Monday, February 26, 2018

My SVT Story [Part 5, The Ablation]

Previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Hello, everyone! We have come to the post that I'm probably the most emotional about: the ablation post. Last time, I explained my third episode of SVT and the visit to my electrophysiologist. I was pretty upset but knew that it was time to discuss an ablation. My doctor explained the procedure and he told me all the risks, which include needing a blood transfusion, puncturing my lung which would result in a scar from where they put a tube in the side of my torso, damage to the aortic valve and needing open heart surgery to place a stent in, damage to another pathway resulting in placement of a pacemaker, and death. My doctor has done over 1700 procedures and never lost a patient and only one (back in the 90s) needed a blood transfusion. The ablation has a 98-99% success rate and although it is invasive, the risks are generally low. So I know I'm in good hands. I really like him and appreciate his honesty and laying it all out there for me to know.

His nurse reassured me that people of all ages have come in and the ablation is a cure. I won't need medication and I won't be making trips to the ER to stop the SVT from happening because it won't. Now on occasion, people do need more than one ablation. The person in my husband's family had one done twice, but it has been 17 years since her second ablation and she hasn't had any issues since the second one. My hope is that my extra pathway is an easy one to zap and that will be that.

Tomorrow is the big day. The procedure will take 2 to 4 hours and I'll stay overnight at the hospital. I'm very nervous and scared, but I'm also really hopeful and I know that this is the right decision. I am a crazy person and wrote letters to Nick and the kids, my mom, and his mom that I have set aside just in case something goes wrong. Because you never know and I would hate for things to be left unsaid. Nick and the kids are obviously my whole world and I don't want to leave them, but I know that I need to have this ablation. I know I'm going to be an absolute mess in the morning and I probably won't sleep tonight at all. I really really hope everything goes well and I have a really awesome update post-ablation to give y'all with details of the process and recovery. Obviously if there isn't a blog post after today (other than a book review scheduled in May), something happened. But I don't foresee that happening. I really do think that it will be a successful procedure with a relatively easy recovery and I will be back to share the rest of my story and, of course, continue to blog about food (on my food blog), planner stuff, books, and everything else. I may start up doing occasional life posts. I do really miss sharing that stuff and I like looking back on old pictures and posts about different life stuff. It's a nice memory keeping type thing, right?!

This concludes the pre-ablation part of my SVT story. Stay tuned for post-ablation posts :)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Thursday, February 22, 2018

My SVT Story [Part 4, The Electrophysiologist and Third Episode]

Previous posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

This is SUCH a long story, but to be fair, it has happened over the course of 2 years. I'm now finally getting to a little more recent events. In summer 2017, I visited the electrophysiologist for the first time. He told me that if I was going to have any heart issue, this was the one to have. He explained it a lot better and told me basically I was born with an extra pathway in my heart. It's nothing that I caused, I was just born with it. He told me that I had two options. We could go ahead with the ablation or we could try medication, since both the episodes before were when I was not on medication. He said that a lot of people my age respond well to medication. So I went back on the blood pressure medication, that can help keep your heart rate lower as well.

My anxiety has gotten a lot better following that. I thought that I would respond to medication well and only every so often do I have a bad day and mild anxiety attacks. To be honest, I was not wanting any invasive procedures done unless I needed it. I wanted to put off the ablation if at all possible at least until I was in my 30s. Arbitrary really, but it made sense in my head.

A little past mid-January, I had an evening where I was feeling a bit off. My heart rate was kind of going a little fast and I couldn't sit still because it was making me nervous. An episode of SVT ended up kicking off around 11:15 and I took my flecanide and per my cardiologist's orders, I stayed home for 30 minutes to see if it would stop on its own. It wasn't stopping after vagal maneuvers (where you bear down - it can sometimes help) or an ice pack to the head (can sometimes shock your body out of it) or medication. So we called my mom-in-law and she came over so that Nick could drive me to the hospital and we didn't have to pay an ambulance bill.

