Friday, November 29, 2013

My Confused, Broken Heart Jerked Around Daily

Poor confused heart.  I feel sorry for it.  But I appreciate it.  However it has occasionally been telling me the 'calvary is not coming', and we may have to deal with the worst.
Yoga for Blood Pressure Control
No wonder.  It's been cut into, had the original aortic root cut out and replaced with mechanical parts.  It has been on bypass of a long time.  It has had multiple surgeries.  It suffered through almost fatal endocarditis.   It had a pic line inserted next to it for almost four months of daily heparin, fluconazole, vancomycin and amoxicillin.  It dealt with a nasty wound vacuum taped above it.  It fights off fear and doubt, sadness and depression daily.  And it is protected by a very precarious unstable sternum with wires almost poking through my chest. (I have to say though I do love the loud surreal mechanical clicking :))

First thing in the morning it is dosed with losartan, metoprolol and aspirin.  The metoprolol works to slow it's beat down to about 40 beats per minute.

Within minutes of the metoprolol it is hit with a jolt of freshly brewed bold and rich coffee out of the French press, something I know is probably not so smart but without the coffee I walk around in a zombie state all day long.

Cardiac confusion sets in as the metoprolol tells it to slow down and the coffee tells it to speed up.

After the second cup of java the coffee wins out over metoprolol and the blood pressure begins to rise.

To offset the rise in blood pressure from the coffee that pulls me out of zombie land I start with prayer,  Yoga and breathing therapy.  Now while the heart is beginning to race my focused breathing and calming focus on omniscient love somehow mitigate the caffeine's effects.

After slowing from the metoprolol dose, then speeding from the coffee and again slowing from the Yoga, my fingers and toes begin to go through their daily chill, as my partially functioning heart can't pump enough blood to the now constricting peripheral arteries.

And as the peripheral arteries constrict, the Yoga slowed heart starts pumping harder and harder to move blood to the fingers and toes.  At this time I know AFIB is moments away.

But as I tire of coffee after the first two cups and turn to ginger and green tea, the heart starts slowing once more.  Ginger tea, socks and a hot shower help with peripheral blood flow and once more the heart relaxes.

The sun now a couple hours in the sky and feeling relaxed, I walk outside, making a decision to either go for a walk or ride my bike.  Once into the walk or ride my heart starts beating harder and harder….sigh.

Worrying about too fast a pulse and potential effect on my dissected aorta I return to the house and lay down by the bedroom window to take a nap, slowing my heart again as I fall asleep, totally exhausted from the little bit of morning's physical activity.

Waking from the nap I open a letter from Division of Motor Vehicles to see that my driver's license has been medically suspended or some other typical 'bash-the-disabled' letter (I have begun to dislike the U.S. Postal Service as they have become a barer of bad news more than once lately).  Coping with huge challenges like these, especially unexpected ones sends the cardiac muscle into overdrive, and one day may be the cause of an aneurysm.

I slip another big blue metoprolol under my tongue and let it dissolve.  If the big blue pill doesn't help I pop a losartan.  Soon my heart shifts from racing mode back into slow mo through by this time my chest is hurting from the constant changes in slow, fast, slow, fast, slow, fast, slow motion.

I know my heart does not do well on the roller coaster-like ride each day.  Dietary changes, as well as constant physical therapy and a focus on spirituality are helping me level the valleys and peaks somewhat.  But I still have a long ways to go.

This journey of getting to know my new heart in a much more intimate way than I ever knew it before is now becoming a passion.

Not only do I want to live a long time but I want to try and heal my flopping, torn, ripped main artery that runs down from the Dacron tube atop my heart down into my chest, kidneys and legs.

I have learned so much, especially lately.  But there is so much more to learn.  And much of what I've discovered has not come from doctors but from others suffering from the same and similar challenges.

So much swirls around inside my stroke damaged brain.  Ideas, observations, theories, notes, comments and thoughts of mine own and of my friends are interwoven with those of volumes of proven medical data and surgical experience.

A tiny light is glowing way down the very long, dark tunnel.  I am excited about this light.

Soon, with diet, spirituality, my medications, more physical therapy, the help of my family, my friends and the ability to manage stress my heart may learn to shrug it all off and settle into a steady rhythm.

I call that hope.  Maybe, just maybe way off in the distance I am thinking I hear a bugle and the rumble of that elusive last-minute calvary charge.

Maybe my heart might soon not be quite so confused anymore.


Rebecca Stearns said...

It's all about balance isn't it.

CLCook said...

Do you have any advice about connecting with a Marfan community or support group that is NOT a Facebook group? I'm recently diagnosed, pretty shaken up, and don't want to broadcast it to all my acquaintances and colleagues on Facebook. Any advice is appreciated. I'm a 30 year old female, newlywed, in Alabama.