where did the old me go?

A few weeks ago a friend of mine said she was having a get together for a tarot reading. She said that there was an open spot and wanted to know if I was interested in taking it. Now I know what you are thinking…tarot reading?? I know there are some of you that are skeptic of psychics or mediums and that’s okay. However, I do believe there are people who have the ability to talk to the “dead”. I believe there are spirits around us.

Anyways, the tarot reader only had a limit of 6 people to read that night. I was one of those 6. I hadn’t seen a psychic in over 2 years, and I was excited to be read. I have been to a few readings in the past and for some reason this reading made me emotional. I have never cried in a reading before. I couldn’t believe how she said things I needed to hear. Shannon (the reader) told me to believe in signs I have been given but have denied them. She mentioned about one sign in particular, about how spirits leave coins, for example; pennies. She said that it’s sad we don’t have pennies anymore (because we don’t make them in Canada) and they won’t be able to drop pennies as a sign. She also told me I have 7 people around me all the time to help guide and protect me. She went on and on.

The next day I felt I needed to tell my sister how my reading went. She was unable to chat with me right away, so I sent her the recording of my reading to see what she thought and we would catch up when she could.

She called me that evening lol. She understood what Shannon said the cards told me. She said she cried when she listened because she could hear the emotion in my voice and laughed because I asked a silly question. Then our conversation turned into about the past. She talked about what I was like before I had my surgery in 2004 (for my mitral valve). She said I was a very serious person, and they were careful what they could say to me. For example; they couldn’t joke around me because I would take it personally. I would get angry with the person for days even sometimes months!

When she was saying this to me, I couldn’t believe I forgot that is exactly what I was like! Then she continued to say after my surgery I was a totally different person. I looked at “life is too short” and did all the things I wanted to the fullest. I was happy, always telling people I loved them, and hugged them even! I looked at my life in a positive perspective. Then she told me when I had my collapse I changed again. I changed but in a different way, I am still a happy person, I just started to show signs of being afraid, and who worry’s a lot not that I didn’t always worry in the past but just even more.

I didn’t disagree with her when she told me this, I knew right away it was true. I did do those things. I do still look at life it’s short but I am not doing the things I loved. After the conversation we had, I went to bed and of course started to think about what we talked about, and I said to myself, “where did the old me go?” “what happened to me?” “why am I afraid?”

I woke up the next morning feeling very refreshed. I don’t know what it was, I just felt HAPPY! It was almost like I was a whole new person! I couldn’t be more thankful to be alive and I have my sister to thank for helping me “wake up”.

When I went to work that morning, I went to my desk and I pulled my chair out, and I noticed there was something on the floor………..it was a shiny penny! an American penny at that! I couldn’t believe it! I was shocked!! I immediately took a picture and sent it to my sister. She replied back saying “see trust in the signs”. I was in awe!

A few weeks later I chatted with my brother about this and he asked me did you see what year the penny was? I said no I didn’t even think to look at the year, I was just shocked that there was a penny! lol! I told him I would check in the morning what the year was. So I went to work the next day, checked the penny and the year on it was……………………………………………….2012!!!!

I quickly sent him a picture of the penny and he replied back saying “the year of your collapse!” I said “I know!!” I couldn’t believe it! I was in awe again! I also sent it to my sister and she asked me “what does this mean to you?” I replied back ” the year of my collapse”. Now, if that isn’t a sign I don’t know what is!!! I couldn’t believe that Shannon was right! To watch the signs, to believe in them!

I have said earlier I do believe in spirits and I definitely believe someone is giving me a sign they are here helping me.

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Still alive!! 

Yep! Its true, I’m still alive! I just haven’t written in a while and it’s time to update. Lots happened in 2014.

First, I finally got an appointment to see a genetic counsellor to see if I could get Long QT genetic testing done.

On May 21, 2014 I went to the Alberta Health genetic clinic and talked with Tara the genetic counsellor about my case. With reviewing my medical history and collapse, they didn’t see why I wouldn’t be approved for Alberta Health to pay for the test. They also said it would take a few weeks to find out from the board if I would be approved and if I was then it would take a few months for the results.