I got to the hospital about an hour after the episode started. I wasn't freaking out at all. I was way more calm than I thought I would be. My heart rate was 160 when they took my vitals in triage. It was beating regularly, but of course, not in sinus rhythm. They got me back to a room after trying a modified vagal maneuver that didn't stop it. The ER doc was younger and he put the sticker pads for a defibrillator on me (which has never happened). He reassured me that he had never had to use them but it was a precaution. I had never had those put on me and that was definitely scary. They gave me a small dose of adenosine and it popped me into sinus rhythm and my heart rate went down. Nick has never been with me when they give me that and he said it was freaky to watch. It was a really busy night in the ER and we didn't leave until 4:30. Nick and I were both completely exhausted. Also I was nervous about getting the flu because the flu is really bad here this year. But overall, it was a very mild bout.

At this point, I knew that I would have to have an ablation if I wanted any semblance of a normal life. My SVT, so far, is not the kind that can be stopped by me. Vagal maneuvers don't work. So I will always have to go to the hospital and get adenosine. I personally do not want that for the rest of my life. I know the ablation will help my anxiety and it will stop these disruptions that we cannot plan for. Plus the bills that inevitably come from a trip to the ER. I am ready to start college in the fall (again) and once I finish and find a job, I don't know that I could hold one down if I have to duck out on a whim because my heart rate is through the roof with no warning.

I reached out on Facebook and found out three people I knew had had an ablation. My mom's cousin had SVT and had one 10 years ago, (this one is a doozy) my husband's mom's cousin's daughter had SVT and had an ablation at 16 and 18 and is now 35 and works out regularly, has kids, and is doing great, and a fellow blogger had one episode of SVT and had an ablation 7 years ago and is doing wonderfully. All of these stories definitely made me feel better. I have found that talking to others really helps calm me down.

I had an appointment coming up with the electrophysiologist about 3 weeks after my ER trip and the nurse there told me to just keep with that appointment. I went on February 12th with an ablation in mind. Honestly, I knew I would be upset, but I could not stop crying. It was like 3 hours of crying. My doctor reassured me that if I weren't crying, it would be so strange. The nurses were great too.

My next post will be all about the ablation. :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

My SVT Story [Part 3, The Second Episode]

Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here.

Last time, I had talked about switching to a new cardiologist who had given me the official diagnosis of having super ventricular tachycardia aka SVT. After my first visit with him, my level of anxiety went down a lot. I started watching my niece shortly after Halloween and then throughout the holiday season, I started feeling very stressed. The more stressed I felt, the more anxious I was. I ended up going to my regular physician in January to talk about trying medication for anxiety. I was hopeful that I had the answer to my problems and all would be good. I ended up having a really bad panic attack a few hours after I had taken the first dose of the medication. I thought I was going into cardiac arrest. It was truly terrifying. After a trip to the ER and some medication to make me rest overnight, I came home very frustrated.

I ended up having another panic attack in my car in the pickup line at school where my lips felt tingly and I was feeling stuffy in the car. I rolled down the window to let cold air come in and I couldn't really feel it. So my mind automatically went to that I was suffocating and my lips were tingly because I wasn't getting an oxygen. I called 911 and by then realized that I wasn't going to pass out or die and that I was in fact just fine and breathing normally. I ended up picking up the kids, driving home, and making an appointment to see a therapist because clearly the anxiety was spiraling out of control.

I had three appointments with a therapist and she basically just told me that I was rationalizing and talking myself out of situations, which was good, and it felt very draining to go and not really "fix" anything because I was already doing what I needed to be doing. I ended up feeling a lot better though mentally and started to come out of my funk, so to speak.

