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”.
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.
As I left you off last post, I said I didn’t make it to the hot tub that day………………. I am going to tell you what happened that day…………………..
You know the saying “second chance?” I had my second chance with my Mitral Valve repair in 2004. My title “some say luck, fate, I say “thank you”, well I say “thank you” because that day I got a “third” chance at life.
I remember running on the treadmill in the fitness area, at the Rec Centre and while I was running there was an elderly couple that came to exercise beside me on a couple of stationary bikes. I remember because I apologized for the heavy running noise, the elderly woman laughed and said to me not to worry, and made a joke saying that they were part deaf anyways. I laughed, still ran on. I noticed that there was a gentleman working out with the weights diagonal from me, and I still ran on. I looked down to see where K was with the boys because the fitness area was above the pool so that you could look down and watch. I noticed a gentleman in the pool that I thought was K but it wasn’t. I panicked looking around for K and noticed that he was walking with the boys. I thought to myself “uh oh they are going to the hot tub already without me” and I wanted to finish my run. I looked at the clock, wanting to know what time it was and it said about 2:38? So I still ran, knowing that I only had about 6 or 9 mins left in my run. Then I looked to my left and noticed a blonde girl coming to run on the treadmill beside me, next thing I remember was looking forward and my vision went like when a television loses connection and it goes snowy, well it did, then it was black…………
The next thing I remember was someone saying my name over and over which I later found out it was K. A few moments later I hear a gentleman saying my name and asking me if I knew where I was. I mumbled the place, and he said that I had to keep the oxygen mask on, because I remember fighting it with them trying to put it on my face and then I hear sirens. While I was in the ambulance, K was on the phone to hubby DC, telling him that I had collapsed and was on my way to the hospital. DC was in the grocery store when he got the news and he was so shocked that he dropped everything and left to go tell our children that their mom was on her way to the hospital. DC didn’t know what to do, whether to just drop everything and get to me or wait to find out what was wrong with me first, because he was three provinces away. K also had called M to let her know what had happened, and that he was coming to get her. A lifeguard ended up watching the boys,and there were a couple of friends of K at the pool too that knew the boys and took over. Which was a relief to K since he needed to rush to the hospital as quickly as possible.
I arrived to the hospital and I remember a woman saying to me it’s alright, you’re alright and you’re going to feel a warm sensation, don’t worry you didn’t pee yourself. I was having a CT Scan done to check if there was any brain damage, and a X-ray to check for any broken ribs. I didn’t have any damage to either brain or ribs. The whole time I was in and out of consciousness I didn’t have my eyes open. I then remember hearing K talking to someone about my information, my name, where I lived etc. Then suddenly it was like someone turned on a light switch and I could open my eyes! I looked over and saw K standing beside me and he says to the nurse” could you pass me her glasses? she’s pretty blind with out them” and he gives them to me. I put them on and looked over to K saying “What happened?” “What happened?”. K came over to me, cried, hugged me and said “you collapsed”. I was really shocked at this moment because I only remember running on the treadmill and now here I am in the hospital???
I asked K what had happened over and over, it was probably more than 5 times within an hour or more and K was getting worried, looked over at the nurse and she said it was normal for people to have a little amnesia. K explained as much as he could about what had happened…….
K said when I collapsed, the elderly couple noticed that I had fallen in between the treadmills and was unconscious, so the elderly woman rushed to get help. A lifeguard came and started CPR, while the lifeguard was doing CPR there was another one getting the AED kit. The lifeguard with the AED kit came opened it up and it had said that it was needed. My heart had stopped. They put the AED on me used it. It brought me back. All of this happened less than 2 minutes. Another lifeguard had called 911 and the ambulance was on their way. Ambulance came. Ambulance took me to the hospital.
So, you can call it luck, fate for that day but…..
I say “thank you” because those lifeguards saved my life and gave my third chance.