Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Becoming the patient...Part 4: I survived

What a week it has been.  The events of last week seem SO long ago.  After my last post, I had to run in for a cardiac echo (ultrasound of the heart) to make sure things looked ok - just a routine check before the ablation.  Most of the time, during an echo your back is to the machine so you can't actually see the pictures.  This time, I had my only little monitor so I could watch the whole thing.  While I am far from an expert, I have watched enough echoes on babies so that I can actually tell a bit of what is going on.

As I mentioned, nothing ever tends to be "normal" with me.  It has become quite a joke.  Well the echo was par for the course.  I could easily see that my mitral valve wasn't working the best - this was known before but I could definitely see the problem.  After the tech finished, they go review it with the physician.  If the physician has questions, usually they will come in and do part of the echo.  Well a different tech came back and said she needed to do some more.  A bit odd.  I noticed how she instantly honed in on my mitral valve- no surprise.  But then she spent way more time zoomed all the way in on my aortic valve.  I couldn't see anything wrong with it, so I was a bit freaked out on why she spent quite a bit of time on it.

And many hours later, I still hadn't heard anything about the results.  So I made some frantic phone calls as it was nearing 5pm.  I got ahold of the cardiologist that I had seen, and he told me there was some stranding of my valve and there was concern that there was a tumor in my aortic valve.  I would need a transesophageal echo in the morning (they put the ultrasound probe down your throat while you are semi-asleep so they can look at the underside of your heart closer). Not my idea of fun.  And then the panic set in.  This was an "incidental finding" as has been every other organ system that has something wrong in me (which is nearly every organ).  Not good for psyche.  I panicked.  I cried.  I definitely wasn't anxious about the ablation cause now I was worried they would need to do open heart surgery.  So maybe that was a blessing.

I made some phone calls to my pediatric cardiology friends and told them what was going on.  I got a bit of reassurance.  I still didn't sleep.  I got up at the crack of dawn, and the husband and I made our way to the hospital at 5:15 am.  And then we promptly waited. And waited. And waited.  The echo happened around 8:30.  I got put to sleep, then woken up by 10. And then we waited. And waited.  And finally at 2:30 pm they took me for the ablation.  So glad we got there at 5:30 am. I actually could have eaten breakfast.  But no -no food or drink in 15 hours by this point.  Have you ever seen me when I get hungry? Yeah -I turn into a bear.  At times I become a bit delirious.  I may or may not have tried to rip IVs out in the past when this has happened.

Then I met the nicest nurse anesthetist.  Seriously bless her heart.  She gave me a ton of fluid and then asked if I had a caffeine headache (again have you seen me without caffeine) "YES I want my coffee". "Ok - here it is" and she gave me caffeine in my IV.  Ahhh... We use this on the babies all the time to make them remember to breathe.  But let me tell you - the IV form was worth whatever the cost was.  Headache instantly went away.  Then I got knocked out by the magic drugs.  I was supposed to be awake for most of the procedure.  But guess what - my heart was "more than compliant" and put on quite a show even with me knocked out.  The next thing I knew I was being told it was all over.  That they fixed my heart.  It was a success.  And the time - 10pm!  Dang that was a long day.

Oh yeah - and there was no tumor.  Something isn't normal with the valve and it is leaking a bit.  But for now, it will just be watched every year.  And my heart is pleasantly ticking away at 60 beats per minute (or less).  I don't feel my heart beating anymore (ok never knew that most people don't actually feel their heart constantly beating).  But with all the worry, fear, and anxiety - I am pretty darn pleased with the results.

Turns out the third time really was the trick.

And they found 2 different areas that were messing up my heart (left atrial tach around the mitral valve and right sided AVNRT for my geeky friends).  I asked if they ever see that. "Um...Rarely...No not really ever".  Yep. Go figure.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Becoming the patient...Part 3

Aghh.  This am was the cardiology follow up from this recent bit of heart mishap (part 1 and part 2).  I had been on some meds when I left the hospital.  I have previously been on the one med and tolerated it fairly well.  Not this time.  I am not a compliant patient.  I stopped the heart med after a few weeks.   And I didn't call my doctor to tell him.  But really - I do listen to my doctors.  sometimes

Today went ok.  My doctor completely agreed that I wasn't tolerating the med and shouldn't be on it.  He also said I have pretty severe arrhythmia and we should do something about it.  Not that I would die from the rhythm, but it will certainly (and it has) limited me in some ways.  So as we had suspected while in the hospital, the recommendation is to back into the electrophysiology lab (EP lab) and try to map out my heart.  Again (maybe the 3rd time is a charm?)  And hopefully be able to burn the parts that are causing a problem.  I told him I wasn't willing to accept a pacemaker as an option.  I would rather live with it than depend on a battery-for the rest of my life.  He agreed with that.

