Friday, February 1, 2013

A Wake Up Call

Since February is National Heart Month, this particular post seems appropriate. For the most part (about 95%), I have accepted the fact that I have a heart condition. Five percent is still in denial.  In early December of 2012, I started experiencing some chest pain, shortness of breath and extreme fatigue.  This went on for about a week before I decided I better call the cardiologist's office and get advice. When I did finally make the call, they gave me an appointment within a few hours and also ordered an echocardiogram.  The doctor adjusted one of my medications permanently and another one temporarily. Once he did that, I lost ten pounds in one day - that's how much extra fluid I had in my system!! Yikes, no wonder I didn't feel well. It was a wake up call on several levels.  First of all, if something doesn't feel quite right, I need to call my doctor right away (not wait an entire week).  The cardiologist's nurse strongly recommended I do that in the future :) Second, yes, I do have this heart condition and I need to 100% accept that fact.  Finally, I want to be around for a long time for my family and friends and I am responsible for keeping on top of my own health!!  The cardiologist has never determined what caused my non-ischemic cardiomyopathy.  Since that type of heart problem is not caused by coronary artery disease, it's still a mystery what caused it. I personally think it was caused by stress.  There were several stressful events that occurred throughout 2011 and even though I let a lot of my stress out, I also internalized a lot during that year.  I have been working on managing my stress better and making sure I take a little time for myself everyday.  A lot of times, women have so much on their plates - taking care of their husbands, significant others, kids, aging parents, etc. that sometimes the signs of health problems are ignored or put off. I'm a prime example!! I was so busy taking care of everyone else, that I wasn't paying enough attention to my own health, both back in 2011 and also just recently.  My advice to other women is this, if something doesn't feel right, get it checked out immediately or as soon as you can.  Just remember, if mom isn't happy and healthy, then nobody's happy!!

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