I am a work in progress

May 24, 2015

It feels like forever since I last came online.
Saw family doc last week. He started by saying, you have no energy, really fatigued and just feel like crap. He hit it right on. He was right on. It is to the point I have to force myself to do anything and everything. No he is not a mind reader, he was reading the results of my latest blood work.
It is hard to describe the feelings of tiredness. It is not the “normal” tiredness we all experience and can just “man” up and push through. You hit a wall where the energy reserves are just gone, you have nothing left. Add the feeling crappy and things haven’t been to spry.
To top it off, it must be a couple of weeks ago the IPad froze. I think everything tech Bill did just made it worse. Finally a trip to the Apple Store, a two minute fix and back in business.
The way I was feeling it became too easy to procrastinate. It became I just don’t have the energy today, too tired to use it today. I will take it tomorrow. It took until yesterday for tomorrow to finally get here. Missing being here on the blog was what it took to get me off my butt.
The way I feel depends on the day and even the time of day. I am still having the episodes that I have written about before. I have come to realize it will only last 20-30 minutes, that is not so bad. I am going to have these episodes, no choice in that. How long they will last or how severe it will be again, I have no say in that.
Now I am not perfect at this, a work in progress, but I am getting much better at maintaining the right mindset. Which for me is staying more positive, it helps me a lot both mentally and then physically.
The fatigue, well I am living a lot of guy’s dream life. I get to lay around all day, dozing, napping, watching TV. Dealing with the episodes, well that is a little harder. When it hits, I try to go into a semi meditation type state. Focus on the big picture of my life which is good. I acknowledge that what I am experiencing at the moment sucks but it is only going to last 20-30 minutes. Focus on, this 20 minutes or so in the grand scheme of my whole life is but a blip in time. Really this is nothing, I can easily deal with this. Get through it and put it out of my mind. I always know there is another one coming, just don’t know when. Can’t let fear of that next one get into my thinking.
I am definitely a work in progress.


Learning to deal with life

May 6, 2015

I must be a creature of habit or something. I am realizing I have a hard time adjusting to change. Well, at least negative change impacting my health.
Heart Failure is a degenerative condition meaning with time it just gets worse.
For me it seems every couple of years some sort of heart related issue happens. Things are dealt with in an urgent/crisis mode, tests are done and the doctors show their amazing skill and I come through it. Afterwards I face an adjustment period. Usually because my physical limitations have been reduced and I do struggle with that. It takes a bit of time but I work at it, get my head screwed on straight and reach a level of acceptance. I am able to get on with life living with my new physical reality. Not easy but I get there. Life is to be lived not endured. I suppose I became comfortable. Yes, I had the chest pain but nitro spray mostly dealt with that. Constant fatigue – afternoon nap. Light headed/dizziness be more careful when standing.
About a year and 1/2 ago a totally new heart condition came on with a gusto. My heart rate sped up to the point my resting heart rate was in the 120/130’s. That by itself increased the exhaustion, limiting me to virtual bed rest. I was having episodes where my heart would for no apparent reason would take off beating 180/190 beats per minute. With that my blood pressure was rising 20/30 points.
It was decided in time I needed ablation therapy on the right side of the heart. Burning/killing a small part of the heart muscle that helps distribute the electrical impulses throughout the heart. When the doctor got in there he realized it was more complicated and ended up burning a line from the bottom of my heart up to the very top. Let’s just say it was no fun.
Since then it almost immediately kicked over to the left side of my heart doing the very same thing. Symptoms though we’re magnified by about 10. By symptoms I mean things I am feeling physically being more extreme.
I am still having my episodes. It is improved as heart rate will still get way up there but mostly only to the 150’s. Now though with this my blood pressure is dropping, heart beat is even more irregular, when chest starts bounding, way stronger than before. During episodes chest pain is quite a bit more than before. The nitro spray I usually can use for the chest pain, I can use only on a limited basis. Nitro spray will lower your blood pressure. As my blood pressure is already to low I can’t use the spray and lower it further. The low blood pressure magnifies the light headed, dizziness, my wonkie head. Poor me. Give my head that shake. Some of the top heart doctors in the country are aware of this. My file is marked urgent, they are working on the best plan of action. Here on earth I could not be in better hands. Be patient, don’t sweat it and they will get me through it all.
Right now there is so much going on I think I allowed to overwhelm me to some degree. In one of my deep thinking sessions, I decided to break all this down to it’s individual issues that are affecting me at this time, my symptoms.
OK, it takes a while to get out of bed. I have to do it slowly or the dizziness will put me on the floor. Huh, it is a bit of a nuisance but in the overall scheme of things, not that big a deal. OK, I have walk with a cane and hang on to things to not loose my balance. Well that is another big nuisance but I am still getting around so maybe that is not such a big deal.
Now the increased chest pain is a little harder to deal with. If I can use my nitro spray it will be gone in seconds. If I can’t use the spray, I know it will only last 15 or 20 minutes. Now really everything considered, that is not all that bad.
My out look has changed. Yes, I have crap going on but nothing I can’t easily deal with. Life is good


