Sunday, November 10, 2013

So What are the Symptoms?

After covering the emotional side of preparation, I thought I would focus on the symptoms of a leaking Mitral valve.  I have included a video demonstrating what exercise is like for me.  Please, do NOT attempt exercise without consulting with your doctor about what you can and cannot do.

My Current Symptoms:
-Fatigue after exertion
-Occasional heart palpitations (increased with stress)
-Exhaustion for no real reason
-Heavy breathing with fast walking, running, uphill biking, uphill walking and climbing stairs

Additional Symptoms many experience:
-Severe palpitations
-the Swelling of ankles
-increased urination at night
-difficulty breathing when lying flat

For a further list of symptoms you can consult the Mayo Clinic:

One of the hard parts about experiencing symptoms with the leak is keeping up with those whose heart is functioning healthily.  So here is how I deal with it:

I handle the difference in energy levels and physical abilities by seeking balance.  I make sure to keep in tune with myself and my personal needs.  When I'm having a busier day, I reserve time to rest. If I wake up feeling more tired than normal, I take that into account and add additional rest time in the day.  I may also take the day at a slower pace.  However, I do not turn into a hobbit or let myself act out of self pitty.  After taking time for rest, I go hang out with everybody else.

One specific area I have trouble bridging the gap between healthy hearts and my heart is walking pace! While walking with others, I often begin to feel tired and my breathing rate goes up.  Sometimes, if its a short distance, you just power through and count it as a work out. But, when it does get to be too much, I simply ask others to slow down a little bit.  Still, walking slow is not always the best solution, especially when you are in a hurry!  Since I am on a small college campus, I have brought a bike to school in order to solve the problem.  While it still tires me out going uphill, the bike allows me to keep up with the busy pace everyone else is running on and maximize the distance I can cover for the same amount of exertion I would experience walking a shorter distance.

So these are my symptoms and this is how I deal.  Only one month and three days until all this changes! WooHoo! :D

If you are preparing for surgery and are experiencing these symptoms (or know of someone who is), my advice is to remember the surgery is going to make this BETTER!  Your life is going to be changed after going through this whole ordeal. You just need to get a tune up on your body's engine!

Well, until next time!

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