Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Bum Ticker

I have accepted the fact that stress is a part of my life.  Isn't it a part of everyone's?  At least ten times a day I hear people referring to it: I am so stressed!  This is really stressing me out!  So, I plug along with my own little (ok, large) bag of stresses, like kids, work, lack of sick leave, and a house that seems to become messy as soon as you clean it.  A few weeks ago, as I lay in bed, my heart decided to take up acrobatics as a hobby.  It is the most disconcerting feeling when you have a palpitation, and I was having many of them.  I tried my deep breathing and drinking more water, but they continued.  It dawned on me that I was due for my one year follow up with the cardiologist after the postpartum troubles I had last year.

My cardiologist is ok.  He's not the best doctor I've ever had, but he'll do for now, but I think I'll get a new one soon. I made my appointment and was hooked up to various devices and given an echo cardiogram (heart ultrasound).  When I reported my palpitations, they decided to monitor me for 24 hours.  While I waited for the PA to come back with my monitor, I got to look at this lovely work of 3-D art on the wall.  I think it's supposed to be soothing.

I got a bunch of sensors stuck to me, the PA got to see me in my bra (lucky him), and I had to carry a device about the size of a handheld tape recorder with a compact flash card inside to record data.  I looked quite bionic.

That thing was a huge pain in the ass.  It was uncomfortable, the adhesive on the sensors made me itch and sleeping with it was not fun. I really feel for the people that have to do the 48 hours monitoring.  As soon as I could, I turned it back in and about a day later I got a call from the PA that saw me in my bra.  He said they recorded episodes of sinus tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) that coincided with my episode journal and I needed beta blockers.  I tried to ask questions, but he was clearly following orders, so I just told him "ok" and hung up.  I'm not taking any pills until I talk to the doctor, but I have a stress test next week so it will be a little while.  It boggles my mind that they are willing to give pills to a healthy, 34 year old non-smoker without even trying to address issues such as caffeine, stress, or other environmental factors.

As annoyed as I was with the system, I was at least smart enough to realize that this is a wake-up call.  I see moms with more kids and more worries that seem to handle life better than I do.  I don't know what it is about me that makes the stress levels get to this point, but I know it's something I need to be more aware of.  I've already cut back my caffeine intake quite a bit (ouch), I have ordered some yoga DVDs, and I have asked M to help with more things around the house, which he is always willing to do.  Small changes can lead to long term changes, so that's what I'm going to try.  I need to find a way to see the joys in life even when things get stressful.  I have a lot to be joyful about.


P.S. We still have a lot of boxes to unpack. Any volunteers?


  1. I'm so sorry about the heart problems. I agree with you about the docs looking a little less deep. If it's stress related, why can't it be controlled with some non-drug methods?

    It really can be hard to sit back and enjoy the little things when the mess and the whining and the everyday things seem to be dragging you down. I get that.

  2. Sorry for all the stress! I'll be waiting to see what your med answers are. Good job at asking for help when you need it!

  3. Sorry to hear about this. However, it does sound like you are being pro-active about it, so keep it up!

  4. so glad you are being proactive about the whole thing.
    you are so right about the small changes thing. trying to manage stress is so hard, at least for me it is.

    and.... I still have boxes to unpack too so if you find any volunteers send them my way when you are done with them!

  5. I am right there with you with the heart palpitations. They were horrible when I was pregnant. Some days I wondered if it would just stop beating and not start back up again. Scary. I took beta blockers for a short period when I was about 32 and stopped taking them when I felt like I was just prescribed them because it was the "normal" course. I found out that I have Mitral Valve Prolapse which can be exacerbated by stress, pregnancy and sometimes nothing at all. I recently had an echo again after I gave birth and my Cardio is not worried. I just have to keep an eye on it and go back if it doesn't settle in a reasonable amount of time. I can't imagine that a full time job and 2 kids allows you to de-stress very often, but I guess as moms we need to make ourselves de-stress and relax. We always seem to put ourselves out there for everyone instead of finding time for ourselves. I have gotten better at it with age but I still struggle sometimes which seems ridiculous if you think about it. How hard is it to take a break??? Sending you big relaxing hugs and an order to take an hour to yourself every couple of days to do nothing but relax.

  6. Heart issues are no fun at all! I have a mitral valve prolapse and a heart murmur. When I get too stressed or have lack of sleep for a long time then the palpitations come. And it is so frustrating! It's so hard to relax when the palps are stressing you out.

    I really hope you get some time to de-stress as much as you can with two kids and a full time job.

    Thinking of you and sending you relaxing thoughts!!

  7. Have to say your title made me giggle--I was thinking "Why is her bum (as in your rear end) ticking? :)

    Sorry there have been worries in the ticker department--we sure are giving the medical professionals some $$ recently, huh?

    Really hoping the stress levels stay at a minimum! Passing you a margarita to do my part at keeping you feeling relaxed ;)

  8. Good luck, Honey.

    I'm sendin' ya good ticker juju.

  9. I really hope that you can find some answers to the questions you have. I think you're doing a great job in trying to be as pro-active as you can instead of doing what a lot of ppl do and just "do what the doctor says."

    You said you see others moms with more kids and more worries...but I want to mention that that doesn't mean your stress and worries aren't valid. We all have our different breaking points, and I know for a fact that just b/c you might stress more on something that another mom wouldn't, the roles can quickly reverse about any other number of situations.

    I hope it works out soon for you and you can get some much needed-and very much deserved-relief.


  10. It is good that you aren't taking your health for granted and are being proactive with things. I have no room to talk because my bursitis is acting up as a result I'm convinced to stress and have no intentions of going back to the doctor. But, my shoulder pain and your heart are no comparison so I'm glad you are doing the right thing.

    I was going to say what Courtney said about everyone having their own breaking points and we all handle the shit life dumps on us differently. People keep telling me I'm strong, but I think it might just be a case of denial. You are doing a great job and you deserve relief and happiness!

  11. I went through the same thing, same tests, actually way before Anna was born and I was stressed from work, but had also started a running routine that was new to my body. When you run, the adrenaline hormones get pumped and the heart reacts. I remember thinking at the doc's that i was wayyy to young to see my beating heart on that screen in front of me. Turns out my palpitations are benign but they did offer beta blockers if they were enough nuisance for me (I passed). Do right and press the questions. My doc said I just needed to keep running and cut back on stress (even though I didn't really feel stressed atthe time). I kept running and 7 years later they're still gone. I hope that's your story soon! At least I can empathize with all that dumb testing! Tara (spacemama)

  12. Hi, just happen to see this and needed to comment, not sure if you will see it this late but... I have always had palpitations as I was born with a heart murmur / irregular heartbeat. I noticed one time when I was on atkins that I had no palpitations, and since I notice whenever I over do on the bad carbs days in a row that it seems to kick in, especially when combined with caffine. Might be worth keeping some sort of a food journal for a while and see if you can trace some of it back that way.