Is this day jinxed? 10/27/2010

Hi All,

Hmm. I knew I'd be writing up a blog today, the one year anniversary of my diagnosis, but I thought it would be filled with musings, memories, and hopeful thoughts about my future. Well, I'll get to that, but first let me tell you about today's ER visit! (I think this day may be jinxed.)

I have been feeling not so hot the last few days. I've been super short of breath, my chest has been aching, and I've been way more tired than usual. Nick and I planned to call my doc today after cardiac rehab, but I didn't get a chance to do that.

I was tired today at rehab and had trouble breathing, but I made it through all my exercises. I started my cool down stretches, and within a few seconds, I felt like I was going to pass out. I sat down and talked with Dave, the rehab therapist. We just planned to wait it out and see how I felt in a few minutes. Then I got super dizzy, my head flopped over to the side and I told him I didn't feel right.

The nurse said my heart rate had just dropped to 40 beats per minute. That's the lowest I've ever been. A year ago, one of the reasons I was admitted to the hospital was because my heart rate was 140+. So the meds have done a great job, I just have to deal with the consequences now.

My heart rate dropped to 40 again, and that's when Dave and Cathy the nurse wheeled me right over to the ER. After lots of tests and 4 hours of monitoring, they released me. It seems my congestive heart failure is under control right now (excellent), and my labs looked good. The only snag is my heart rate is quite low. So I'm going to see my cardiologist in the next few days to decide what to do about that.

Really, this is a very good problem to have. It means my meds are doing a very good job of making my heart work as easily as possible. The negative is with my heart rate so low, I'll feel wimpier than ever. But, if my heart rate stays low, it may qualify me for Sparky 2.0, which could make me feel a whole lot better. : ) Sounds great to me! So we'll see, and I'll keep you posted. But I feel fine this evening, just going to catch up on some TV and curl up on the couch.

As for the one year anniversary of this whole thing- today it's not as overwhelming as it was earlier this week. Yeah, my whole life has changed (along with my dear husband's life, and my family and friends). But I do have hope about what is coming down the pike. This doesn't feel like such a death sentence, but just something I'll have to work around for a long time.

I was talking to my counselor this week about my feeling surrounding this milestone and they were pretty mixed.

I'm proud that I've made it through the weirdest year of my life.
I'm happy that Nick and I are just as in love and are stronger than we were a year ago.
I'm sad that our plans for kids have to be put off for the time being.
I'm surprised how fast it's gone.
I'm overwhelmed by the love and support my family and friends have shown me.
I'm mad that this disease forced me to make changes I didn't want to make (like quitting my job).
I'm tired of going to the doctor and hospital and knowing what they are talking about on the medical shows like Grey's Anatomy and House.
I'm in awe of the power of love that I've felt surrounding me again and again.
I'm grateful for all I've learned about myself this year (plenty of time for introspection does that to a girl).
And I'm excited to see what the next year will bring!

Through it all, you've all been just wonderful to me. I'm more grateful than I can say, and hope I can be as good of a friend to you as you've been to me. Thank you!! Every note, call, prayer, joke, gift, and hug has warmed my heart (: ) and made each day easier. You all are the bee's knees. : )

So that's all I've got for tonight. I've got a Rangers game to watch with Nick, so I'll have to let you go!


It's been awhile! 10/23/2010

Hi All,

Wow, it's been a long time! October has really flown by...mostly with me in a plane literally flying by. I've been in Oklahoma visiting my folks, and then a week after that Nick and I hopped on a cruise to the Caribbean. Whew! I'm exhausted, but so happy to get a chance to do those fun things.

In short, Oklahoma was a blast. My family and I did lots of hanging out, watching movies, and poking around their new town (Ada, which they have declared America's best place to live. I guess we need to inform Time magazine or whoever keeps up with that list).

I felt pretty good most of the time. We did figure out that all the talking and laughing wears me out pretty quickly, so I'd make sure to have a nap in the afternoon. Not a bad gig. : ) One bit of excitement- we found a big snapping turtle in the driveway, so naturally, we poked at it with a stick until he bit the stick. Very exciting. Sad news though- a few hours later, we found 'ol Buck the turtle run over on the highway. Dang it.

But no weird heart episodes during the trip- it was just a matter of taking it slow.

Then Nick and I were off to the Caribbean! We flew into Puerto Rico and cruised from there with our dear friends Chuck and Errin. Before the trip, we got a wheelchair for me. Her name is Hot Wheels McGee. She's fantastic. Unfortunately, she does look like the wheelchairs every hospital, hotel, airport, and cruiseship owns, so we had to gussy her up. So we bought stickers from every port we visited and put them on the chair, like passport stamps. Brilliant? Yep, we thought so too.

The cruise was fantastic. There were only two days where we didn't get off the boat because it was too hot/I was too wimpy. But I did get to snorkel 3 (!!!) times. The best was in Dominica at a place called Champage beach. Dominica was (is?) a volcano, and when you snorkel, you see all these little tiny bubbles coming up from the sea floor, from air vents. It's AWESOME. There were tons of fish, and I have to say it beat Hawaii's snorkeling. SO cool.

So we've had a great month, but I'm glad to be home. I am pretty tired from all the fun and was ready to get back into a schedule this week. Cardiac rehab went pretty well this week, but I did have to stop early a few times because of some chest pain I've been having. I'd been kind of ignoring it while on the trips (oops) but they don't believe in ignoring anything at rehab. I go see my doc in about a week and we'll discuss it then. Unless it gets worse, then it's off to the ER I go. There's no risk of a heart attack because I don't have any artery blockage, but chest pain is never something they sneeze at.

Other than that, I've just been trying to adjust to life without working. It hasn't been hard with all the traveling, but now that that's done, I'm trying to find things to keep me busy. I've got a few things in the hopper...I'll keep you posted on how those go.

Well, that's all for now...I promise to do better at updating you on the shenanigans.

I love you all!