Lost my macho

April 28, 2015

I have been doing a lot of soul searching. For years now I have lived with the fact that the next heart attack is on the horizon. I know that one will put me down for the count. I may not have a tomorrow, now I certainly don’t like that idea but over time reached a level of acceptance. Dealing with ever decreasing physical limitations was almost my biggest struggle.
Yes, I had daily bouts of chest pain but my handy nitro spray controlled the majority of that. I have been told my heart, while it carried me through 5 heart attack will not be able to handle #6. I have so many blocked arteries when #6 hits, it is most likely I will just go down and that is it. In my mind anyway I came to expect it would just hit me like a bolt of lightening, and I am gone before I hit the floor. Now let’s face it none of us want to die but when that time comes my envisioned quick end would not be such a bad way to go.
Huh, it is not working out that way. My exit from this Earth is supposed to be quick and at least relatively pain free.
Now the heart failure, the heart attack on the horizon, none of that has changed. All that I am going through now is an entirely different heart issue. This new issue has options/procedures that can be done to treat or at least alleviating the physical affects it has on me especially the bone wilting fatigue and a lot of the pain.
But anything they do will be for quality of life not quantity.
Doing this soul searching I realized something, I am a whimp. I can face dying but throw in the pain and other symptoms as I have now and any macho I have left in me withers


My days

April 27, 2015

Gradually feeling better. The heart procedure had limited success. Things are better in that my resting heart rate has reduced from about 130 beats per minute to in the area of 105. Obviously that is an improvement but physically I don’t feel any different.
Doctors are trying to figure out what or if any further options are left. All of this has nothing to do with the heart failure and will not affect quantity of life only hopefully providing a better quality of life.
What is my quality of life? Hard question to answer as it depends on the day and even time of day. Have had to give my head a bit of a shake to remind myself that to a large degree it is my own thinking and attitude that determine the quality of my day. Doing that has helped me move from the poor me, this sucks. To OK, this is not the way I would like my life to be be but it is what it is. There is nothing I can do about it so accept it for what it is and get on with living life. Look for the good things and I realize life is good.
I said it can depend on the time of day. For a couple of hours first thing in the morning other than feeling worn out tired, I feel pretty good. No pain no discomfort, I feel good. As the morning progresses I feel more and more tired.
I have the luxury of being able to take an afternoon nap and I most certainly take advantage of that.
Wake up from my nap and generally feel light headed, dizzy with on and off moderate chest pain. Balance is usually off, especially when getting up from a sitting or from laying down. All relates to blood pressure. They checked that in the hospital. They took my blood pressure laying down, then had me stand up. They immediate took it again and the top number had dropped 22 points. I have learned to just stand up very slowly while holding on to something or I will fall. I now use a cane when walking for balance purposes.
Then evening comes. Right around supper time the chest starts to pound. Meaning I can feel it beating, no big deal. That is but the start of my typical evening.
That marks the beginning of what I call my “episodes”. Clinic has asked me to record what the heart is doing so out comes the blood pressure machine.
Typically an “episode” lasts 20/30 minutes but some have gone as long as 3 hours. Every evening can be different in that I may only have a couple of the shorter ones but have had as many as 6 in an evening.
During these “episodes”, it starts with my heart pounding so hard it feels like it wants to come flying out of my chest and the beat becomes very irregular and starts beating faster and faster. This then affects the blood pressure, which starts to drop. Hey, I am memory guy and to lazy to go and get the book where Vi records all the numbers. I do remember at one point blood pressure was 58 over something with my heart rate in the 170’s or 180’s. Now trust me on this you don’t feel to sparky at that time. I have learned to just lay down quietly and it will pass and pass it does. My energy levels are already low but this really drains any reserves I have.
Now my evenings have been like this for years but to a much lesser degree. By supper time I have used up my energy reserves for the day and I want nothing more than to just lay down. It has affected my appetite, it is way down. The mere though of anything greasy or spicy. Silver lining here, my appetite is way down, I have lost a lot of my excess weight like 45 pounds in the last 8 months. At the clinic they check and record my weight with each visit. They checked their records from 8 months ago and that is what the scale says.
This latest procedure has changed something with my episodes. Prior to, an episode was the heart rate taking off but the blood pressure also going up. Now the heart rate goes up but blood pressure goes down.
In the past I did my best to minimize or even hide the discomfort I was feeling. Have company over or what ever, I put on my best face and declare myself to be fine and hang in there as best I could. It around supper time and energy is just gone, I have to lay down. Go to the bedroom, close the door and try to deal with what ever is going on at the time.
It occurs to me some may even think I am antisocial or something as I decline to go out with the family group for evening meals. That is not the case at all. I am just exhausted, if my heart isn’t already pounding, I know it is hust a matter of time and the mere thought of food turns my stomach. I never want anyone to miss out on anything so I just encourage them all to go.
Things are now different. I am no longer able to hide the episodes. The low blood pressure has me so light headed I am staggering and falling, harder to hide that.
As usual more to say but have worn myself out


