Thursday, February 2, 2012

Life Changing Moments. #hearthealth

Back in November 2009...

I used to work night shifts as a home health care nurse. Staying up at night was really difficult for me, but I would manage to get by. I would get off a shift, go home, and sleep for a few hours. Then I would wake up and take a Phentermine. I would take my pill between 2pm and 3pm. Phentermine is an appetite suppressant used as an aid to lose weight. The best part about it was the ENERGY that you would have while on the pill. I felt great, but when it was time for work at 11pm, the pill would wear off. So I'd take an energy drink and have it on my way to work. I felt great! I'd be wide awake up until 2am or 3am came around. Then I would get REALLY SLEEPY. At the time I would have a coffee...sometimes with a double shot of espresso. I  felt like I was I was doing a great job at timing my caffeine intake so I wouldn't have any issues with side effects.

One day, on my way to work EVERYTHING CHANGED.  I was driving and I felt like blood was rushing to my head. I couldn't breathe and I started seeing black. It was on and off like someone was playing with a light switch. Suddenly my heart was pounding. I quickly pulled over afraid that I might crash the car. I grabbed my phone and I could barely hold it still. I panicked, but I finally managed to dial 911! "I think I need help! I might be having a HEART ATTACK." I waited for the paramedics. In the meantime, I unlocked my doors and left my driver side open. I was afraid I might pass out in my car and no one would find me.
The paramedics finally arrived after 20 minutes. My blood pressure was 198/168 (Normal 120/80). My heart was beating at 188 BPM to 200 BPM (Normal 60-100). They took me to the emergency room. I sat in the E.R. waiting to be seen. Apparently, it wasn't a heart attack because the symptoms were slowly going away. The doctor had blood work and a EKG done on me and everything came back normal. "What could it be?". He said it was probably Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), but I would have to be diagnosed by a cardiologist. "Supraventricular Tachycardia? What's that?". I knew that it had to do with my heart going fast, but why?
While I waited for my referral to see the Cardiologist I had two more episodes. Both times I had to call 911 and had to be seen in the E.R. The first time it was completely random. The second episode happened because I had a cup of decaffeinated black tea. DECAFFEINATED!

When I finally saw the Cardiologist I had a Echo cardiogram and Stress test done. EVERYTHING came back NORMAL. He prescribed me a medication to help me control the symptoms. He said getting healthy and losing weight should help vanish my SVT.
It is now February 2012 and I still have SVT, but I have been able to control the symptoms since then with my medication. My resolution for this year is to get my health back on track and resolve my heart condition. I'm not ready to leave my family. They need me. I need them!! I'm fighting back!
Moral of the story: Be careful with your caffeine intake.  Especially with diet pills and energy drinks. Stay in control and don't let it (caffeine) control you. I never thought it would happen to me. But it did.  I really believe that my SVT was caused by my caffeine intake. I also believe that it had to do with my unhealthy lifestyle. I worked nights and I wasn't eating right. I had three things working against me.  
I am no longer working nights. I have been caffeine free since 2009 and workout at least 4-5 times a week. I have started on a new chapter in my life. Another attempt to get healthy, but I'm never giving up. I'll share my journey on another blog post!

Have You Ever Had a Life Changing Moment?

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