Sunday, December 11, 2011

Symptoms that I didn't know were..

The way I have decided to blog is to begin at the beginning...
Subsequent posts will bring you up to date to my current situation.
I have never been good at anything athletic, but that has never stopped me from trying.  I love being active and prefer steps to elevators.  In the fall of 2010 I knew something was wrong with me.  Going up two flights of steps caused me pain, but not muscle pain.  I had a hard time catching my breath, but not really chest pain.  This bothered me but I attributed it to being overweight by about forty pounds and getting older.  I was also experiencing job stress and family stress and thought perhaps I was just internalizing things too much.  For the most part, I ignored the discomfort and only told my husband about it.  We didn't think it was anything to  worry about.
But things didn't go away.  By winter time, I was not only having trouble going up stairs, but I became winded just walking on flat ground.  Trying to sleep became a nuisance; I would need to prop up my head with two pillows due to the feeling of suffocation.  Still ignoring that this could actually be a physical problem, I came to the conclusion that I had a hiatal hernia; don't ask my why...  The weirdest "symptom" that I had was when I try to fall asleep and would hear what I can only describe as a "crackle" that seemed to start in my lungs and travel up my throat.  I stopped going to Jazzercise even though I had always enjoyed it because I began to come home feeling worse than before I went.  Totally exhausted and feeling old and fat, I even started feeling numbness in my left arm and hand while exercising.
You are probably asking yourself, "why didn't this woman realize the symptoms of heart failure!!???"  Well, I just didn't; OK?  I now realize how ridiculous it sounds but I truly thought I was just suffering from being overweight and getting close to 50 years old.  I was sad and depressed but didn't think there was anything I could do about it.  In early December I contemplated going to the emergency room more than once when I felt like I could not breathe.
Finally, in January I gave in and made an appointment with my general practitioner.  Describing all of my symptoms that I had written down made it seem too real - I really DID have a problem.  He immediately sent me down the hall to make an appointment with a cardiologist.

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