First, mea culpa for ending my first blog with “…see you tomorrow….”. Rule #1 of blogging: Never promise a post tomorrow! I have to chalk it up to being overly enthusiastic.
When discussing heart-related symptoms, I’ve learned that women, complicated creatures that we are, have very different symptoms than men. Even though you might have your cholesterol under control, as I have, you can still end up with heart disease. Plaque slowly builds up in arteries over decades. It’s not usually until an artery is over 50% blocked that one experiences any symptoms of restricted blood flow. Quoting percentages and numbers isn’t hard and fast. It’s different for each unique person. This is important to remember.
Our living, breathing, energy-filled bodies will speak through symptoms, giving you red flag messages to pay attention. I’ve listed some of my symptoms; see if any are familiar to you:
*Chest heaviness; for me I described intensity as “one/two bricks” on the chest (I don’t have shooting chest pain). Clammy in neck area; sweats not unusual.
*Headaches with pain radiating down to the base of the neck, continuing on to both sides, over the shoulders and down the arms. This pain radiates and isn’t located in one particular spot. Most important it doesn’t go away with heat, ice, or massage.
*Backache; more involved than my usual chronic pain.
Hand weakness, with specific pain between the thumb and first finger. Hands/feet/toes/arms/legs–numbness/cold.
*Short of breath, even after minor exertion, or talking too much. Dizziness or vertigo
* Throat and jaw pain, however minor.
*Stress. There’s no doubt, we live stressful lives. Globally: wars, starvation, environmental pollution, threats to the food chain. On a personal level, the stress of day-to-day living: mortgage, job loss, day care, illness, aging parents, children’s needs. Huge, stressful issues. No wonder use of over-the-counter medicines, as well as pharmaceuticals, is skyrocketing. Now we are urged by “pharma TV ads” to ask our doctor if we might need this/that drug. Insanity!
*Finally, an observation: sharp diagonal creases in earlobe. I add this because I read it in the February issue of ALIVE magazine and then went to the mirror. I have these creases on both of my lobes.
You might be asking if I had any of these symptoms before I was dignosed February 17th? The answer is yes, some of them (1/2 bricks, trouble swallowing, increasing body pain). In 2005 I had a series of tests: echocardiogram, the 2-day stress test, and a carotid artery ultrasound. I passed them all yet here I am, eight years later with a different set of results.
As you can see my list of symtoms includes a long paragraph on stress. I spent ten years living abroad; six in Japan and four in Mexico. I left Mexico in 2004 to return to Canada. I got very sick living in Mexico. First from bad water, then environmental poisoning with high levels of heavy metals, topped off with four scorpion bites! STRESS?! Over the top, yes.
For almost eight years now I’ve developed more physical issues compounded by stress. The body can only handle so much. This is what happened to me. Aside from an OB/GYN during childbearing years, I’ve consulted few specialists. In the last months I’ve been referred to a respirologist, a urologist, a dermatologist, and now not one but two cardiologists!
Days are spent moving slow, doing only what needs to be done. Shortness of breath is increasing, the body hurts; sleep is always interrupted leaving me groggy most days. Waiting for news is very hard. One might say stressful.