When I was younger I used to feel my heart randomly take off and beat fast. Of course it scared me, so I made an appointment to see my doctor. When I got there she didn’t seem too concerned. She asked me how much fluid I drank every day and it was honestly not much at all. She immediately told me that was my problem; that I needed to drink more and she would see me in exactly two weeks for a checkup. Two weeks would have been on April 24, 2008.
April 23, 2008
The day that changed my life forever. It was my brother’s 20th birthday. It began like any ordinary day. I got up, got dressed and was off to another day of school. My day started in the gym. It happened to be a Wednesday (“Wellness Wednesday” as my school called it) which meant we were running most of the block. Joy.
As I’m running suicides something tells me to stop. I take a moment to catch my breath and feel my heart pounding. It was literally pounding out of my chest. Immediately I knew something was wrong so I told the teacher that I couldn’t run anymore. I sat down thinking my heart would slow down because that’s what always happens. Nope. It stayed the same pace.
After about ten minutes I started getting more worried and even dizzy at this point. I had two people assist me to the clinic and still swear to this day I do not remember getting there. All I remember is the nurse telling me to lay down. She attempted to take my pulse but quickly realized it was too fast to take manually. She put the pulse oximeter on my finger and it read 240 beats per minute… three times the normal heart rate. She called an ambulance and I was quickly on my way to the hospital.
As soon as I got in the ambulance they started an IV. They ran multiple blood tests at the hospital but could not find a thing wrong with me, which was good and bad news. After spending all day at the hospital, they still could not find anything wrong. I spent the next few weeks/months visiting different Cardiologists until one finally recognized the problem. She told me I was born with an extra pathway in my heart, causing it to beat faster. This was all visible after just one EKG, something no doctor had thought about performing on me until now. She said I had two options: medicine to temporarily fix the problem or surgery to permanently fix it. Because I had never had surgery before, I choose the medicine. Bad choice. The medicine was designed to lower my heart rate, but it still didn’t stop the random bursts of arrhythmia. After a few more episodes I remember laying in the Emergency Room bed telling the nurses I wanted the surgery.
One week into summer break I made my way to the hospital to undergo my first ablation. In this surgery they would go into my heart through my groin and neck and burn off the extra pathway. The thing I was most nervous about was being put to sleep. I’ve seen all those movies and heard stories about anesthesia going wrong and it was really messing with my mind. All went well during the surgery and I only had one setback afterwards. I went home the next day still feeling the same. When I went back to the Cardiologist she ran another EKG and said there was still signs of the extra pathway. Either they did not successfully burn the first one off or there was a second extra pathway. They wouldn’t know until they went in my heart again. So we scheduled another ablation to take place on the day before Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile this was all playing with my mind. Every pain I had, I thought I was going to die. I remember getting pain in my left arm and thinking it was a heart attack. My mind played games on me constantly and it was really messing me up. I got anxious even talking about my heart problems. I couldn’t even be with my family without having to leave every so often. I refused to hang out with anyone and basically isolated myself because that was the only time I felt completely comfortable. I would literally lay in bed all day and be content. I didn’t want to eat; I just didn’t have an appetite. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and started taking medicine for that.
November quickly came and I had my second ablation. Sure enough they found a second extra pathway, which explains why my heart was beating three times faster than the normal limit back in April. This surgery went by quicker and I was feeling better in no time. After revisiting the Cardiologist there was no more signs of WPW. I still suffered from anxiety and depression for years to come but now I am 100% better. I quit taking my medicine and haven’t had any setbacks.
As hard as this was for me, I’m certain that going through this helped me realize I want to be a nurse. When I came home from the hospital after my second ablation I felt like a completely new person. I had a totally different outlook on life and for the first time I saw the positives to everything. I realized that I was put through that to make me stronger and to eventually help others that are going through similar things. They say everything happens for a reason and at the time you may have no idea why you of all people are put through something, but trust that there is a reason behind everything. God would never put you through something you could not handle. He’ll bring you through every hard experience and when you come through you’ll be a completely new person.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34