you

Tamara Donnelly Yay!! Happy birthday!

Michelle Gonzalez McMullen Sounds like things are looking up!

Fe Melissa Owens Reasoner Sounds like you guys had a blast! So glad things are looking good! :)

Kelly Morrelli Looking at is ok, but eating porcelin german figurines sounds criminal?!? hope yall had fun!! Happy Birthday!

Jana Farrill Morrelli lol Kelly :)

Mandy Morrelli Young LOL... Kelly!

Jo Carson Hey Glad you had a wonderful time. My Anniv, BD, Valentines celebration was not nearly so much fun. Ice Storm uggggg.

2/2- Back to the grind! (sort of)

Hi All!

Well, I just wrapped up my first day back at work! I'm only released to work 10 hours per week, so it's definately a slow start. But after today, I'm pretty sure that's just what I need.

I was set to work 3 hours today, but once I got in the office and started to dig in, the time really flew by. Plus lots of my sweet coworkers came by to say hello so I had a busy day. : ) Good times! So I ended up working a little more than 4 hours and by the time I left I was shaky and dizzy. As I was taking the elevator to the parking garage, I'm pretty sure I was giving the guy next to me a really weird look. Oh well.

I'm feeling lots better now, but I know next time I'll cut it short a little sooner. And I'm working from home the next few days so I'm sure that will be a little easier.

I'm just going to be working on catching up with all that has gone on while I've been out. I won't be working directly with client's for a while, just because we all want to make sure I can work regularly for awhile without getting sick or landing in the hospital (I'm sorry to my client friends!). But it does feel good to be getting back on the horse!

In other news- LOST comes on tonight!! Yehaw! Evidentally, there is an hour long episode that recaps last season (thank goodness) and then a 2 hour new episode. I've got to say that I got pretty lost (hehe, get it?) last season and they'd BETTER wrap up all these loose ends. I just didn't get it when all of a sudden they were on the island 30 years ago. Huh? And why are half the people now in L.A.? Whatever, I'm hoping for answers tonight!

Any LOST fans out there, let me know if you like tonight's episode!
Love you all!

Rebecca Thomas That is awesome to hear.

Sandy Farrill Well good news. Is the girl that has your designer sickness form Beaumont? Did she buy fake Chineese purses in a back room on a back alley in the big apple?
I'll be watching lost and will fill in any gaps you have. Dad

Sandy Farrill Dad really needs to get his own facebook!

Jana Farrill Morrelli Dad- your fancy "I have TV" act isn't fooling anyone. ; )

Melinda Meredith Roberts Congrats! Celeste told us the great news today.

Sandy Farrill Mon is at her ugliest when she doesen't want to share.

Tammy Chriss {{hug}} yeehaw...enjoy getting back on the horse for short rides....go easy on yourself and breathe along the ways

Jo Carson I know your happy to be back on the job, but take it easy, time can get away from you. Love ya

Gaye Morrelli this is really GRAND news! just take it SLOW..... slow and easy wins the race......!

Sandy Farrill I am going to make Dad his own facebook and change my password!

1/29- Getting back to Normal!

Hi All!

Well, today was the doctor's visit I've been anxiously awaiting. My last visit didn't go so well because I'd had a rough week and was feeling super run down. The doc wasn't happy to see that and basically said we'll keep things status quo for the next two weeks to see if I improved. Translation= You can't go back to work, you can't travel, you can't do anything cool. Boo. Well, two weeks later and I feel really good! I've had lots of energy, I've been able to be out and about, and I haven't had a bad heart spell in over 2 weeks. Yahoo!

So the doc said with this allstar report, I can get back to normal a bit! I'm going to start working part time sometime next week. My bosses have been tremendously flexible and have said I can work from home for awhile, which is so nice. But K&P folks, I'll be in sometime next week to get some stuff, so I'll see you then!

She was also fine with us going to Leavenworth for our anniversary. : ) Evidentally, there is a hospital there, so if something went sideways I could go there. Memo to Levenworth: Please start cranking the snow machines now so we can see a winter wonderland. Also, Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce Members: Please dress up in deer outfits so we can see some wildlife.

On the medical side: the plan that my doc and I cooked up (she did most of the cooking) is for me to increase my blood pressure lowering medicine a bit more. My blood pressure is now solidly in the 95-105 range (I'd been in the 75-85 range), which is awesome, but now that it's there, we'll up the dose and see how I tolerate it. The goal of this medicine is to basically make my blood flow through my veins like a lazy river, so my heart doesn't have to work as hard. The hard part is if I have too much medicine, I'll get super lightheaded and dizzy, and could fall over when standing up. So it's a delicate dance...

The other thing I'll do is start cardiac rehab! I've never been so excited to excercise in my life. ; ) My doctor said it good to have the excercise monitored so I can learn how far to push it and when to back off. Also, we're both hoping I can meet some people that are in a similar boat as me (rather than just older guys recovering from bypass surgery). She knows of one girl about my age that had the same thing happen to her (virus attacked the heart) about the same time as me that goes to the same place I'm going, so maybe I'll get a compadre out of the deal!

