My doctor calls it “a flare up”. I call it a nightmare. I’ve spent the last two weeks wondering whether or not I should go to the emergency room.
I’ve learned to deal with the usual symptoms; pressure in the chest, extreme fatigue and the stomachache. That’s everyday stuff – the stuff I wake up to. It’s when the unusual symptoms begin that I get a little nervous; things like intense dizzy spells and shoulder pain.
So I wait. I figure if it doesn’t go away in a day or two, I’ll call my doctor. Two days pass and I still feel ‘schmoopy’ (my husbands loving description of what I look like on the outside when my heart gives me grief). Here is where my head was this week: “Is this it? Am I finally having a heart attack? Will I spend the evening in the ER? Maybe they’ll have to do a 12 lead EKG…did I shave my legs today?”
The symptoms remain the same, however, because of the overwhelming worry, I wonder what’s worse - having heart disease or the fear of dying from heart disease.
A Never Ending Cycle
It’s a unique situation to be in, one in which it’s best to keep things in perspective. Those of us in this position know when the symptoms are manageable and when something just isn’t right. While the management of a chronic illness carries enough stress in and of itself, it’s not as bad as the panic caused by the relapses.
Apparently this heart disease isn’t going away so perhaps what I need to do now is focus on getting the emotional aspect of it in check. The unknown is a scary thing. However, worrying about it won’t change it, right? Instead, I’ll focus on the things I can control; like medication and eating habits and exercise. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d better go shave my legs.
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