After waiting over 2 years to have this test done, I was so happy to have someone help me get this going. I left the clinic emotional because over 2 years since my collapse I was finally going to get answers. When I shared my story to the counsellor I thought I wouldn’t be emotional. But I was. As my good friend once told me emotions are like waves of the ocean, sometimes they will be calm at bay and sometimes rough. It’s true! Some days I don’t even think about it and I’m fine. But when something special happens I get emotional and thankful I’m alive!

For a few weeks after the appointment I started to worry……..in other words I started having anxiety. I worried… what if I wasn’t approved? How would we pay for it? What if I have Long QT? What if I didn’t?? What would be my next step? Would there be another test to find out answers? The list went on and on.

I was up and down. I was beginning to feel anxiety that I had after my collapse, so I decided to see my Dr and ask him if I should see a psychologist. He thought that I should and meet with one he highly recommended. I ended having a phone session with the psychologist and what a difference that made. She was so helpful. She told me that it was normal to have these anxieties with a trauma I had. I felt relieved! I really did think I was going crazy! She said I could call her anytime if I felt I needed to, but after that conversation I knew I wouldn’t need to. I knew there wasn’t anything I could do until I heard from the clinic with the answers.

June 10, I received a phone call from Tara telling me, I’m approved!!!! The board was going to do the test! I was so happy!! Tara said that I had to have my blood drawn so they could test it and we would get the results in a few months. She predicted the fall sometime. I quickly went got my blood drawn that day! I didn’t want to delay it any longer.

On September 4, I found out my results of the test……..it was good news and bad in a way, the good news was that I didn’t test positive for the Long QT gene, and our children/my siblings do not have the gene either. They also will not have to have ICD’s implanted for precautionary measures which is a relief! But the bad news is that there isn’t any other testing for the heart that I can have done and so that gives me no real concrete answers to why my collapse happened. So it gave me mixed feelings not that I wanted to have Long QT but I just wanted to have an answer. After all we are human and we like to know answers.

So in a nut shell, I am still without answers but I am so blessed being alive!!! I’m thankful for a lot of things, we have three beautiful children, a granddaughter who was born on April 9/14 and one more grandchild on the way! What else could I ask for!

2014 was a good year!


mind over matter

Isn’t it amazing how the mind works??

It’s amazing how the brain can tell your body what to do.

It’s amazing how stress can affect your body.

I am just figuring this all out. I know what you’re thinking……”didn’t you know this?” Well I did, but just didn’t realize it, until a few weeks ago. My brother K asked me in the hospital (before I had my ICD implanted), how was I going to live the rest of my life? Was I going to go back to doing the things I always did (with Dr’s permission of course) or was I going to be afraid. I promised I wouldn’t be afraid.

Easier said than done…………..

I was doing really good in the beginning.  After I healed and felt stronger, I told myself  “oh I’m going to be fine” “this isn’t so bad” “I’ll be doing all the things I did before in no time”.
Ya……right….
After my shock back in March 2012, it changed my whole perceptive on that promise. Like I said in another post. I was afraid. I was afraid of everything. It was hard to tell my mind, my body is okay and I could do things again like drive, and start running.

My first hurdle was driving. Driving was something I always had a battle with. I wasn’t like all teenagers who knew at 16 wanted their license right away. Having deaf parents made me afraid of driving. Why? Well when one of my parents would drive they would be like any parent and talk while driving. However, my parents couldn’t talk, so they would have to sign with their hands. When they would do this, they would have one hand on the steering wheel and the other signing to me. I don’t know how many times I would sign “stop signing” “watch the road”. Some days I don’t know how we ever survived the roads hahaha. You would think I’d want to drive them around instead. But nope! I was not comfortable getting my license.

I was 18 when I decided to get my learners. I had my learners for 3 years and finally got my license. When I started driving, I couldn’t believe the freedom I had! I loved it!! I remember thinking why I didn’t get it sooner? Every chance I had I would drive, whether it was just to the store or long distance. I loved driving!