So all in all, a very good week! I'm so excited to start doing more and more normal stuff, but I will have to keep it in check...I'll have to be careful not to overdo it. But I kind of feel like I've got 3 months worth of things to catch up on, so let's go!

Bye for now!

PS, Thanks to my wonderful friend Jenny Hawkes for making the trip from Red River, NM to come see us last weekend. We had a great time, and had a blast catching up. It was geat to see you Jenny! Mwah!

Carolyn Keen Sounds like a great Dr. visit Jana. So glad you are doing better.

Hannah Sales I'm sooo happy to see you're finally doing appreciably better!!! Have a wonderful trip to Leavenworth with your sweetie and if that goes well maybe a trip to AR is sometime in the future?! I wanna bring Khloe to you but she's gonna have to wait awhile for that one...

Jana Farrill Morrelli Hannah-I'd love to some see you guys! I'd hoped for January back when she was born, but maybe just a few months late? : )

Hannah Sales Hey I would be happy for any time... she gets more fun as she gets older and it'll prolly continue that way till she hits the terrible twos:)

Allen Vary Have they checked your hematocrit level in blood count. A super high level could cause thicker blood that may also stress pumping. You might ask just in case.
Glad to hear the good news though!

Jana Farrill Morrelli Allen-Hemocrit levels checked this morning and were doing good! (Good thought though!) :)

Michelle Gonzalez McMullen Don't push too hard yet. So glad you are feeling more normal!

Melissa Owens Reasoner Yay for the good report! James and I are wanting to come visit in the spring or maybe summer.

Mandy Morrelli Young Hip hip HOORAY! Great news, glad things are going better. We can't wait to see you. Much love.

Rhetta Farrill Yay, sounds like tis been a great week :D
P.S. I will be sure to make a phone call to the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce to get those deer for you :)

Allison McNabb Hyland Great news you are doing better, Jana. Be sure to give that camera of yours a workout @ Leavenworth!


Kelly Morrelli Yay! I see you groovin' to "let's get physical" with leg earners and a head band! :)

1/14-Day at the Market

Hi All!

I hadn't written in a little while, so I thought I'd write up a post.

It's been a pretty low key week (which is always good). Since I got the King of Hearts last week, I've recorded quite a few times (maybe 20 times or so). The good news is that every time I call in to play back the recording, they've said I'm doing fine and don't have to go to the hospital. The less good news is that my heart is still doing weird enough stuff that I feel like I have to record it. Lots of really hard beats, fast beats, skipped beats, shortness of breath. Nick says my heart should try out for a jazz band "shoo bee doo bop, salt and peanuts, salt and peeeenuuuts!".

I felt lousy the last few days, but today I felt pretty good and I decided that a trip to Pike Place market was just what the doctor ordered! (Ok, that wasn't really in her orders, but I feel there's room for interpretation.)

I've been having a lot of trouble with feeling guilty lately...Like if I'm not well enough to work or do things like major housework, I shouldn't be well enough to do fun things and enjoy myself. And I still feel that way, but I've decided that since I have this time off, I shouldn't feel guilty when I get to do some fun things (that don't wear me out). So in the spirit of enjoying what life has to offer, off to the market I went.

My gem of a husband dropped me off right in the middle of the market so I didn't have to walk far. I went to Delaurentis, a fantastic italian food store, and got capers. I'm midly obsessed with capers, and they had a whole rack of them!

Then I walked around and tried out my new camera in the color-palooza that is the market and the vegtable stands. I got some lemons and mushrooms and will be putting that with the capers tonight to make a lovely piccata sauce. Mmmm.

After that I got a magazine and enjoyed some clam chowder outside under an awning. I was in Post Alley, and it was really quiet except for a guy playing old school jazz tunes on his sax around the corner. : ) Not too shabby.

Then I walked around a little more and then decided I was tired. : ) So Nick came to pick me up and we came home to our warm house. A very good afternoon!

Tomorrow's my doctor's visit, so I'll let you know whats what with that. Hopefully we can streamline these visits down to a brief 3 hours instead of the 5-6 they've been running. I know the drill now, so I'm pretty sure if I pitch in (take my own temperature, draw my own blood) we can get the show on the road!

Good night all!

Sandy Farrill what a good day! Love that clam chowder...You were so right...it is deeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious.

