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.