In April 2017, I had my second episode of SVT. I happened to be sitting at my desk and leaned over to wipe Mason's nose while I was talking to Nick, who was working from home (thankfully) that day. I immediately could tell this was the real deal and not a fake. I took my flecanide and called the ambulance. When they arrived, my heart rate was 190 but beating regularly. They gave me one dose of adenosine in the ambulance but it didn't kick me back into sinus rhythm. By the time we arrived to the hospital, it was 160 but still out of sinus rhythm. The ER doctor gave me two more doses of adenosine and finally, I was out of the episode. It was maybe 1 1/2 hrs total. This was by far the worst trip I had had to the ER with three doses of the medicine that stops your heart. The doctor in the ER wasn't my favorite. To be honest, he was kind of an asshole. I was freaking out and just wanted someone to tell me I was okay and that my heart rate was going down and that I didn't want to die. I was discharged about an hour later and the ER doc wanted me on a beta blocker, which I really hated. I ended up having to stop getting allergy shots and because it was about 6 weeks between the ER and visiting my cardiologist, I would have had to start all over with shots.

I had a follow up with my new cardiologist and he wanted to refer me to an electrophysiologist (who specializes in electrical issues of the heart) to discuss options for treatment, whether it be medication or a procedure. Following this episode, I honestly didn't have more anxiety. A lot of my anxiety was based on waiting for the other shoe to drop. I didn't know if I was going to have another episode and I was scared for when it would happen. I felt more capable now of dealing with it because I had gone through it again.

I did from time to time have what I refer to as misfires where it felt like a little jolt in my chest, like my body was trying to kick into SVT but didn't. Again, for me, I'm not sure what the triggers are exactly because usually it happens while I'm at rest and I'm not always super stressed when they happen. A lot of people find out they have SVT during athletic events, whether it be running a marathon or cheerleading or whatever. Some people are triggered by caffeine - I only drank one cup a day and the times when it did happen, I hadn't had any caffeine. The "no trigger" thing is another reason I wanted to put my story out there in the world. I couldn't really find any stories like mine and I know, for me, it's always been nice to connect with someone else. I need me a SVT support group!

Part 4 will be coming in a few days.

Book Review: This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter

Publish Date: February 27, 2018
384 Pages [Kindle edition]
Published by St. Martin's Press

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Enchant-a-thon [TBR]

I am so excited to be participating in another Creating & Co readathon that basically bridges my two loves of the planner world and the book world. There are 5 reading challenges plus photo challenges. I have selected three books because you can double up. Two of these I own in physical form and I need to look at my Kindle library because I don't remember if I have the other in ebook form. May need to buy it :)

  1.  A Royal Character: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
  2.  A Retelling: A Study of Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
  3.  Happily Ever After: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
  4.  Contains Magic: Talon by Julie Kagawa
  5.  Matches the Kit: Talon by Julie Kagawa
Updated on 3/1: I started the readathon with A Study in Charlotte and Girls Made of Snow and Glass. I ended up DNFing A Study in Charlotte but read all of Girls Made of Snow and Glass. Technically speaking, it does count for all of the challenges, but I only counted it for the first 4. I gave it 4 stars and found it to be pretty enjoyable. I do wish that I had gotten around to reading Talon, but I was toeing the slump line and I really didn't want to push myself into one.

Total books finished: 1
Total pages read: 58 + 384 = 442

Sunday, February 18, 2018

My SVT Story [Part 2, Switching Cardiologists]

Read Part 1 here.

I left off last time after my first appointment with the cardiologist in June 2016. I was scheduled to go back in September for another follow up. I was a bit miffed that in June I didn't come off the medication like he had told me I would in the ER and that my diagnosis changed all of a sudden from afib to SVT. I didn't get anything more than a piece of paper about it. I went prepared with many questions for my appointment in September.

I was trying to ask the cardiologist the questions I had brought with me and he seemed very flustered and kept telling me to wait and he'd answer my questions later. He got to a point where he said that we needed to schedule an ablation or I would be on medication for the rest of my life and left the room because he wanted to call down to surgery. I was 100% confused and terrified. 6 months prior when I had the first and only episode, he told me if I had had no more episodes that I would be off my medication in June. Here I am in September being told that I need an ablation - which he didn't even explain at all. I had to google it on my phone after he abruptly left the room. Google can be a blessing and a curse, but I'll tell you's not a great way to find out that they want to burn and kill part of your heart in an invasive procedure. So I left my appointment with none of my questions answered and scared. I didn't schedule the ablation and I decided I would find a new cardiologist. I don't like being treated like I'm naive, stupid, etc. because I'm young. I'm fairly intelligent and I want to be treated like I am a human being.

