Friday, June 26, 2009

My Palpitating Heart

A few posts back I discussed some possible cardiac symptoms I was having. I saw the cardiologist on June 17th at which time he informed me he wanted me to have an echo cardiogram and a chemical stress test. The tests were done on that day. So I waited until June 19th to receive the test results. My echo came back normal but the stress test showed an abnormality. I was scheduled for a cardiac catheterization on June 23rd.

My husband has 7 coronary bypass grafts, 8 stents and an artificial aortic heart valve. We have been through some trying times over the past 15 yrs. It isn't as if cardiac procedures are foreign to me but when it came to me being the patient I suddenly lost all perspective.

My Mom died at the early age of 52 and I am 52 now. For whatever reason I have always felt living past the age of 52 would be a milestone for me. I never claimed to think logically. So my mind ran wild with scenarios as you can probably imagine. I found myself so frightened and certain of impending doom. Many things go through ones mind when confronting your own mortality.

I made it through the 3 days of waiting for the procedure. That morning a relative calmness had come over me. Strange feeling for me. My husband went overboard trying to reassure me by using humor of all things. Poor guy he was doing his best to help me through what he knew had me very frightened. In retrospect I am grateful for his support, love and humor.

The procedure went smoothly. I was so impressed with the cath lab team and their ability to make me feel at ease throughout the whole thing. We even had a conversation about the use of bee venon therapy for certain diseases. A catheter is in my heart and I am watching it on the screen and we are talking bee venon.

One regret I have is not asking the nurse to shave the entire area as it is swimsuit season. Yeah right, me in a swimsuit. Oh, the results of my cath? No signs of blockage! Yippee..

I had no blockage so I had to keep my leg straight and motionless for 2 hrs. and then I could go home. Now if I had had stents placed or an angioplasty I would been kept overnight and my leg would have been motionless for 6 hrs. Insurance companies never cease to amaze me. Not that I think I needed to stay overnight but something just doesn't make good sense.

That is what I did this week and now I am looking forward to the results of the Holtor monitor I wore for 24 hours. Hopefully it will explain my symptoms. Other than having a bruised groin, a partially shaved pelvic area and frequent palpitations I am back to the normal life with MS.

Friday, June 19, 2009

My Morning Relaxation

I am not feeling up to writing a post today. I look forward every morning in seeing which of my lilies have bloomed. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Wildflower In Me

I took a little walk today with cane and camera in tow. I didn't go far but far enough to enjoy the fresh air, get some exercise and capture some beauty.

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life. ~John Burroughs

Friday, June 12, 2009

Who is Going to Catch Me?

I began having more than usual neck and back problems and of course increased pain. I knew the exacerbation of my neck pain was computer and posture related. I had started doing some of the exercises I had already been taught in previous PT sessions in the past. I find it so difficult to follow my home exercise program. I don't remember it until I am in moderate to severe pain. Go figure.

I am two weeks into my current physical therapy treatments. OMG. First I don't think it is possible for anyone that doesn't have MS to understand there is a fine line between therapeutic and torture. I think my therapist is beginning to get the picture though. She sees me as a potential "lethal weapon" if I have been pushed to far. Not intentionally on my part but by the reaction of my body if pushed to far. Tremors! She should know better than to put a 1lb. weight in my left hand and tell me to raise it above my head. I did it successfully once but my arm fell behind my head like a big rock in water. She has learned her lesson with the weights. I expect her to be wearing steel toed boots today when I see her.

I live in a very small rural community so they don't see many MS patients so things like my positive Romberg is used as a training and educational tool during my sessions. I don't mind helping educate people as long as they are there to catch me when I go down. I tend to go to the right or backwards.

My husband was enlightened during my last session when he sat in and observed. He had no idea my tremors were as profound as they are. Ask me to do leg raises while laying flat, sure, just watch out after the first one because the tremors start and I have no control and my leg drops like a rock. We found that if I dorsiflex my foot during the leg raises I have control over the tremors. That sure makes my legs more tired.

We moved on to gait. I was even shocked. I know I can't stand on one foot, do heel to toe or any other fancy jigs but I am more restricted than I thought. We tried having me walk sideways. The first leg goes ok but for the life of me I have no control over the other leg. It is lost in its own space and time somewhere. Eventually it comes dragging or flopping over in its own time. Then she had to try backwards. I think I am an experiment for her. I didn't make it 2 steps backwards without nearly toppling over. So it is very apparent I have proprioceptive dysfunction. I could have told them that.