I am a bit freaked out.  He left the room to look for dates.  The husband was with me and I was trying not to panic.  The doctor returned.  So calmly sat down and said "how about tomorrow?".  What.  YIKES.  Guess I can't panic for too long.  And when I panic, my heart does something like this:

Not good
So it is probably best that I don't panic for too long.

And that is it.  Bunch of blood work done.  Have to go in for an echo in a little bit.  Then show up at 5:30 tomorrow morning.  I will come home if they can't burn anything.  And if they burn something, then I spend the night in the hospital.  Assuming all goes as planned.  Which, if you know me, is about as likely as me winning the lottery.  So again - trying not to panic.

I will give lots of kisses to my babies tonight.  I will try not shed tears.  I will try and hold it together.  I will try and sleep.  I will try to relax.  I will try to keep my heart in a normal sinus rhythm.  And I will pray endless prayers that I get to see my babies faces tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

DIY: Christmas Pinterest Projects

All right, the blogging hiatus is over.  Time around the holidays always flies.  Doesn't help when you have to spend a few days in the hospital.  Or run kids to various appointments, tests, surgery.  But we all survived.

And now it is show my attempts at completing some Pinterest projects.  That might become my new focus of this blog.  You know you see all these great ideas on Pinterest.  And you pin them to your various boards.  But then do you ever find time to do them?  And how hard are they?  Do they actually turn out as nice as you hoped?

Well I tried 4 different projects.  Some turned out better than others.  So in no particular order - here are the projects.

1. Clothes pin wreath for Christmas cards from craftinessisnotoptional
I followed the directions posted on the link.  I painted the pins red instead of green because I already had the spray paint.  I have to admit- this project was kind of a pain.  You really do need to use a hanger to have heavy enough of metal to hold everything and keep the shape.  The beads barely fit on the wire.  Hard to get a perfectly round wreath.  And once you actually put all the cards on the wreath, I thought it looked sloppy.  I think next year I will take the wreath apart and just have a long straight line that I will hang from nails.

Here is my complete version.  Not as nice as I had hoped.

2. Spray painted letters hanging over a picture as inspired by this thriftydecorchick

This was definitely not a hard project.  I bought the letters from a craft store and again spray painted red.  I stapled ribbon to the backs.  I had three pictures hanging over our mantle.  I decided to cover them in green burlap, which proved to be a bit difficult.  It was hard to get them to stay wrapped - turns out duct tape and electrical tape worked pretty well.  But the weight of the letters were hold to hold up.  I didn't put the tacks in them like the above blogger did.  Tried duct tape, but only the "Y" would stay up.  I liked the result, and will have to find a better way for them to stay next year.  Also, our pictures our larger than the inspiration and so the letters were spaced apart quite a bit, on the verge of being too far.

 3. Advent calendar as inspired by simple mom

This was very easy to do and my favorite end result.  I found the same scrapbook paper at JoAnns.  It was in a large scrap paper pad, so I had to buy the whole thing and I am not a scrapper.  So now I have lots of paper.  Oh well.  But I bought the same book marks and did exactly as the blog said.  Except cut strips of paper to cover up the clothes pins.  I had a framed picture in the kitchen that I covered in wrapping paper and then hung the advent calendar ribbons from.  The kids loved it.  Definitely a keeper.

4. Covered foam wreath for door as inspired by vintageindie

I decided not to do yarn because I had read it took forever.  So I used wider ribbon.  And I found these silver snow flakes at Joanns.  Not sure if I like the result.  I wish I could find a fatter wreath foam to use.  And then maybe change out the silver snowflakes, or add some other sized ones.  It was a simple enough project (1 spool of ribbon I believe).  Just wasn't exactly what I had hoped for.

And there you have it.  I have tried a few other pinterest projects, and will post about them in the future.  If you have any projects that you want to try but are afraid that they will either be too hard or not turn out right, let me know and maybe I will give them a whirl.