One of the cashiers at Kroger that I talk to on a weekly basis recommended her cardiologist office to me and I visited them shortly thereafter. My new cardiologist was able to explain to me that I had SVT that had converted to afib because I had been in it for so long, but that SVT was my official diagnosis. He told me that he had SVT when he was younger and had a successful ablation and no issues since then. But he also agreed that it was fine to not go that route since we didn't know if it was a one-time episode or if it would happen again. He reassured me that even if it did happen again, SVT is rarely fatal and that I would be okay. He gave me the go-ahead to stop taking the meds but to keep them on hand in the event that I had an episode.

I left feeling a lot better. I was still a bit nervous and anxious, but overall I was a lot better. That's where I'll leave off today. I will share Part 3 soon :) This is a long story!

Friday, February 16, 2018

My SVT Story [Part 1, The First Episode]

I had to look through my old posts and see how much I have mentioned my heart, and it seems to be like slim to none. I mentioned briefly when I was in the hospital for the first incident, but that's it. So let me try and explain some things.

In late 2015, I ended up getting slammed with cold after cold, which is highly unusual for me. I ended up with the flu in the end of February - I hadn't had it since I was in 3rd grade. I took meds and a few days after I finished them, I woke up feeling off. I had some chest tightness and I felt my heart racing. I thought maybe I was having an asthma attack. It was really early in the morning, so my doctor's office was not yet open. I decided to drive down with 1 year old Mason to the emergency room and get checked out. It wasn't busy at all, so they took me right back to a room. The nurse got my pulse with the little finger clamp thing and immediately yelled "her heartrate is 226" and the medical staff poured in. Everything moved so quickly from there. They gave me flecanide (a medication used for arrhythmia) and when that didn't work, they gave me a dose of adenosine (a medication that stops your heart).

Obviously, all of this is terrifying and they let me call my husband to get down to the ER. The nurse who brought me back initially was helping keep Mason occupied. Once they got my heart rate to slow down, they said it was beating irregularly. The hospital's cardiologist came down and talked to me. They decided to admit me for observation. They ran a ton of tests and did an ultrasound on my heart to look for any structural issues. I had one nurse that I didn't care for who kept fretting over me and she really freaked me out because she told me that extreme temperature changes would shock my heart into afib again. So I needed someone to start my car and either cool it or heat it, so that I wouldn't go into afib.

I was discharged from the hospital the next day and was told that I had atrial fibrillation. I was to take blood pressure medication and the flecanide daily and we would reassess in 3 months. If I was episode-free, I would come off the meds and that would be that. The doctor seemed to think it was caused by the flu and it was a one-time deal.

However, I was terrified when I got home that I would get my heart rate up and it would kill me. The cardiologist didn't really reassure me of anything or give me any information. So basically I was a big walking, talking time bomb of anxiety. I went to the ER two or three more times in March because I thought I was having another episode. I was constantly checking my heart rate to see how fast it was going. I was literally scared to get up and walk around. It was definitely a really bad time.

I went for my 3 month follow up with the cardiologist and he wanted me to stay on the medication and come back in another 3 months. He spent maybe 10 minutes in the room and handed me an information page on SVT, super ventricular tachycardia, and I left the appointment incredibly confused. I was diagnosed with afib at the ER and now he was telling me I had something completely different. I spent the next three months still pretty anxious and panicky to move too much or overdo it. But I didn't go to the ER for a while and for the most part, I was doing better than before.

