Health Update: Ventricular Tachycardia, My Favorite Doctor, and Tendonitis Everywhere
“For you did not receive a spirit that made you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” —Romans 8:15
It has been a great comfort to me to remind myself: God already knows what is wrong with me. He knows what is happening and where it’s headed. I have only to buckle up and trust Him.
First, let me tell ya what a relief it is to have some answers to the heart question.
What do you call your doctor when she’s a physician’s assistant? PA Carlquist? I don’t know what to call her, but she has been a great help to me. She came right in to the appointment and got to the point. She had her computer open and she said, “Well, the good news is we know what it is, but it’s not so good.”
Surprise! Wait. Someone actually is holding a piece to this puzzle. I didn’t even know enough about hearts to be worried. I’m not medical at all. I’m just happy someone does know.
It’s called Ventricular Tachycardia, and I was impressed with the simple way she explained it. She said that it’s like there’s an anarchist down in the lower part of my heart. The upper area is in charge of the rhythm, but occasionally the anarchist rises up and takes over, which is not good. The thing is that he throws off the beat and goes too fast. (Yes, an anarchist absolutely must be a HE. HA!) Then the true leader takes back over.
The problem showed up when I did the overnight heart monitor, at 12:44am, for six beats, so there’s a possibility that it could be caused by my not getting enough oxygen in my sleep. Although, I’m not sure if that explains why it happens sometimes during the day. I’ll have to ask.
They changed my medications, which I am adjusting to this weekend. I am so fatigued!! After three weeks of having my energy back, this is hard.
Let me tell you why I like Cardiology PA Carlquist so much. For starters, I feel comfortable enough with her to tell her what needs to be told. I often freeze up with other doctors. She is good about answering my questions too. I had her look at my swollen pockets on my feet, to make sure it’s not a circulation thing.
“Oh, that’s a tendon. Are you a runner? A skater?” she asked.
“No, it’s just that my tendons hate me.” I have tendonitis in several places now: shoulder, both knees (IT band that runs from knee to hip), and plantar fasciitis that comes and goes.
Of course, while I was showing her my swelling, we both noticed my purple and white toes…
I saw her looking at the toes funny, so I explained, “Oh, yeah, my toes are just purple because I have Raynaud’s syndrome, but it doesn’t bother me too much. It’s always been more of a party trick.” Ha!
She made a note of the purple toes in her computer. Then she went on to explain that the doctor may want to do a ventricular ablation to turn off the ventricular tachycardia. This is a procedure where they go in through your thigh and run a catheter up to your heart and work on the problem that way. The advantage to this is that I would not need medicine anymore, once it’s done.
So I still needed a follow-up appointment with this doctor. He is difficult to get an appointment with.
“I’ll walk you to the desk and see if I can speed the process up a little,” she said. (See, this lady is AWESOME sauce.)
We walk out, and lo and behold, there’s the doctor that specializes in electrical heart problems, standing right there eating an apple!
My PA sent me back to my exam room. She stood out there and talked to the doc for a good five minutes. Then they both came in. I thought he’d just stick his head in for a minute, but no. He pulled up a patient chair, sat down, and asked me questions. It was a good visit. Of course, I forgot to tell him about the fevers, but I haven’t had too many of those lately.
He decided that he wants me to have an MRI, which we don’t expect to find anything bad on. He also wants me to wear the Holter monitor for a week to get more information on the problem. (Last time I only wore it for 24 hours.) Then he asked me to come to the clinic any time that I have symptoms: palpitations, light-headedness, dizziness, so they can have an EKG recording of when it’s actually happening.
That EKG part will never happen. The heart medicine keeps it under control so well that I do not have heart problems so long as I’m taking it, thankfully!
So there you have it. I may or may not need to have the surgery. We’ll see. More tests…fun, fun, fun.
I need to send my PA a thank you note. She saved me another month of waiting for a doctor appointment by bringing the doctor in on the spot like that. Doesn’t it make you feel good when people go the extra mile?
The doctor was very calm about it all, but he did say, “I don’t want to freak you out or anything,” about something. I laughed.
“Oh, I’m not freaked out at all.”
They both laughed at me when they saw the writing on my hand. I write reminders to myself on my palms, and people often chuckle about that.
Oh, one more little funny for ya: The doctor said, with the utmost of seriousness, as he had only just met me, “Now we need to talk about it, if you’re wanting to have children sometime…”
Haaaaaaa!!!!! I didn’t even wait for him to finish. “Oh, don’t worry about that. I have four children, and we are done now.”
Ha! Can you imagine? No, I’m half kidding. I adore babies, and I love my children more than life itself, but that time of life has passed for me. I’m okay with that.
–Definition: condition in which lower chambers of heart beat quickly
–Rare, especially under age 60
–Symptoms: light-headedness, palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting, cardiac arrest
(Obviously, I have not had cardiac arrest.)
–Causes: heart disease, cardiomyopathy, genetics
(I do not know what the cause of mine is.)
-Risks: Cardiac arrest (where the heart stops beating), heart attack
For more info: Healthline article
My hip problem: Iliotibial Band Syndrome.
My physical therapist works on this every week. My IT band is so tight, if you touch it I want to cry. I’m supposed to be rolling it at home everyday with a rolling-pin, but oh man, I don’t want to! I have it in both legs, but the right side is way more severe.
–Definition: inflamed illiotibial band–This ligament rubs against the thighbone causing pain. (The IT band runs from the iliac crest down to your shin.)
–Causes: For me, an abnormal pelvic tilt—Either it’s causing the tilt, or the tilt is causing the angry ligaments. I’m not sure.
–Symptoms: tender to the touch, knee swelling, pain with bent knee, pain using stairs, popping sound with extended knee
This thing quiets down sometimes and only hurts if I touch it, or if the kids sit too close to me, touching my leg. Other times, it gets so bad that it’s hard to even walk. I bought a cane in January, but then it improved. Phew! Let’s hope I don’t have another month like this past January ever again.
For more info: MedicineNet article
Is there an overarching problem causing all this mess? Well, I have yet to prove it if there is, so for now, I have this heart problem, with no known cause, IT band syndrome, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and occasional fevers.
Thankfully, the heart meds help, and being gluten-free has been surprisingly beneficial. I would not have believed it if I hadn’t experienced it first hand, but I have had 100 times more energy ever since I cut gluten from my diet. I am fully functioning again, and it is a wonderful feeling!
Thank you so much, all of you, who are following along on my little tale of woe. And most of all, thank you to those who have prayed!! It has made a world of difference.
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress. I will not be shaken.” Psalm 62:5-6
For the next part of this story: Click here: The Frienemy Drug