I couldn’t drive for 7 months after my collapse and it was very hard losing that independence. But I did get used to having DC drive me around. It made me feel safe knowing I wouldn’t be responsible hurting anyone on the road if I was driving. When I was cleared to drive, I was so nervous. I felt like I was 18 learning all over again. I called the pacemaker clinic a few times just to confirm I could drive again. They probably thought “oh goodness it’s her again” hahaha, but I was really nervous. What if I had a therapy while driving?? The best thing the Nurse said to me was “you’re the safest person on the road, you get a 16 second warning before you receive a therapy, others don’t have any warning at all, it just happens”. I remember thinking 16 seconds?? That’s not a lot of time, but in reality it actually is. I have been driving for the last 10 months now, and I’m not going to lie, at first I had anxiety if people were driving too close to my back bumper. What if I had to slam my breaks in a hurry and they would hit me? But I realized they would  have to pay attention or hit me.

Running…….the second hurdle, just before Christmas, I was told by my doctor I could slowly start getting back into running. He said, I needed to have a heart monitor with a strap to monitor my heart rate. Also the beta-blocker I am taking my heart rate shouldn’t rise more than 150. I was so happy to hear this and was determinded to start running. So I thought I should start doing Yoga first to help the breathing. I did Yoga for three months. During that time I had researched all kinds of heart monitors. I didn’t realize how many there were and which ones I couldn’t use because some of them have magnets inside them. I decided to call St. Jude Medical (the company who made my ICD) to see what they recommended. They told me the ICD I have they tested with the Polar heart rate monitors. So I went and bought myself one.

I thought I had the breathing down pretty good, so I started to run. My first time running was so exhilarating! I did what the doctor said started off slow. I used the Couch to 5K app like I had two years ago. I was doing great! In the first two weeks of three days a week running, I decided to register for a 5K run in June. My daughter C is joining me for this run.

After the fourth week of running, I could tell the running was getting harder. The runs were getting more intense with running longer and walking shorter. It was really hard. I could feel my heart race faster, but I would check my heart rate often and it was fine. The next week I decided to go back a week and make it easier for myself but when I started to run I looked at my heart rate and it jumped to 162! It scared me! When I was controlling it between 115-130. So I stopped myself and stood to breathe and relax myself. Once I had gotten it back down I tried again but I  would constantly watch my monitor.

The next run that week I followed the run on the app but found it was still too hard. So I decided to use a timer. I decided I would run 3 mins and walk 1 min. The first time I ran the 3 min walk 1 I thought I was doing great, I was controlling my breathing and my HR(heart rate). The second time I went I noticed that my HR went to 167! I started to get nervous and tried slowing down and it was good. My third time running was not so good. My mind was already playing tricks on me. My HR jumped to 172! I stopped immediately! I sat down on the ground and started breathing in and out to have the rate slow down. It went down but I was scared to start running again so I walked the rest. The fourth time I went, I was nervous. I didn’t want my HR to go up again like last time. So I took my time on the pace and was breathing in and out. However, that day was the highest my HR went since my collapse. It went to 185! That really scared me. I stopped sat on the ground again. Being at 185 was not far away from being at 200 when I would receive a therapy. When I got my HR down I decided to walk the rest again.

I thought I should see if the heart rate monitor strap was right. Maybe it wasn’t going as high it showed. So I did a home transmission to see how right it was. I sent the transmission and got a call the next morning from the pacemaker clinic. The nurse said she had looked at my transmission was very concerned. I told her, I had started running and bought a heart strap wanted to see if it was right. Those four HR’s were right, in fact she said it was bang on! she said she needed to send it to the Doctor. Right at that moment I thought uh oh! They are going to tell me that I can’t run anymore. When the doctor called me back, he recommended I try to control my HR going no higher than 150 or I will no longer be able to run again. He suggested I start slower like walking or speed walking until I figure out how to control the breathing and HR.