I'm going to leave off there. Part 2 will be up soon!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Contemporary-A-Thon [TBR]

This is round 2 of the Contemporary-A-Thon hosted by Chelsea, Julie, and Natasha. You can find an  Announcement + Challenges video on each channel, but I linked Chelsea's. There are 7 challenges and no group book for this round, but I am attempting three.

My plan is to read...

The Serpent King // Fangirl // The Hating Game 

Updated on 2/14: I have finished The Hating Game. I got kinda stuck on Fangirl and when THG arrived, I knew I wanted to pick it up immediately. I loved it. I stayed up until 2 am and forced myself to put the book down in the middle of a chapter because I knew I would not get any sleep and as a mom of three with health issues that can be affected by lack of sleep, I HAD TO SLEEP. I finished it first thing this morning though. I read a little of The Serpent King, but will be reading Fangirl for most of the rest of today, except for in bed, cause I have Serpent on my Kindle.
Updated on 2/19: The readathon is over and I am unsure of how I feel about Fangirl. I DNF'd The Serpent King. It was not for me. I feel a slump coming on, so I am trying to chill and not force myself to read anything that makes me feel meh.

Total books finished: 1
Total pages read: 80 + 66 + 384 = 465

Friday, February 9, 2018

January Book Haul

Technically speaking, I am hauling less books than last month (by one *awkward smile*). But I am hoping to do MUCH better next month. Two are Owlcrate books, three are Netgalley books, and one is a giveaway win, and three are birthday presents for my daughter, but I'm also going to read them. So I purchased 9 books. Do you like how I'm trying to justify this?! :)
  1. Exiled: Kenly's Story by Sophie Davis - Kindle edition was free on Amazon
  2. Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson - purchased with gift card on Amazon
  3. The League of Unexceptional Children by Gitty Daneshvari - purchased with gift card on Amazon
  4. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - purchased Kindle edition for $1.99 on Amazon
  5. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner - purchased Kindle edition for $1.99 on Amazon 
  6. Thunderhead by Neal Schusterman - purchased hardcover for $15.56 on Amazon 
  7. Seeker of the Crown by Ruth Lauren - received ebook from Netgalley
  8. Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes by Booki Vivat - purchased hardcover for $10.09 on Amazon (for my daughter's birthday)
  9. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi - purchased hardcover for $12.24 on Amazon (for my daughter's birthday)
  10. Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi - purchased hardcover for $14.39 on Amazon (for my daughter's birthday)
  11. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young -  won in a Goodreads giveaway
  12. Buzz Books 2018: Young Adult Spring/Summer by Publishers Lunch - received ebook from Netgalley
  13. A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano - received in January Owlcrate Jr box
  14. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire - purchased Kindle edition for $2.99 on Amazon 
  15. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black - received in January Owlcrate box 
  16. Raspberry Danish Murder by Joanne Fluke - received ebook from Netgalley
  17. Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke - preordered mass market paperback from Amazon
  18. Truth or Beard by Penny Reid - purchased Kindle edition for $0.99 on Amazon
Have you read any of these books?
What books did you pick up in January?
What book are you most anticipating reading?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Books I Read in January

