Wow, the season’s are changing and I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving! It’s been a long and winding road this past 9 months but I can say I’m hanging in there. The past month has brought many ups and downs…one month ago I finished my 5K in 42 minutes and I was ecstatic! I ran most of the first two miles but had to do the walk/jog thing during the last mile, all in all not bad considering I was 7 1/2 months out from open heart surgery. A couple of weeks after that I had a scare however…I was at work and developed a pretty bad episode of chest pain when walking down the hall, I was very nauseated, sweating, and having palpitations. I was with two other nurses and decided to go to the ER where again I was given the usual nitroglycerin, 12 lead EKG, and lab tests to rule out a heart attack. The VA shipped me off to Kaiser via ambulance once I was stable and I continued the rule out process there for another 6+ hours. This was by far the worst episode I’ve had since surgery.
After that and consulting with the various physicians involved in my care we decided to try changing me to a calcium channel blocker and long acting nitrate. They also added a birth control pill to prevent the hormone fluctuations that seem to influence my chest pain. We stopped my beta blocker the next day and startdd on my new regimen…the next 10 days seemed like an eternity of misery. I felt horrible every day with fatigue, nausea, chest pain here and there, and progressive shortness of breath. It all culminated in another ER visit 10 days later for severe shortness of breath, I could barely walk without gasping for air. After numerous tests the physician in the ER started me back on my beta blocker and admitted me overnight for observation. Wow, what a difference once I had that medication back on board! Within 2 hours I could breathe again and was more relaxed, it seems like I went into beta blocker withdrawal by stopping the medication cold turkey (the docs all thought I was on a low enough dose but apparently I wasn’t). I’m now back on my original medication regimen from back in March and feel like a million bucks again.
We were able to take our planned trip to Palm Springs last week and had a fabulous time. I was able to hike for 40 minutes straight up a mountain, a drastic difference from 4 days prior when I could barely get up to go to the bathroom!
Again, the moral of the story is always make sure you have clean underwear on because you never know when you are going to end up in the hospital!