I shall persevere with optimism and hope that I will gain some strength despite the new found knowledge of my limitations. I guess I knew them but I didn't want to think about it. It is difficult to ignore when someone is catching me while in free-fall. On a positive note I am thankful there is someone there to catch me when I am on the verge of falling.

In Memory

In memory of Nicole, the daughter of Sherry at
May you find peace, comfort and strength during this difficult time.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Heart and Diet

This is certainly something we should think about before it has a negative impact on our lives. I recently had a eye opening experience and the saga continues. I had my GP check my lipid panel. The results were not really surprising. Needless to say my total cholesterol was well over the desired range, my triglycerides were elevated but lower than my last results, HDL was within the normal range, LDL was of course much to high. You can find desirable cholesterol levels at:

I have been avoiding and finding other reasons to explain some symptoms I have been having for over a month or so. It is so easy to just contribute all one's aches and pains to MS, fibro and all the other multiple ailments. As a previous nurse I know this is not wise.

The symptoms have not gone away and and new ones have appeared. Sharp pains in my left chest with discomfort down the inside of my left arm. MS? My left side is my weakest and does cause me pain. Then the feeling of pressure in my mid-chest with feelings of palpitations. I do have anxiety problems but I knew it wasn't anxiety related. I also have a history of GERD(gastroesophageal reflux disease) but it hasn't bothered me for over a year except occasionally. I did resume my acid reflux medication last week just in case it was GERD. Ok, I knew I needed to address this issue. I do have a history of heart disease on both sides of my family. Then another symptom appears. I noticed my left leg was swollen and my left hand. I couldn't rationalize this symptom away and didn't try to either.

I saw my family doctor yesterday, reported my symptoms and voiced all my concerns. My EKG showed I had a heart rate of 46. Possible reason for increased cognitive issues recently? I don't have the results of the final EKG report. They drew lab work which revealed my cardiac enzymes were within normal limits so I haven't had a recent cardiac event. Waa Hoo! :-) I am awaiting a phone call to see when I see the cardiologist which is hopefully very soon.

I have MS so the low heart rate isn't because I am in tip top condition physically so we will explore other possible causes. Since I had received my cholesterol results I had been making a real effort to change some of my dietary habits such as to introduce vegetables and fruits back into my diet. I much prefer danish, chocolate and anything else full of refined sugar and saturated fats. Today I visited one of my favorite blog spots and it hit me right between the eyes. I do believe it truly is time for me to develop a new relationship with food.

I must admit I am frightened. My husband has heart disease and has been through so much. I know how serious these things can be. I never expected to be in this situation.

I will stay optimistic and have faith that whatever they determine is the problem will be resolved successfully. I shall leave you with this link:

“Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart.”
Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Access Denied

I must give credit to Herrad at for me even seeing this as an issue that is worthy of being dealt with. My husband was kind enough to take me to our local chain pharmacy to get prints from my digital camera. I had several photos to print so I knew it was going to take awhile. My hubby & I have only done this once before, the blind leading the blind you could say. The plan was for me to do the photos while he went to do the grocery shopping elsewhere. "Not so fast honey". I do have significant cognitive problems so I was prepared for this to be a challenge on my own but what I wasn't prepared for was my inability to hold my arms up to the level of the Kiosk(I think that is what you call the darn thing) to touch all the necessary buttons. There was no way I could do this on my own. Amazing the things we used to be capable of doing independantly that have become joint projects.

Problems I see with this technological progression in the use of camera's:
  1. Kiosk(machine) usually put in crowded area of store

  2. Some have tall chairs to sit in to perform task at hand but what if one can not get into chair or is in wheelchair therefore preventing one from using the machine at all. Most places have no chairs requiring standing for entire task which is impossible for some such as myself

  3. Machine is too tall for anyone in a wheelchair. Definately not wheelchair assessible

  4. Did I see any employees hopping stumps to assist me(us)? No

I see the need for advocacy and action here. I need to take some action and be more of an advocate for myself and others instead of just writing my concerns/complaints in a blog.

Thanks Herrad!