Thursday, January 7, 2010

January 7, 2010

It’s been about 8 months, and I just wanted to update on what’s been happening with my heart. Last month I was really stressed out with my job. They booked me for a lot of nights, and I started feeling really fidgety and uneasy. I kept getting palpitations – it felt like my heart was beating out of my chest!
So they sent me for another echo, but nothing’s changed. Everything else checked out normal as well. (Sanfilippo et al, 19). They said my stenosis is significant enough that they can check it again every year or so, but it’s mild enough that I shouldn’t worry about it unless something changes (Sanfilippo et al, 19).
The hardest thing for me is that it’s invisible. It doesn’t change anything about my life, but it also  changes everything at the same time. No one would know it to look at me, but I might have less time here than I thought.  Better make it count. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

April 18, 2009

I decided to take the day off work. I called my mom and talked to her for a while. I let her know I don’t blame her for anything – I don’t think anyone could have known this might happen, and I know she left there as soon as she could. I’ve talked to a few friends too. And there’s some people at my church I asked to pray for me. At the same time, I don’t want to make this a big deal. I mean, it is a problem – but I don’t think it will affect my life much, at least not right now.
It still doesn’t seem real. Probably because I feel fine.  I don’t need treatment or medication or anything. Dr. Blerug told me there is nothing that I will start to feel unless things get worse, and they probably won’t for a long time.  Later on, though, it might get narrower and have to be opened up again, or it might start to leak.  Then I could feel like it’s hard to breathe, or my heart might start beating differently (Lisac, 2011).
If that happens, they could do surgery, or go in through one of my vessels and open it up again. If it gets really bad they might even need to replace the whole valve, but that’s not something I want to think about. I don’t even want to think about medication! (Lisac, 2011).
Although I’m not on anything right now, I might have to be on some blood thinners or something to keep my heartbeat regular in the future.  They said that mild mitral stenosis is “significant” enough to get an echo done every year for a checkup, but it doesn’t mean anything will change for a very long time (Sanfilippo et al, 19).
Oh! There is one thing though.  I’m going to the dentist later this week. They said that now I need to take antibiotics first, since I have this whole mitral valve stenosis thing happening with my heart. (Suleman et al, 8). That will have to continue every time I see the dentist, for the rest of my life. Again… if I had just had antibiotics once as a kid when I had strep throat, I wouldn’t need them now (Lisac, 2011).

Friday, April 17, 2009

April 17, 2009

Wow. Today was weird. I never thought that having strep throat as a kid could hurt my heart.
Let me back up a little though. I probably had strep throat when I was about 2 or 3. My mom had me in rural Manitoba, as some of you know. She married a guy up there when I was really young. That wasn’t very good for her (or me) so she managed to leave when I was five.  When she got out on her own, we moved to Calgary. That was the first time I ever saw a doctor, and then I got all my vaccinations and everything else. At least I was a pretty healthy kid.
I was saying a couple posts back that my mom was pretty insistent on health care because I didn’t have it when I’m young, and I’m glad that they caught this now. But I need to explain more.
Dr. Blerug said that my heart has a problem now because of that strep throat I had way back when I was a kid. Now, twenty years later it’s changed enough to see on the echo. It made parts of my heart get thicker and join together (Suleman et al, 1). And then she told me something that really surprised me. She said that if I had antibiotics when that happened, my heart would have been fine (Lisac, 2011). Really?  I got this from strep throat? And not having antibiotics? That seems impossible. I never knew that could happen.
People probably say this a lot, but it doesn’t seem real, you know? I’m only 25. I’m a pretty healthy person. I take care of myself and I walk most places.  I don’t smoke. I don’t even eat red meat! I thought that meant I’d be ok for a long time yet.
Dr. Blerug told me exactly what the echo showed: “Mild mitral stenosis.” That means that the valve between two different parts of my heart is narrowed and thick, and parts of it stick together, so blood doesn’t get through quite as fast  (Lisac, 2011).
I said in my last post they took some measurements of my heart, and I got to ask Dr. Blerug about them today. She let me write some of them down to take home. She said these three gave them enough information, and if they needed more information later, they would do other measurements (Lisac, 2011). There was something about Pisa (like the Leaning Tower, maybe?). I don’t really remember about that, but these are the ones they took:

 (Baumgartner et al, 12-13).
I’m a bit tired after today’s appointment… I will write more tomorrow.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April 2, 2009

Update time! I went for my echo today – that was fun (or not).
That went OK, I guess. The room was warm, almost too warm. I put on one of those lovely hospital gowns and then I to lie down for what seemed like forever.  The guy doing the ultrasound explained it and then I had to lie in a couple different positions. It only took forty-five minutes, give or take a few. There was a bit of pressure on my chest, but it wasn’t bad at all. I worked the night shift yesterday, so I was tired. I think I even fell asleep for a few minutes!
When it was over, he let me know that Dr. Blerug, the heart specialist Dr. Grenwell referred me to, would get my results by our next appointment. He also took a lot of measurements on the screen, and I asked about those. The ultrasound person told me that after the Dr. interpreted them, she could tell me what they meant.
So I have to wait a couple more weeks, but they booked me in for the 17th. I will let you know by then what else is happening. I still feel fine, at least.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

March 12, 2009

I went for my check-up at Dr. Grenwell’s three weeks ago. I feel fine, but I try to go every year. Growing up, my mom was pretty passionate about taking care of yourself and getting those yearly checkups, so I’ve been seeing Dr. Grenwell for six years now.
I thought it would go like all the other times. A little bit of awkwardness in exchange for a clean bill of health. But, during the stethoscope part, she thought she heard something. I’ve never thought much about that part of the exam – what can they tell from a stethoscope anyhow?
But she did find something– a possible murmur, she said. She said that after every heartbeat, she can hear a snap (Lisac, 2011). I’ve never had that before, and she didn’t want me to worry. She did get them to book an echocardiogram to see what it was (Douglas et al, 2010, p. 15).
Has anyone else had an “echo”? I found out that it’s the same kind of ultrasound machine that they use on babies. They use at the cardiologist’s office to look at your heart! So from that I guess it’s pretty safe. She told me it shouldn’t hurt, either.
They got me in at the clinic in a few weeks, so I’ll let you know more then. I hope this is just something little, but what if it’s not? What if something is really wrong? I could freak myself out thinking like this, so I won’t. I’ll just wait and see.