1:43 PM

December 19, 2008

Its been a while since I've posted and I need to bring things up to date.

November and December were a strange months for me. After having great runs, things began to quickly go downhill. I just couldn't run very well. On several occasions, my heart rate would inexplicably go up to around 180-190, I'd get dizzy and would experience what I thought was an asthma attack. On December 3, I went to my doctor (a fine GP at the Baylor clinic) and was suddenly in the midst of a full-scale cardio workup. Within two days, I had an EKG, chest x-ray, echocardiogram and started a 48 hour holter monitor. By the way, if you have sensitive skin, a holter monitor is no fun... I looked like I'd been attacked by leeches for the week after the test. Next, on December 15, I had a "fun" test where they do an ultrasound through the esophogus.

The tests showed that I had a 1 cm hole between the left and right side of my heart (artrial septal defect). The picture shows where the hole was and the difference between the normal heart and one with the defect.

On December 19, I had the procedure done to correct it. Rather than being a 1 cm hole, my cardiologists (another great Baylor doctor and his fellows) determined that the hole was actually 2.2 cm. (which completely explained why i was so symptomatic). I now have a nickel-titanium mesh patch in my heart that closed the hole.

I marvel at modern medicine. My options to fix this were this patch and open heart surgery. One requires weeks (maybe months of recovery) and the other was less than a week. I was able to be released from the hospital in just over 30 hours and was back at work on Monday. It is amazing.

On the afternoon of the procedure, I was already able to breathe better! At first, I thought that it was simply in my mind. However, my cardiologist explained that the right side of my heart and my right lung had been processing 180% of the blood that they should have been - my heart and lung were doing almost twice as much work. I feel so much better now; I am still amazed at the difference.

Running has been phenominal. I have rediscovered my love. Plus, its just a lot easier now. Running by heart rate, my pace is about 30 seconds per mile faster! Who would have thought!


KCWoodhead said...

Ahhhhhhhh - not sure if I told you or not, but I had awful holter monitor experiences as well! I think I am finally healed and it was 2.5 weeks ago! I don't want anything else stuck to me for a long long time!

Kelsey said...

I am so glad you're doing so much better! Yay!

greyhound said...

Wow! You're going to feel like a whole different person when you go out and train this year. You've been fighting with one hand tied behind your back.