I walked half-way through my daily exercise and stopped to catch my breath. I thought I was walking too fast or was exhausted from work so I decided to cut it short and head home that evening.
One week later I was feeling the same. I was struggling to catch my breath in between taking care of my patients. Smallest chores became a burden. I felt like I was carrying a big rock on my chest; so I took off and went to see my primary care physician.
Her first impression was that I was going through too much stress and needed to relax, but I told her there was something more than stress. She gave me a prescription for anxiety pills and I took them for ten days. My pain increased quite a bit. So, I went to see my doctor again.
This time I told her I felt the issue resided in either my lungs or heart. I had a gut feeling that maybe I was having angina, since my whole family is diabetic with a history of heart problems. She sent me to her husband who was a pulmonary specialist and he ran some tests. She believe I was too young to have a heart problem. The pulmonary tests came negative. Still, I was given nebulizer to breathe more freely and antibiotics for bronchitis.
Three weeks later I could not take but two or three steps at a time. I didn't know what else to do but visit my primary again. By this time I was hardly sleeping in the nights fearing that I would not wake up in the mornings. Once in a while, in the middle of the night, I found my 14-year-old holding his finger near my nose to see if I was still alive.
This time I insisted on visiting a cardiologist to get my heart checked. So I was sent to a cardiologist; another associate/friend of my primary . I was told I'd be given a stress/echo test in the office within the next week. Meanwhile I was having trouble getting the day off at work for this test by my supervisor.
Somehow, I managed to keep my appointment. The test results came positive and I was told I would need a cardiolite stress test with nuclear images. I waited another week and by this time, it had been four weeks since my troubles started.