Affairs of the Heart Affect the Heart
"Affairs of the heart affect the heart" is what my Cardiologist told me this week! What does this mean? Well, it means that our emotional heart affects our biological heart. Therefore, if we are going through an emotionally tough time, so does our heart. Stress has many effects on the human body, in more ways than we usually care to acknowledge. Often if something is physically wrong with us it is actually a symptom that can run much deeper...
I usually pride myself on being matter of fact and up with what is going on in my own body, and yet this time it snuck up on me without warning. As I was approaching 40 it was probably time to get a service and tune at the docs, especially as I was noticing disturbing palpations occurring more regularly than even I could ignore. Not known for worrying about such things, my usual plan of ignorance hadn't seemed to work, so I relented and scheduled my half century check up :)
Happy to report that all along there was never any reason to have avoided getting my cholesterol checked as mine is all perfect. As is my blood pressure, my hearts capacity to cope with an increase in rate and all my other blood results. Turns out I'm not fit, but I already knew that. I don't care if they reckon 'Global Warming' gave us a warmer winter. It certainly wasn't warm here at 6am for a my frosty morning walk, it was basically still the middle of the night! It seemed much more appropriate that I stay in bed during those mornings than go for my walk, so yeah I already knew I wasn't fit. So then why would my heart have these episodes of 'missing a beat' followed by a huge rush of blood, which felt like being punched from the inside out?
I decided one night at work, when I was particularly disturbed by the irregular banging going on in my chest, to do my own 12 lead ECG. The ECG revealed that I was having a high number of PVC's, an interruption to the normal electrical activity of the heart and, therefore, also to the blood flow. A lot of people can have these benign episodes from time to time, so not usually a big deal. However, I was getting them more regularly than ever and, as I was watching my own ECG, I was not liking what I was seeing. There was only one solution. To remove the ECG so I didn't have to see it as well as feel it and make a cuppa to de-stress me!
For those of you that know anything about such things, you will know that caffeine certainly will not help and more than likely is the causal factor! In addition, sleep deprivation, dehydration and having a very busy life all contribute, but that was just everyday life for me. So why now? Oddly enough after I had the results from wearing the halter monitor, which monitors your every heart beat for 24 hours, I stopped stressing about it. They eased, significantly.
By the time my appointment finally arrived to see a very popular Cardiologist they were virtually non existent. I can say that the five month and two hour wait to see her was well worth it. She lived up to her reputation of being both eccentric and exceptional. I mean any doctor that brings their two pet dogs in to their professional office with them has to be pretty cool! One of them just lies on her desk as she is able to fluently describe your exact condition and the other diligently follows her every move, including going out into the waiting room and accompany you for all your tests. Yeah she was well worth the wait and a very funny and practical lady. I had already dealt with her in a professional manner and knew she was the one to see if you ever had anything wrong with your ticker.
Now when she mentioned all the age old things that lead to these problems, I thought yeah, yeah I know all that. But really, all that stuff is just everyday for me. Then she mentioned stress and after momentarily brushing it off, I actually stopped and thought about the timing of it all, it hit me like a tonne of bricks. Bam! Like a stunned mullet I sat there staring blankly out the window, barely noticing the dog shifting position on her desk, and then I knew, I knew why.
I recalled how it had begun to be a noticeable problem at the beginning of the year, although I had noticed it for many years it had never troubled me before. However, during those first few months of 2013 it had become so bad that even I couldn't ignore it. Thinking back I recalled how the start of this year had been one of the worst and most stressful times in my life, and that is really saying something! A time that all the issues of the past caught up with me in the most unexpected way and from the most unexpected people. It hit me for a six and left me wondering where I stood in my own life and what it all meant.
So there you go, those "Affairs of the Heart" did indeed "Affect my Heart", the emotional turmoil and stress that I had been suppressing had surfaced right where it started, in my heart! It is a lot better now, because I am a lot better now. I have learnt, this year, to channel my feelings elsewhere and not have to bottle them up. To 'let go' of the past and the ever present 'painful stressors' that will never go away unless I let them. I have learnt to be finally at peace with myself and realise that I cannot change anyone else, I can only find my own path to follow and be happy with that. To try and be thankful for all that I have that is wonderful in my life. For there is so much to be thankful for.
After all I am the luckiest girl in the World! I am loved by my wonderful husband and six children; they are all happy and successful and I am so proud of the people they are becoming. I have a great job and I am good at it, I have my fish to care for and my new Zen Den to unleash my writing. I have a beautiful home in a wonderfully safe and picturesque valley and we have enough money to put food on the table and pay our bills. I am at peace with all of that now, and every day I am getter a little bit closer to accepting that that is enough... I can only be responsible for how I feel and how I see the world, if others don't want to do that, that is not my problem.
I am free, and my heart is beating regularly...
My original ECG ...