Heart Update #2

posted by Brittney

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"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
-Matthew 11:28-30

Oh, where do I begin?

The past 2 weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions for my family & I. Mainly me.

This is a very tough post to write. Mainly because I am an emotional basket case. But I still want to keep my family and friends informed. So here goes...

Last week, I had the echocardiogram on my heart done and my blood work done. Very routine procedures.

I went into it trying to be positive, and to not have the "worst-case scenario" mentality. On Monday, I did the blood work. And on Thursday, I had my echo.
During my echo, the technician checked all my heart valves, as well as the sounds of my heart, and my ventricular septal defect (VSD) which is in the septum between the ventricles.
My aortic valve was perfectly fine, which is a huge relief. But my mitral valve and tricuspid valves were not.
My mitral valve and tricuspid valves were very "leaky". At that point in time, I didn't know what that meant for me in the future. But now I do.
They also did a bubble test, where they inject saline solution into an IV in my arm and watch it on the ultrasound as it flows through my heart. If the bubbles cross over the septum, it means you have a small hole in your septum (VSD). Obviously, I already knew this, but 2 years ago, only a small amount of bubbles passed through the septum. This time, almost half of the bubbles passed through.

I called the nurse at the cardiologist today so he could read me my results over the phone.

And as of today, I have officially been diagnosed with moderate mitral valve regurgitation & tricuspid valve regurgitation. Meaning, that I have leaky valves that will eventually need to be repaired or replaced. The only way to do this is through surgery.
Surgery. SURGERY.
Maybe if I keep saying it over and over again, it won't seem so scary or daunting.

It could be in 5 years, it could be 10 years, or it could be 20. But more than likely, it will be sooner rather than later. (That is what I am finding out next week.)
My valves have just gotten leakier in the past 2 years, so now I have to be monitored and have annual checkups every 6 months.

In terms of the septal defect, that is another issue in itself. Who knows what they are going to have to do for that. If it has gotten bigger in 2 years, then where will it be in 2 more years?
I have so many questions and no answers.

But that is what next Thursday is for. I have a follow-up appointment with my doctor to go over my results in more detail and to have all my questions answered. And let me tell you, I plan on picking my docs brain.

I also plan on asking for more details about my blood test results. My blood tests came back normal, except for my HDL (good) cholesterol. I have a total cholesterol of 130, which is good, but when you break it down, it's not so good. My LDL (bad) cholesterol is really low, which is great, but my good cholesterol is really low too. Having a low HDL number puts you at risk for heart disease. Well hello, I guess it all makes sense?

All of this in congenital, so I have gone 23 years and have functioned fine. So why, has it all of a sudden gotten worse? What has happened in the past few years that has made my valves more leaky and my VSD bigger?

When I lay in bed at night and my chest gets tight and my heart becomes arrhythmic, it's so hard to go to sleep. I don't want to fall asleep for fear of not waking up. That is usually when I wake up Eric and have him rub my back or hold me until I fall asleep. What a great man he is.

The other day, I took a nap and slept for 5 hours. 5 HOURS.
I really hope I'm not being paranoid.

I am beyond scared. So scared, that I cry almost every day. It is so hard.

I feel broken and unhealthy.
I feel overwhelmed.
I keep going over all the "what ifs" and the "what abouts". But my family keeps telling me to take one step at a time. Which I am trying to do.

I am going to keep taking my supplements, keep eating well, keep running with my heart rate monitor, and just keep being aware of my body and of my heart. 

The only thing I am trying to think about right now, is making it another week and a half before I can get answers.

I am so incredibly blessed so have such a great family, a wonderful and supportive husband, and caring friends. Eric has been so great during all of this. I couldn't ask for a better person to stand by me right now.

Please keep me in your prayers. I will update soon.

And for the time being, I will repeat this verse over and over in my head.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

-Matthew 11:28-30

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