In January, I finished 15 books and DNF'd 3 books.
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (224 pages, 2011, Kindle, YA Paranormal) - 2 stars | My Review
  • Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills (320 pages, 2017, Hardcover, YA Contemporary) - 5 stars | My Review
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (352 pages, 2011, Kindle, YA Paranormal) - 5 stars | My Review
  • A Month of Mondays by Joelle Anthony (200 pages, 2017, Kindle, MG Contemporary) - 3 stars | My Review  
  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (386 pages, 2016, Kindle, YA Contemporary) - 5 stars | My Review
  • Warcross by Marie Lu (353 pages, 2017, Hardcover, YA Sci Fi) - 5 stars | My Review  
  • Gossip Girl: The Manga, Vol. 1 by (62 pages, 2010, Paperback, Graphic Novel) - 1 star | My Review 
  • The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord (92 pages, 2017, Kindle, YA Contemporary) - 1 star | My Review
  • Wonder by RJ Palacio (316 pages, 2012, Hardcover, MG Contemporary) - 5 stars | My Review  
  • Wild Beauty by Anna Marie McLemore (50 pages, 2017, Hardcover, YA Fantasy) - 1 star | My Review
  • Christmas Caramel Murder by Joanne Fluke (218 pages, 2017, Mass Market Paperback, Adult Mystery) - 2 stars | My Review  
  • This Is What Goodbye Looks Like by Olivia Rivers (338 pages, 2016, Kindle, YA Contemporary) - 4.5 stars | My Review 
  • Buzz Books 2018: Young Adult Spring/Summer by Publishers Lunch (~200 pages, 2018, Kindle, Compilation) - 4 stars | My Review
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare (185 pages, 1985, Paperback, Classic) - 5 stars | My Review
  • Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller (370 pages, 2017, Kindle, YA Sci Fi) - 3 stars | My Review 
  • Where She Went by Gayle Forman (5:18:47, 2011, Audiobook, YA Contemporary) - 2.5 stars | My Review 
  • Daughter of the Pirate King by Trisha Levenseller (308 pages, 2017, Hardcover, YA Fantasy) - 5 stars | My Review
  • Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (325 pages, 2015, Kindle, YA Contemporary) - 5 stars | My Review 
Pages read: 4092 + 5:18:47
Pages DNF: 204
Average pages read per day: 138
Total pages: 4296 + 5:18:47

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Top Ten YA Books That Have Been on My TBR the Longest

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. More information here.

I joined Goodreads in February 2011, so all of these books were added to my "to read" shelf in 2011. There are very few Young Adult books from early 2011 because last year I had gone through my TBR and reduced it from over 3000 to around 1500 (although now I'm at a little over 1600). I removed anything that I wasn't interested in anymore and so a lot of early YA books went bye bye. I have a load of adult books shelved in early 2011, but since I read mostly YA, I wanted to share my top ten YA books!

Monday, February 5, 2018

#AYearAThon [February TBR]

Each first full week of the month, a #AYearAThon readathon is held and there are themes and challenges for each month. In the month of February, the theme is NEW TO YOU AUTHORS with the challenge of reading translated books. It runs from February 5 to 11.

Updated on 2/11: My reading has finally slowed down. I read 3 books the first three days of February and then this past week has been much slower. Partly due to my big kids only going to school on Wednesday and partly because Mason is a crazy kid. I finished Scythe on Friday evening and I'm working on The Cruel Prince now. Tomorrow, another readathon starts and if I haven't finished The Cruel Prince, I'll probably put it down until I finish the books on my TBR for the week :)
Updated on 2/12: Although I had hoped to maintain my reading blitz I was on, I slowed down this week and only finished Scythe. I got a little over 10% into The Cruel Prince, but since I'm doing three weeks of readathons in February (because I'm crazy), I am setting it aside to finish my next TBR. Overall though, I'm pleased with how much I read and I'm looking forward to finishing The Cruel Prince later on.

Total books finished: 1
Total pages read: 435 + 48 = 483

Thursday, February 1, 2018

February Monthly TBR & Challenges Update

I had an extremely crazy amazing reading month in January. I just was finishing books left and right. It reminded me of how I used to read, so I have a very ambitious TBR for February. Many of these books are for readathons and they aren't ones that I *have* to finish. Just ones that I would like to finish. I have a cardiologist appointment coming up before midmonth and I may end up having to get a catheter ablation before the end of the month. I am both terrified and hopeful that this will fix my heart, but I don't know how it will affect my reading progress.

My Tentative TBR for February:
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  • Scythe by Neal Schusterman [for the #AYearAThon]
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell [for the Contemporaryathon]
  • The Hating Game by Sally Thorne [for the Contemporaryathon]
  • The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner [for the Contemporaryathon]
  • Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust [for the Enchantathon]
  • A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro [for the Enchantathon]
  • Talon by Julie Kagawa [for the Enchantathon]
  • This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter [for review]