Update

April 17, 2015

Just an update to let my blogging friends know how I am doing.
Is this a life lesson, avoid Thursday’s. Lol. The past 3 Thursday’s in a row, including yesterday, I have ended up in the ER. OK, I admit it. Yesterday was more of an I got dragged there. Vi firmly gripping and pulling an ear lobe.
Having episodes. Never know when it will start or how long it will last. Heart rate goes way up, blood pressure goes way down. Don’t feel very sparky.
Heart Failure Clinic monitoring me closely. Apparently they have a big meeting weekly. All the doctors of all specialties meet and review cases, mine being one of those cases for today. It was pointed out anything they may do is for quality of life and will not affect quantity. Waiting to see what their decision is. At the point I may decline.
Feeling really good today.


Want too respond to each comment individually

April 11, 2015

Going to spend time responding directly to the wonderful supportive comments left for me. Please know all are read and so much appreciated. Depending on how I am feeling, I read and take comfort from them but don’t always have the energy to reply individually. It is always my desire to respond, immediately, but how I am feeling determines that.
Been a tough week with lists of “heart action” and discomfort.
Last evening was the worst, ended up spending the evening in the ER. Resting heart rate was in the 180’s with big shortness of breath. Amazing the medications available. Fill me with drugs and feeling better within 1/2 hour or so.
Been having a lot of light headed ness and dizzy. Blood pressure has a lot to do with it. At one point blood pressure was 72/58want
Now on a new medication, hopefully that helps.


I am A son of God

April 8, 2015

I am on the mend. Massive bruising but no discomfort from that area at all. Heart/chest no issues at all until yesterday. Heart went back into AFib 3 or 4 times. Heavy pounding in my chest, very irregular beat and racing at 160-170 beats per minute. Very uncomfortable, but doctors had warned me that for the first week or so that this may happen. It just wasn’t expecting the severity or the degree of pain involved. Vi was pushing to head to the hospital. I wasn’t so willing as I had been told this may happen. It was the intensity or severity that caught me by surprise. It was all the symptoms I had prior to the surgery just amped up several degrees. Have a call into the Ablation Clinic to discuss it with them.
I was recently asked a very good question by dear blogging friend rangewritter. How do I pull myself up when moral and spirits are sagging?
Over the years with health issue and ever decreasing physical limitations I have been presented with a number of “challenges” that I have to get my head wrapped around and come to acceptance. To me acceptance is important because with it I can adjust my thinking try to face my new reality on get on with living life. Acceptance does not in anyway mean giving up, it means recognizing my current situation for what it is and accordingly live life the best I can.
I have 2 “techniques” that I use together with prayer and meditation. Have I perfected them? Not even close, but they do help. Practice makes it easier. You may laugh but here it is.
In my writing, in my life I usually refer to God as our Heavenly Father. The Heavenly Father that loves us all as his children. Following that thinking, I there fore consider myself to be a Son of our Heavenly Father, a son of God. Thinking of it that way does it make me feel special? Of course it does. God loves his children and I am but one of them. Every single person on this planet God loves in the same way and I believe sees/loves each of us as a son or daughter.
I go through this in my mind and then ask myself a simple question. You consider yourself to be one of God’s children, a son of God. Are you acting like it? Thinking about that seems to push my head in the right direction.
Now on the chance I didn’t make this clear as did apparently happen the last time I wrote if this. No, I am not claiming to be a Jesus like figure or anything like that. Jesus was THE Son of God. I am merely claiming to be one of those that our Heavenly Father loves as his children.
Have one more “technique” involving my mother I will share later


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