A week from today I’ll be leaving on a jet plane headed to Rochester Minnesota; more specifically the world renowned Mayo Clinic. I had mentioned this before in my So it begins….again post so the reality of it actually happening hasn’t been too hard to process. The sobering part of this whole trip is the idea that this is my last chance at a better quality of life.
The whole idea of this trip isn’t life or death, but for those who have CHD or any type of chronic/invisible illness knows that “quality of life” sometimes surpasses just living with it.
Understandably this procedure won’t make everything better, it will (hopefully) let me live a little more. The biggest issue is all the medicine they have me on to keep my heart from going crazy is what’s actually making me so tired. I’m on two beta blockers and two anti flutter medicines. The point of this whole process is to be able to “permanently” take me off some of the medicines.
My anxiety is built up around the trip itself; I have to wean myself off of my medicine before the trip. This means that all of the medicine that is helping my heart stay where it is and at the correct bpm (beats per minute) will be free to do what it wants. The idea behind this is that through the testing they will be doing prior to the procedure Mayo will be able to see exactly what’s going on with my heart and it’s electrical system without interference from the medication. One thing I can say is that I LOVE flying, but that was slightly altered for a little while after I experience atrial flutter on my way home from Washington DC a few years back. Let me tell you..it is NOT the same as having atrial flutter on the ground; I couldn’t breath as easily and my chest hurt from being in the environment we were in. I’ve flown since then and have never had a problem, but because I start weaning my medicine before I leave I have a lot of anxiety around the idea of it happening again. It’s just something that is going to be in the back of my mind as I put my headphones on and enjoy some Deadpool on my iPad.
Random paragraph: I really have NO IDEA what to pack for this trip. I live in Florida and for the past week it’s been in the low 80s. It was definitely a learning experience going there a few years ago; and I was freezing cold because I didn’t bring enough layers. On the plus side spring bathing suits and tank tops are beginning to show up in stores so all the winter stuff is really cheap! Also, I’ve never been on a planned hospital trip outside of the state of Florida, I feel like I’m packing for two different trips. If anyone has any suggestions on what to pack please feel free to let me know -> freezing Floridian.
Since my post a few weeks ago I’ve stopped that heart healthy training for a few reasons: 1. It was full of people who didn’t really understand my situation because they all had some type of coronary artery disease 2. It was quite a drive and time commitment; and since I wasn’t doing it to reverse my heart disease I didn’t have the drive to go. 3. With the Clinic visit in a week I had to take preparations in regards to my medication and my anticoagulation INR number. This would make it next to impossible to go to the program and or participate for at least two weeks of the nine week program. I do realize that all of these reasons are called excuses, but they are mine and I have made the decision. I don’t regret it; I realized that is somewhere I could really end up if I didn’t up my game. My game however is running a little flat. Noticeably if I got up and did stuff I didn’t feel as tired during that time; so I started going to the gym 4-5 times a week for the past few weeks. It’s challenging and I can’t push myself as much as I would like but I’m feeling better and I get really excited about working out.
This trip will be a whole new adventure for me; new experiences and new memories to have. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous or scared…this procedure doesn’t come without some risk. I just know that I want to feel more alive, I want to be present in my own life, and above all I want to be able to enjoy this life I have been giving to the best of my abilities.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Live, Laugh, Love…..Always,
I took this picture picture of Downtown Rochester from the Mayo Clinic in Feb 2015