The Health Scare & The Motivation

I am fine.

I am going to start this post off stating that because I don’t want to alarm anyone! Thankfully, everything is A-OK, but last Wednesday I wasn’t so sure that was true.

DoSomething

Last month I started feeling something odd with my heart — like it would beat too fast or off rhythm all of a sudden. I was diagnosed several years ago with mitral valve prolapse, so I thought that’s all it was. But I hadn’t had an echocardiogram in a while, so I visited my doctor to see if I should schedule one.

I did, and long story short, when I called to check on the results, the nurse told me I don’t have mitral valve prolapse after all, and she also mistakenly told me I had something called “pulmonary hypertension.” Not knowing how serious it was until I saw the cardiologist two days later, this past Friday, I was a nervous wreck. Of course I Googled the term and found out it could be a serious condition needing surgery — or it could be treated with medication and lifestyle changes.

So I immediately backed away from The Google and opted to wait to talk to the doctor, rather than drive myself crazy looking up all kinds of scary stuff on WebMD and Mayo Clinic.

I’m so glad I did that, and that the friends and family I told were super-positive and supportive, because everything turned out fine in the end. As soon as he walked into the exam room, my cardiologist said, “Your echocardiogram looks fine.”

“Ex-squeeze me?” I said, explaining what the nurse had told me.

It turns out my numbers were slightly elevated, but nothing to cause concern. I did, however, get the joy of wearing a heart monitor for 24 hours just to double-check.

heartmonitor

A heart monitor really doesn’t go with this outfit!

Apparently the irregular heartbeat I was feeling can be caused by stress. So that’s something I need to work on — channeling work stress in different ways and eliminating other stress where I can.

And I was relieved to hear the doctor didn’t want me to change how I work out — I can continue to do more strenuous workouts like running and spinning, but he said that, of course, walking is just as good for me. As we all know, he said, “Doing something is better than doing nothing.”

He did talk to me about nutrition, though, encouraging me to drop some weight. Lord knows I’ve heard this before.

The last time I really stuck with any kind of weight-loss effort was when a former doctor told me I may be pre-diabetic. I monitored my calories, changed my eating habits, started working out regularly, and I lost about 50 pounds.

I have since put some of that weight back on, so I know I need to rethink how I’m doing things, and that really comes down to my eating habits. In the seven years since I started working out and really making it a part of my weekly schedule, I’ve rarely gone a week without some kind of activity.

But my nutrition has definitely had its ups and downs.

So I am making some changes again — even though I’m technically healthy and I don’t have anything to worry about, I want to make sure that remains true. I want to do this from a place of self-love, of maintaining and improving my health, and not because I hate my body or hate how I look.

I will be tracking calories using the LoseIt! app, and I will be continuing with the Couch to 5k program with my coworkers. I will host the upcoming Makeshift 5k (hope you can join me!), and I will be searching for easy-to-make, healthy recipes for meals and snacks.

Sometimes it feels discouraging to be back in this place again. Other times it feels like I’ve got this. I know what to do. I know how good eating healthfully makes me feel. I just need to do it. 

I hated experiencing the health scare that I had last week, and I’m thankful it all turned out OK. But if it brings motivation and gets me to rethink my priorities, then maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

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