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.

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