Happy Birthday, Let's spend the evening before in the ER!
My story begins around Halloween two years ago. My name is Lynne or Linnie as I like to be called, I am 50 years old a mother of 10 and grandmother of 4 (9 biological children and 1 fantastic stepson too). My story begins around Halloween two years ago. Normally I can walk up and down hills fine taking the kids trick or treating etc. My city is built on some hills and is a population of about 10,000. We have an area here called the "Historical Hill District" this is the place everyone goes to for trick or treat. Two years ago though I was struggling to make the hills. I thought no big deal, I've been running around a lot lately and driving to a city 1 hour north of me quite a bit and that tires me out. Over the summer I was getting tired a lot and a few times too tired to make the hour drive home from that other city. I had no idea there was anything wrong. I had no clue that what I thought was a normal visit of my monthly visitor was actually not acting normal and was causing me a hidden issue.
Chest pain led to an ER visit
So, on Halloween, I started feeling these little chest pains as I walked one of the hills. I attributed it to the cold winds that night. Well, two days later I was still tired and I had no clue as to why. Then on Nov. 3 the night before my birthday and the craft fair my mother and I were going to be selling at, my chest really started hurting. I had fallen asleep on the couch and so I got up and yelled for my husband, when he woke up I told him I needed to go to the emergency room. He was a little skeptical at first, especially since I can over panic things, but I told him I was serious and I'll call an ambulance if he wants. He figured we'd get there first and took me to the ER.
Finding: an enlarged heart
Well, they hooked me up and discovered that I did not have a heart attack. But they found that my oxygen was at 90 which explained why I was feeling so short of breath. They also discovered my iron levels were at 7. They ran other tests and I did not have any internal bleeding or anything else. One thing they noticed is that my heart was slightly larger than it should be, but they felt that was due to the low iron and low oxygen. When they put me on oxygen and gave me a transfusion I started feeling better.
Additional testing was needed
I went to my doctor and she ran some tests and sent me to an OB/GYN and had some cancer screenings done etc. Then she sent me to have an echo done. That's when I was referred to a cardiologist. Luckily they were like a team of doctors trying to get a handle on one issue, discovering that my heart appeared to have an EF of 30%, but I had no other underlying issues that they could find. I was sent to the larger hospital to have a heart catheter done to see if I had a blockage or harden arteries etc. Nope on the blockage, nope on plaque build-up or hardened arteries. I received my diagnosis in January of 2018.
Feeling like myself again
I underwent surgery to fix one issue with my uterus. and then after that, I started walking again. Due to the fatigue, I had a hard time walking. But I tried after all the healing, my cardiologist found the right meds that are working and 2 years ago I could barely walk at a 1.8 mph pace. Now, in 2020 I can walk an average of 2.5-2.9 mph, or do an aerobic workout for a half hour. Before winter hit, my husband and I were walking 3 times a day totaling 4 miles a day. I finished my 4th 5k walk on Sunday, Dec 27, 2020.
My happiness was short-lived when I learned that my husband's ex-wife collapsed Sunday morning and died of a heart attack. No one knew she had any issues. Some things she hid from people. I am 50 years old now. She was 44.
I am making a mini goal to keep moving through this cold winter. I have an EF now of 35%-40% and I want to see if I can improve that a bit more.
What type of heart failure have you been diagnosed with?