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Battling Fatigue as a Result of Heart Failure

Many of us have experienced the symptoms of heart failure. The hardest of which, I think, is fatigue and feeling exhausted. Sometimes being too tired to even get out of bed. I do not think that there was a day when I was not exhausted as a result of heart failure.

I remember the first time that I felt fatigued was my mom's birthday and she wanted to go to the apple orchard. The apple orchard has a hay ride that takes you to where all the apples were. We climbed up onto the truck and were on our way. At the end of the ride, we hopped off and went looking for apples. I had trouble walking the second we had gotten off the ride to the apples. I had noticeable trouble walking up the hill, and just being exhausted.

Just a little bit about my background, I have played sports and have been big into exercise since I was little. My parents had me involved in sports from the time I was 5. I ran NCAA track and field all 4 years of college and was a personal trainer at one point in my life. So, for me to not be able to walk without being winded was a serious deal.

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Experiencing fatigue before my diagnosis with advanced heart failure

Like the trip I had planned to Miami and New York, it is something I would have done easily before. My one cousin was having her bachelorette weekend in Miami and my other cousin was having her baby shower in New York. So, I planned to go to both events, I would leave Miami before the weekend was up and go to New York because I did not want to miss the baby shower. I did not think anything of it since I did not know I was sick.

When I got to Miami in October 2018, getting through the airport was almost impossible. Walking up the stairs or on an incline was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. The hotel my cousins and I were staying at did not have an elevator so every time we had to walk up the stairs it felt as though my chest was going to explode. Even when I would take breaks it would not help. I didn’t know that my heart was on the decline at the time and that I was in advanced heart failure.

For those of you who have not been to Miami International Airport, it is busy and overwhelming, to say the least. It is full of people rushing through the airport and waiting to pass security. I had gotten to the airport late so it was even worse. It took me forever to get to my gate and I was exhausted by the time I got there. My suitcase had never felt that heavy before lugging it through the airport, walking what seemed like 10 miles to my gate. When I finally got on the plane I just knew that something was wrong and decided to contact my cardiologist to let him know what was going on.

Notifying my doctors

When I got home from the long trip I sent a message to my primary care physician and my cardiologist to let them know what was going on. At night when it was time to sleep I just could not lay flat or even with a pillow without gasping for air.

My cardiologist told me that he did not see anything that was wrong. My primary care doctor gave me inhalers because we thought it was my asthma acting up.

To make a long story short, I suffered a 2nd stroke and was diagnosed with advanced heart failure.

Battling fatigue in my heart failure journey

Fatigue affects heart failure patients differently. For me, my experience with fatigue did not start when I was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, but when I was diagnosed with advanced heart failure.

Throughout my journey with advanced heart failure, I was just simply tired all the time. I have never felt fatigue like that in my life. Just too tired to do anything like getting out of bed, or even too tired to speak.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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