Monday, February 04, 2008

I Can See My Heartbeat

I wore my spiffy multi-pink sneakers to my echocardiogram appointment today.

There was something both compelling and frightening about watching my heart beat in black and white on the screen. My heart. I could watch it beat in time with what I could feel. It looked good to me. It was beating.

Now I'll wait for the doc to review the results and call me back to let me know the findings.

I still have to go back in a few weeks and get injected with radioactive isotopes and get wired up for a morning of treadmill walking to see what my heart is doing when I get so out of breath.

It's annoying. But ultimately fixable I hope.

Because it's just sinking in how freaking weird this all is. I'm 47 years old. I am not overweight. I work out. I take my vitamins. I quit smoking five years ago. I drink in moderation. I eat right. My cholesterol levels are good. In fact, two years ago they were borderline and I dropped them to normal this year with diet and exercise. My blood pressure and resting heart rate are causes of envy in all who know them. I get a complete physical every year.

Just last May I was hiking in Arizona! Last October, I was hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Not serious, fifty pound pack on your back miles and miles hiking, but walking up mountains and around in caves.

Ironically, I received a card in the mail over the weekend from the Go Red for Women campaign about heart disease in woman. It had a Go Red Heart CheckUP list. All my number were normal! All of them! From my last physical in September 2007. In three months, I went from normal labs and physical findings, normal activities to having to rest between showering and drying off.

And I'm finding myself vacillating between my usual don't-worry-until-there-is-something-to-worry-about state of mind and rifling through insurance papers and IRS statements, checking and double checking numbers and coverages. I haven't purchased disability insurance. I was planning to do that when I turned 50.

I'm not old! I keep wanting to scream that at people, at my heart. I don't think that I'm supposed to be immune to health problems, just not yet. It's too soon.

That, I suppose, is why I had to wear my hot pink sneakers today.

Thor sez: You can have this heart.


Marcheline said...

Here's hoping all your tests come back A-OK.

I could eat those kitties UP! Great pics.

- M

Anonymous said...

Heredity, my dear - heredity! As in Grandmother? Perhaps grandfather? As your VERY OLD aunt, I admit to 'lung dysfunction' - Doesn't matter if I have been training for a marathon (hypothetically), still out of breath climbing stairs and going up hills, etc. Thoroughly tested a few years ago: slight emphysema (all those years of smoking, good news is not expected to get any worse since I quit over 15 years ago); a little COPD - age related, can't get away from it; and ASTHMA! I have never before been told I had asthma and not bad enough for treatment. So when it is determined that your heart is just fine, ask for a thorough pulmonary workup. Sorry!

JanetLee said...

Auntie Anon - When I tell docs my family history it does include "my grandmother had several heart attacks, but she also smoked four packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day for most her life".

But there is something wrong with my heart - I have an abnormal EKG -the question remains, is that the cause of my symptoms?

And it could be lung related, I do have a history of reatice airway disease. It just feels different.

joan said...

Goodness. How scary. I hope you get good news.