So, last night was down right awful. I was having skips like never before. Every 4-10 beats for quite a while and then every few minutes for the rest of the night. This sent me into a straight up panic attack. I have not really had a full blown panic in years and let me tell ya…they sure don’t get easier with time. And this was WITH an extra klonopin. I was up until about 1am and with the help of a couple great people online, my husband and mother and some ridiculous sitcoms…I was able to finally settle down and drift off to sleep.
When I woke up, I felt a few and was pretty anxious, but I did what I had to do because my appointment was at 10:45 and I could not wait a second longer.
I picked up my records from All Saints and headed to Burlington. My mom met us as soon as we arrived and we decided she would come in with me. She laughed and made fun of my OCD organizing of my records. I had them in a binder according to date and test. Hey! I thought I was being pro-active and considerate!!
The nurse called us back right away and she couldn’t have been nicer. Their staff is quite remarkable. In fact, the woman running the department called me on my way out there to make sure I was okay and all set. I mean, clearly, they did this because they know my mom…but still. It felt good to be treated so well. And I still say that the nursing staff at the All Saints EP office is also very nice and compassionate.
The RN did her RN stuff…BP was what it always is….107/60-ish. Heart rate was 80-ish. I was calm. I always feel much better once I step foot into a doctor’s office. Always.
She brought my info out to the Dr. so he could review. A short time later he entered the room with a very friendly disposition. He has a dry sense of humor and is very straight forward. I really liked him a lot. He kept calling me young too which always helps 🙂
So…here are the basics…
- I won’t say exactly what he said about the EP suggesting an ablation…because I don’t think he would want that in writing. But he did say that there is no way he sees any need for me to have one. Says there are risks and it may not even work and it just is not warranted. Yes, I started to cry. It was just such a relief.
- He said that I am just one of those people who feel everything with my heart while there are people who would never feel these things.
- He did say there IS something there. There are events happening with my heart, but they are not anything to be worried about. He said as long as I am not passing out or feeling dizzy when they happen – it doesn’t matter how many I have – I should try to go on with what I am doing. He said I can run (but not to because its bad for the knees lol), scuba dive or sky dive if I wanted to. I assured him I will not be doing any of those things regardless of heart symptoms 🙂
- He saw no issues with any meds or vitamins I have been taking.
- He said having more PACs/PVCs right before menses is very common but he didn’t know if uterine fibroids make it worse (I read that they release more estrogen). I will ask my Gyno about that and it may be the push I need to get that hysterectomy.
- I asked if I could drink. He said that people who drink live longer than people who don’t. “At least, that is what I tell myself every night,” he said tongue in cheek. But he did say that it can be a trigger for some people so if it is, to simply stop.
- He said everything he saw on my many tests amounts to PACs, PVCs and some possible SVTs. He said none of it is something to worry about. He said nothing showed any signs of a dangerous arrhythmias such as Afib, V-Tach or WPW.
- He said I could be the most zen, buddhist-like person in the world and I would still feel these because that is just how my body is. But he did say he thinks stress and anxiety can make them worse or last longer.
- I asked if there is any reason to believe that an event like the one that sent me to the ER 8 years ago may never happen again and he said sure – it may never happen again.
- My potassium was low when I was in the ER that day. I asked about that being a possible reason. He wasn’t sure but he did say he likes people to have about a level 4 (mine was 3.4) but that people in good shape are typically lower. He said it would be fine to take a potassium supplement if I wanted. I asked about magnesium and he kinda shrugged it off but said, “Sure, if you wanna.”
- I asked if there is anything I can do when I am having a really bad time like last night. He said I could take a little extra of my beta blocker. In fact, that was his suggestion at the end of the appointment. Right now, I take 12.5mg of metoprolol twice a day. He said to double it and see if that helps. It seems he thinks it might. When I first started this med, I was taking 100mg a day. So, I have no problems with this. It will probably make me more tired and could indeed make it harder to lose weight, but at this point I don’t care. I cannot live feeling the way I did last night.
- At the very end, I asked him what he would say to his own kid and he said, “I would tell them to suck it up.” LMAO. I know it sounds like he is a hard ass, but really he isn’t. He made it clear to my mom that this is very real and I am not crazy. It is just something I have to learn to live with. And he just does it with a sense of humor, which I very much appreciate.
- He did say that if he started feeling these he would be paranoid too. Then he made the comment, “Just because someone is paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t someone out to get you.” So he is sympathetic to how this can really mess with someone. He said that he thought biofeedback was a crock of shit until he tried it one day and said it would be worth looking into. And he wants me to make sure I am seeing a therapist who knows what they are doing for my anxiety (and she does…she’s great).
- He said that an ablation may likely not even help the PACs/PVCs and since those are my issues – he saw no reason to risk an invasive procedure. He said there are many steps to take before trying something like that.
So basically, he said this sucks…we don’t know why it just happens to some people or why only some people feel it. He said as it is now, there is nothing he sees which needs ablation. He said we can work with meds for comfort, but he’s like to stick with beta blockers because they are very benign compared to other meds. And that I need to work on simply dealing with these. This is indeed pretty much what I was hoping to hear – aside from some miracle instant cure. I am very happy with the appointment and the doctor. Now, I just have to work on believing him and going on with my life….
As for my holter monitor results…in 46 hours I had the following (Dr. said none of this is concerning):
205,581 QRS Complexes – I have no clue what this means but much of it could be artifact (leads being disrupted, tape falling off, etc.)
91 Ventricular Beats – I believe these are the PVCs
6 Supraventricular Beats – I believe these are the PACs
Ventricular and Supraventricular Beats were all isolated. No couplets, bigemy or runs
Minimum Rate – 49Average Rate – 73
Maximum Rare – 117 (and I was even exercising lol…clearly not very hard)
My plan of action:
Today I am picking up a book from the library which someone recommended to me called Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Claire Weekes. I ordered 3 other books: Peace from Nervous Suffering, Deadly Emotions and Power of the Subconcious Mind. All of these are suppose to help a person understand the body/mind connection. If it is true that my anxiety is making these ectopic beats worse, then I want to learn how NOT to do that. They will always be there….but I don’t want to make it worse.
I am going to ask my therapist for suggestions on a biofeedback practioner.
I am going to up my dose of beta blocker to 50 mg a day.
I am going to try meditation and relaxation exercises on a daily basis.
I am going to live my life.
Thank you to everyone who has helped me though this. This isn’t the end of the road by a long shot. I will need A LOT of help getting over and getting used to this shit. But I really appreciate the people who have helped thus far. You know who you are….