I never concerned myself with mortality – until today. Since my diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, I always focused on managing symptoms and over coming obstacles to live a full and joyous life. I thought of my illness as life changing not life threatening. Today, my doctor mention a diagnosis that could end my wonderful life. I realize that I may sound a big melodramatic in this posting but it’s nearing midnight and I give myself permission vent my fears instead of keeping my chin up and thinking positively.
At today’s doctor appointment, I described the shortness of breath, wooziness and heart flutters that I am experiencing. I decided I was suffering from asthma and ongoing stress, with a spattering of fibromyalgia moving into my chest cavity. Having two EKG’s in the last two appointments, I know my heart is healthy and my shortness of breath was the result of the dusty old house where we live as well as the outdoors dust worsened by drought.
After asking lots of questions and listening to my heart and lungs, Doc K. explained that the fibromyalgia is now affecting my endoskeleton in my chest area. He also knows that I am feeling a lot of stress these days that occasionally cause anxiety attacks. But he also said I may be experiencing congestive heart failure. My grandmother suffered from congestive heart failure and I remember taking her to the ER a couple of times. I countered that I don’t have swollen ankles and my chest feels more heavy – like one of my 60+ pound dogs is sitting on it – and not tight like a heart attack. Apparently, not everyone with congestive heart failure has swollen ankles. Agreeing that I am in a fibro flare, he suggested (and I accepted) a shot of Toradal, an NSAID that eases my pain and discomfort for a few days. Just to be thorough, doc also ran another EKG (which looked fine), ordered blood work and a cat scan, which I’ll have tomorrow. I may also have an echocardiogram and take a stress test in coming days.
Part of me feels relief that I was not immediately admitted into the hospital. I took this as a sign that whatever is going on is not immediately alarming and it’s not that serious. After all, I’ve managed these symptoms for the past month or so. It can’t be that bad. But lying in bed tonight, I listen to my heavy breathing and “congestive heart failure, congestive heart failure, congestive heart failure” pounds like a mantra in my brain. What if I fall asleep tonight and don’t wake up? Is it really possible that I have an old person’s disease? Then I remember that my grandmother had an incredibly strong heart ,despite congestive heart failure, and struggled with giving up on life mentally years before her heart finished beating.
Ok, I’ll remain optimistic that whatever the tests uncover in the coming days, I still intend to live well. Maybe I’ll take an anti-anxiety pill anyhow – just to slow my brain enough so I can sleep.