Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Final Checkup with the Cardiologist - Heart Palpitations


Spoiler alert: I’m not dying...yet.

A week or so ago I had my final (or what I thought was my final) appointment with the cardiologist.  As you might recall, I had a series of heart palpitations over the last few months during which my heart rate would spike to 230. Read about them here or here or here. If you look up “fun” in the dictionary, it says: Antonym: heart palpitations. 

I had chest pain, shortness of breath, I saw Jimmy Hendrix ride by on a bike made out of sausages, I basically had the works.  So, I did what good runner would do......and ignored them for the first 6 months. But, eventually I decided that I SHOULD indeed do something about them and went in.

I was poked and prodded, and no one bought me dinner first! had an ultrasound, and wore a portable EKG for a month. It was lovely. And on Thursday last week I went in to get the results.

I'm alive!!!!  (My actual heart)


The doc said that the echocardiogram/ultrasound looked basically fine.  I had slightly thickened walls of the heart and there was some valve leakage, but both are likely attributed to being healthier than god damn Secretariat a healthy runner.  My heart was thick because I work it hard running not eating gravy and it is so strong that the valves can’t hold in all of the blood.  Finally he also said that I was in the top 5% of heart strength as measured by penis size some random measurement.  By this point, doc Cardiologist was top notch in my book!  But then he said something to the effect of:

Well, if you would like, we could do a procedure to catheterize and burn off the nerve that was causing the issue.  Don’t worry, it’s a totally normal procedure during which I stick a tube and wire in your crotch all the way to your heart.”  I’m sure I was as white as a ghost.  He just sat there waiting for me to say “sure doc, let’s do it!” and wheel me away on a gurney.

The doctor went on to explain that I could likely solve the issue with the procedure, but doing nothing likely has minimal risk.  As long as I wasn’t fainting with the palpitations, the heart would sustain limited if any “damage” when it was fluttering.  In fact, he said the major risk was not that my heart would explode but instead I’d faint while driving a car and drive off of a bridge.  “It’s not the heat that will kill you, it’s the humidity!”

So, I kindly told the doctor “no thank you” on sticking a soldering gun into my heart (my words) and said I would take my chances with the bridge.  He was completely fine with that decision and we made an appointment for a 6 month checkup.

Oh, and he might have also mentioned that I should take it easy for a while with my running.  Advice that I slept on, and then proceeded to run a 10 mile tempo run with 5 at 6:30 pace during which I nearly barfed. Thanks for the thumbs up, doc!


 

19 comments:

Mike said...

Great news! Look up Athlete's Heart and you'll see slight wall thickening mentioned.

Laura is Undeterrable said...

I have to say that I'm glad you're not dying. Dying sucks. Stay alive please.

Alma said...

Good to hear. You need to be around to show little guy how it's done.

Kate said...

That's a great take it easy. :)

Sue's Ramblings said...

Good to hear that you're back in business.

Johann said...

Good news indeed! I have a very mild case of pectus excavatum (hollow chest) which means my chest boan presses against my heart giving it a round form. It can sometime also make my heart give funny noises and scary stuff indeed. But I'm always told my heart is super strong so I believe that. Downside is the condition gives me very low VO2 Max and very small lung capacity which is why I am so slow.

Running Through Phoenix said...

1st dibs on your new Garmin!!

Meghan said...

Great news and excellent decision! Hopefully you had that first date.

Lisa said...

i have heart arythmia too, and would also say NO THANK YOU to that procedure. If it's not necessary, I don't see the point.

Bean said...

I just went through something similar. It is tough being so awesome;).

TNTcoach Ken said...

So just stay away from bridges! Problem solved........ Good to hear the news.

Ewa said...

Don't drive, just run and your problem is solved.
Glad to hear you wil live. I would have missed your blog. ;-)

Deb said...

I just love your blog and I also just love your followers, always fun to read. So cheers to all of you! And glad 'it' is really nothing to worry about. You are aware and now you go on. Maybe get one of those 'help, I have fallen' buttons, just in case. :)

pensive pumpkin said...

isn't it fun to tell them to suck it? bwahahahahaha!!! rebel patients unite!

Pam said...

Do you know Jen that does the blog Setting You Free? Isn't this the same procedure she had done a few months ago?

Redhead Running said...

All that for nothing basically? Please tell me you asked for a happy ending or something?!?!?

robin said...

Hi. Eight years ago, my 9 year old son had the procedure your doctor was speaking of - radio-frequency ablation. He had Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (manifesting as supra-ventricular tachycardia - pulse of 228/minute, at times for as long as 4 hours). The procedure has a 98% success rate, and totally cured him of the problem. Just sayin'... ;)

The Slow One said...

You showed him! 6:30 pace!

I'm curious now about this heart thing. I never had palpitations until I started running. Lately, I can feel my heart pounding in a funny way when I skip a day or two of exercise.

I'm glad you're not dying, and thanks for sharing with the rest of us who may have thought we were dying, too.

Julie @ ROJ Running said...

I had the same procedure done a few months ago. Found out I had WPW. Normally it's not an issue, but it can be for distance runners. (As I was told and read online). The procedure sounds SUPER bad, but it was SO SO simple and SO SO easy. I would do it again in a heartbeat (no pun intended). I went in the hospital at maybe 8 and was home by 3 or 4? Most of the was recovery room time. 3 days later I was cleared to run (and only 3 days wait b/c of the insertion site of the groin). Best choice I ever made, I can feel the difference EVERY DAY and especially when running. If you have the insurance I would say do it, do it now when there isn't an issue and you only lose 3 days as opposed to waiting for something to happen and who knows what that will involve. (If you do go to my blog to read up about me I should note I AM currently struggling w. performance. That's because I waited 4 months to do my procedure and was unable to work out the whole 4 months. So my struggles are with building a base, not at ALL heart related, in fact, like I said it "fixed" all my heart/breathing/internal concerns)