Since then, which is about three weeks ago, I have tried to run and control my HR. Unfortunately it is not staying low enough. But I am determined to continue. My mind isn’t helping. I had mentioned I registered for a 5K run and it’s this Saturday. I decided I am going to do what I can, whether I run a little, most of it or walk it. As long as I am doing it and having fun, that’s the most important to me now. Telling your mind to not worry about things your body does is difficult and it’s something I have to work on.


learning

After my first shock, I had a very hard time adjusting again. I felt I couldn’t do anything because if I did, I would get another shock. I was afraid to shower, go near the stove or even go up and down the stairs. I didn’t know what made my heart rate go up that day, because all I was doing was standing stirring. How could a heart just suddenly go crazy?? I had called the Pacemaker clinic to let them know I had received a shock. They said do a transmission from home (a transmission is a machine that you plug into the phone jack to read the data from your device) to see if it was in sinus rhythm or not. Did a transmission and I waited……….I didn’t wait long but when you are sitting at home it felt like hours when it was probably only ten minutes.

When they called me back, they told me that they believed I had received an unnecessary shock to the heart. Well!! talk about anxiety!!!! I thought it was a necessary shock and here it wasn’t!?! The Doctor said he believed that my heart did an irregular arrhythmia on the top of the heart and because where my ICD lead is (its on the bottom), it “felt” the arrhythmia and shocked me. His suggestion was to come in to adjust the settings to the device. He believed that the settings were too low and wanted me on a beta blocker to help regulate the heart rate. The clinic said I would come in three weeks, so that the beta blocker would be in my system for a few weeks before I went in for my settings change.

I tried my best to stay calm and do regular things again. Knowing that DC had to go back to work soon and that I would be by myself?? That was difficult. I didn’t have any troubles being by myself before but this time was different. I remember the first day he went, I was afraid to stay by myself.  All I could think of was “what happens if I get a shock”??  “what if I need CPR”??  “what if I received a shock and fall, knock my self out”??  So many things were going through my mind that day. When DC came home that evening, I broke down! Most people who know me, knows that I do not get emotional like that! I am a very strong person. I’m the one who is the shoulder for everyone. So this emotion was very new to me, I broke down three times that week.

During the few weeks before I went in to get my settings changed, I didn’t want to shower without anyone in the house, I didn’t go anywhere (plus I wasn’t allowed to drive) I didn’t even go downstairs. I was going through a lot of anxiety, DC could see I was struggling and suggested to see a therapist. A therapist?? I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see a therapist because everything to me was fine. Until one day I knew that I couldn’t be afraid of my heart, and most of all, my mind. DC set an appointment with the therapist the same day for my settings change. What a day!!!!

The therapist appointment was first, looking back at it now, I would have to say even thou I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect. It was the best thing for me. I know that when we met that day, I felt the weight was lifted off my shoulders. I knew I needed to see her again. I had seen her every two weeks for about four months and as I am typing about her, I didn’t realize how much I miss her. She helped me in so many ways. I didn’t see her as a therapist, I saw her as my friend. She taught me that I needed to learn to express my feelings more, if I felt mad – be mad, and if I felt sad and wanted to cry – let it out! Don’t hold it in! Learning to do this is hard for me. I have always kept my feelings aside, don’t get me wrong, I still said my opinions but I tried to never show my “sensitive” side. I didn’t like to cry or cry in front of anyone. ANYONE! even DC haha. I said before, I was the strong one! I helped get people through their tough times but now? it’s time for me. For me. I need to, so that I will be a better person, wife, mother, sister and friend.

The next appointment was at the Pacemaker Clinic to change my settings. When I say settings, I mean they set a range that would monitor the heart rate and the defibrillator would decide when it needed to shock the heart. So mine were set at monitor at heart rate 170, ATP (Anti-Tachycardia Pacing) at 176 and if the ATP didn’t help regulate the heart back to normal then I would receive a shock. They said that it didn’t give me much warning between the monitor and the first ATP, so they changed it. They changed it to monitor at heart rate 155, ATP at 200 and if it didn’t regulate then shock at 200. I know what you’re thinking, 200?? That’s pretty high! Yes but in my case my heart does get over 176 more than normal, so they figured if its going to go that high a lot then I would be shocked for no reason. This made me feel 100% better knowing that I had a better range of monitoring. I felt really good that day, knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I am learning a lot with this defibrillator and I decided that it will not take over my life. Life is short. I have learned that twice……….