Friday, December 11, 2015

Cardiologist appointment and Vagus nerve Damage


I had my cardiologist appointment last week. I was looking forward to that one, because I read a lot about Tachycardia in the past weeks, and most people get what is called a "cardiac ablation", which is a non invasive procedure. It is very effective to stop the tachycardia, and make it possible to do physical activities that rises your heart rate again, without all the nasty symptoms that a very fast heartbeat can gives you. 

I was hopeful that I would be offered that procedure, and other possible ones, and not to worry again about getting all dizzy, nauseous, confused and out of balance, and the occasional black out, whenever I do something that rises my heart rate, which if for me pretty much anything that involves moving around. Feeling like this makes it very hard to feel "normal". BUT I can move around right? So that's a blessing 

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I won't hide it from you, it has been a depressive week for me, because he told me I am not a candidate for that. He says my tachycardia is caused by the vagus nerve damage and not the heart itself. "The tests results (for the heart) are in the normal range, but the vagus nerve that makes it work is damaged and there is no such thing as regrowing a vagus nerve, because if there was such thing, i'd do it for you". That's exactly what he told me. He then patted me on the shoulder and said "Hang in there, i know it sucks". There is no word for the "condition" other than "Vagus nerve damage". Tachycardia is "just" one of the symptoms. Each symptoms the vagus nerve damage brings have their own set of symptoms, so all I feel is a combination of different things, not just the heart. Of course, vagus nerve damage is also known to give you a very slow metabolism, as if I didnt notice! It's ok... he was very sympathetic and said "I am sorry I can't help you. You are so young and sweet, and that really really sucks" *another pat on the back*

However, he wanted to double my dose of Metropolol, so I would take one in the morning too, and not just when I go to bed. I told him it makes me so tired, dizzy and sick. I could barely drive when I took it one morning after I forgot my morning dose, and had to pull over. I have 24/7 horrible heartburn too with this, and hopefully I can't overdose on Tums, because I go thru a lot. hahaha I don't see the point of taking a medicine that gives me the same outcome of what a "tachycardia attack" gives me, so we compromised and I take a full one at night, and half of one in the morning. I'm supposed to call him in 2 weeks and let him know how that works. So far, the half dose in the morning does make me feel sick and light headed, but not as bad as a full dose.

However, I certainly have been having less of those "tachycardia attacks" since I am on the medicine, and my heart rate still elevates just as fast with little effort, but my heart is not constantly pounding and beating fast at rest. It still does if I am cleaning my house, or walking my dogs, or carrying a laundry basket up my stairs, or do anything too fast, like emptying my dishwasher and putting clothes away; normal things I feel I should be able to do, but my heart doesnt "hurt" every time.

Its just very difficult to "feel" like "you" can do something, you WANT to do something, you have the motivation and the desire, but you try and BOOM, realize that you can't. Its like a slap in the face, or being kept in chains. That does sound dramatic, but that's how it feels. I am pretty sure that's how we feel, and more, at 90 years old too! Our mind doesn't change... our body does! It's like aging 30 years before your time I suppose. 

Then I think, what job am I supposed to look for if I can't work with numbers, I can't focus, I can't hear people talk in a noisy environment, I get dizzy when there are lots of noise. I wear ears plugs in stores, malls etc. I fall over when I bend over or do repetitive movements. I get very confused and forget things and would make mistakes in a work environment. What I am suppose to do?? Greet at Walmart? I know I will find something... but my worries are not imaginary! Oh I know, I'll just dress as a cow in front of Chick-Fill-A. I can make cow noises pretty accurate! Now if i dress as a milking cow, that will really be accurate 

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Anyway, I rarely vent. I am not a complainer, but sometimes, I need to. I should be able to. I should be able to share my struggles sometimes and have someone listen. When people ask me how I am doing, I sincerely answer that I am good, because in the grand scheme of things, I am!! I am VERY thankful!! I don't focus on the hardships at all. But I can't pretend that they are not there. I know I am very blessed to be here and be doing so well with no major deficits like paralysis etc, but its been very depressing to feel like I can't do anything. Some days I feel like I am a prisoner in my own mind, and most days I feel like I am a prisoner in my own body. Then I feel guilty for feeling that way, because it was supposed to be a lot worse, and a lot of people do have it much worse! But I certainly don't ever look down on friends for sharing their struggles with me! It does not even cross my mind! So why should mine be kicked to the side just because I am not in a nursing home?! I AM a very honest person. But people don't really want to hear about struggles. They don't mean to brush you off on purpose, but they do, so what's the point. I am not saying this in a negative way. It is just what it is, and all of us probably do it to others.. we just try to make others feel better by avoiding saying things like "that really sucks" or "i am so sorry"... but you know what, people need to hear that!! We just need understanding and compassion once in a while. Big difference than someone who is always complaining and wants pity. Yuck!

So my "directives" from the cardiologist other than "hang in there", are to take my meds and ever forget them. Deal with my "attacks" by slowing down, pulling over, or whatever else I have learned to do. Find my triggers (which are physical activities, needing sleep, being sick and any stress) and avoid those triggers the best I can. Also to make sure I don't hurt myself when I fall or pass out. hahahaha I told him :

"I dont stress that easy" and he said "We stress a lot more than we realize. You may not have the "emotion" of feeling stressed, but worries, fears, depression, any sense of urgency, will create send stress signal to your brain. So, I told him "I may as well be a robot!!"  Stress, overdoing, lack of sleep, are literally killers.

However I never really hurt myself, because I have a small window or warning and I was always good to use it. I am pretty sure it would only be a very bad situation if I HAD to run and keep running for some reason, or just couldn't stop what I am doing. I have always been able to stop what I was doing.

So, all in all, if you cut all that rambling, the heart is healthy, but the nerve that connects it to the brain is not. The heart needs that nerve to work correctly, and because that nerve can't be replaced or fixed, it is what it is. There is no cure, just management. I just have to do what I can not to damage it more.

Thanks for letting me share my struggles. I'll get over it pretty quickly, as I always do.