Debbie Smith Jenkins Jana, I have spent tonite catching up on all of your posts since this mess started. Your Texas cousins will be lifting you up constantly and we will continue to keep in touch. We love you and I am so sorry you are facing this struggle. Your spirits are strong and your sense of humor will help you through. Your info page says you live in Texas, but I am guessing you aren't here anymore! Do you live in Seattle? It sounds like you are in the best medical hands money can buy, so I am sure they are doing everything possible to get you through this. We love you, let us know if there is anything we can do- remember I am a nurse and if I can research anything for you I would be glad to.
Have a great night and a glorious day tomorrow. Debbie

Jana Farrill Morrelli Debbie-Yes, we have lived in Seattle for almost 3 years now. I've been so happy with the great medical care up here! Plus, if I do ever need to go down the transplant route, my hospital is a center of excellence, so it's wonderful to have that nearby. Thank you for the prayers and well wishes! I love those! : )
I hope you all are doing well! It's great to hear from you!
Love, Jana

Carolyn Keen Thanks for sharing your day with us. Loved those pictures. You should write a book girl. YOu are so blessed with words.

Maggie Parry Salvino What a great day! Your photos are awesome...makes me hungry for some chowder! Hugs!

Errin Kramer-Wilt Hmmmm....I think I need to hire you to take pictures for my blog :) I am so glad you had a great day. YOU DESERVE IT!

Melissa Owens Reasoner Sounds like a great day at the market!! I wish I had a great market close to home...and you have made me hungry! Clam chowder...yum!

Mandy Morrelli Young Great pictures! Glad you got out of the house for some fun time!

1/4-King of Hearts?

Hi All,

Well, I just got home from my weekly doctor's visit and, as normal, it took about 5 1/2 hours. Whew! Several docs, blood draws, pharmacy, etc. It's a real production! But again, I got out of there without being admitted, so it's a good day!

They aren't thrilled with how I've been reacting to the meds lately (my blood pressure is just too stinkin low), so they changed one of the meds to an alternative, so I'm hoping that will help things out.

They also were concerned that I've been having these spells where my heart beats super hard, I breathe really fast, but I'm still short of breath. On Friday, I had this for 2 hours. They checked Sparky, and there was no sign of anything going on there, so that that means that whatever was happening was at a low enough heart rate not to trigger Sparky to start monitoring. So they lowered the heart rate I have to get to for Sparky to turn on and start monitoring my heart. And they also gave me something very fancy sounding- The King of Hearts!

The King of Hearts is a portable EKG machine that I will wear all the time for the next 30 days. It clips to my belt like a pager (it actually does look exactly like a pager). It has two leads that attach to my skin with stickers, and if I start having an episode, I push the record button and it makes this awful noise "hooooooonnnnnnnkkkkkkk" for 30 seconds while it records my heartbeats. Then I call this phone number and put the device up to the phone and play back the recording, and the computer on the other side listens to the recording (sounds like sonar of my heart beating) and then analyzes it. And if it's something bad, they will call my doctor. And it was really bad, they would just tell me to go to the hospital. Pretty cool huh?

The bummer news is that my doc said I can't go back to work for at least 2 more weeks. : ( Oh well, I'll just try to use these two weeks to catch up on bills and paperwork stuff I guess. Whee.

In other news, I got a digital SLR camera as a late Christmas present, and I'm so excited about it! I've been doing research, and I already think I need a new lens (wide angle? telephoto perhaps?). But those are pricey, so I think I'll wait for that a little down the road. I can make do for now, no problem.

Me at my computer, updating you all on the goings on!

BoBo kept blinking everytime I took his picture-Rat.

That's all I've got for now I suppose...
Talk to you all soon!

Rosa Roberge Hoooonnkkk! LOL Seems that a loud surprising honk would get your heart rate going. Maybe that's the idea. haha. That is pretty cool that the device works over the phone. Technology these days. Glad you are staying out of the hospital and you look great in your pic. So does BoBo - that silly cat. Take care!

Jana Farrill Morrelli Yeah Rosa, the sound is pretty wild. And I'm afraid i will be in public when I need to record, but I'll be too embaressed to turn it on! Hopefully, I can just go in a corner and do it or something. Or I can just set it off, and then look around and say "what the heck is that noise?!". Hee hee.

Tammy Chriss you can be like Patch Adams....you can keep a red clown nose in your purse then put it on and press the heart button and let it go hoonnnnkkk...they will love you! *smiles* Or put on a sign that says "Honk if you love Jesus" then press the button. Thanks for the upbeat update...I can bet the whole hospital staff loves you and want you to be their poster child. {{{hugs}}} Enjoy the two weeks resting and playing with your new camera.
January 4 at 9:25pm · Allen Vary it feels sooo good to go and then leave! so glad to hear it! means a lot mentally in the recovery when you start having those more often than not! take care!

Sandy Farrill Thats the look bobo had right before he attacked me- twice. dad

Sandy Farrill You are looking good. Glad you made it through the long day with the docs without getting too tired. Love you

Mandy Morrelli Young Bobo is SO cute! That's awesome that device works over the phone... it's crazy how advanced some of that stuff is. I'm surprised there's not an iPhone app for that. :)

Eric Hyland Jana... maybe when you turn it on and it starts honking... just try and fart really loud. That way it will take peoples attention away from the honking sound.

Jo Carson Love your pics. Looks like a contented cat. Glad you are staying but of that ole hospital. Love ya, Jo