Monday, May 4, 2015

Pericarditis



The last month has been a crazy one to say the least.   I haven't done much of anything, including being online.  The craziness began on Wednesday, February 18th.  It started as a very normal day.  Once the girls were off to school I worked out at the gym.  Overall I felt good, but as the morning went on, I could tell my throat was starting to feel a little sickly.  I had a medical screen appointment for our move scheduled for just after lunch so I thought I'd just mention it to my doctor then.
My appointment was uneventful since it was just for my doctor to fill out paperwork for our move.  I mentioned that my throat was starting to hurt a little and she did a swab of my throat for a strep test since it was going around.
By Wednesday night I was feeling terrible and that continued for the next two days.  At 5pm on Friday, I got a call from my doctor telling me that my culture had turned out to be positive for strep.  Bryan ran to pick up my antibiotics because I was desperate to start feeling better by that point.  
I started feeling a little better on Saturday but early on Sunday morning I woke up feeling very uncomfortable.  I felt a lot of pressure in my chest and my left arm felt cold and kind of numb.  This continued for almost an hour and half and eventually I managed to fall back asleep.  I woke up around 8am that morning and felt totally fine.  
Around 730 on Sunday evening I started feeling the pressure in my chest and arm numbness again.  I asked my neighbor to come sit with the girls so Bryan and I could go to the emergency room.  I was hoping we would get there and the doctors would say I was fine and send me back home.  That's not quite how it played out.
Shortly after arriving to the ER, I had an EKG, CT and labs.  The EKG was abnormal but the doctor was most alarmed by my blood work which showed an enzyme that is released after someone has a heart attack.  The doctor was concerned that I could have had a heart attack or pulmonary embolism.  After consulting with cardiology at their larger sister hospital in Kansas City, they decided to put me on a helicopter to that hospital.
Not long after I was being flown to KC and Bryan went home to regroup and get some things for both of us.  As soon as I arrived at the hospital, I was taken straight to the catheterization lab to check for an embolism.  Once they knew there was no embolism, I was moved to a room in the cardiac ICU.  By this time it was around midnight so not only was I unnerved, but I was also exhausted. 



The rest of the night and all day on Monday consisted of me just hanging out at the hospital being monitored.  I had an echocardiogram that looked good but we still needed an MRI to confirm the cardiologist's diagnosis. 



Finally on Tuesday I had my MRI!  I'm not typically claustrophobic, but laying in the MRI scanner for over an hour repeatedly holding my breath was not a good time.  Once the cardiologist was able to see my MRI images, he diagnosed me with pericarditis.  Basically an infection (possibly strep but maybe something else) had spread to my heart and caused inflammation/damage.
On Tuesday evening, I was released from the hospital with four different medications - an antibiotic, aspirin, heart medicine and a stomach medicine (because of the heart medicine).   The cardiologist told me I would probably be on the medications for about 3 months and would have a follow up MRI and cardiology appointment within the month.



For the next few weeks I was tired and dealt with some kind of head cold or sinus infection, but otherwise felt okay.  I ran a few times and went to yoga a few times.  I eventually had my follow up MRI and a week later my appointment with the cardiologist.  The doctor said that although my heart wasn't completely healed, he felt that it had improved enough that I could go ahead and slowly come off my medication.  I had only been taking the medication for a month at that point so getting that news was a huge relief.  Due to our upcoming move, the doctor also allowed me to see him on an 'as needed' basis.  That means that if I have any problems or concerns I can make an appointment but otherwise he would not require me to come back in.
This whole experience was a little scary and it's crazy to know that it could truly happen to anyone.  I am confident that my heart will heal completely and I will soon be as good as new. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup



Ruth Soukup's new book Living Well Spending Less  is one of those that I had noticed a little buzz about online.  The title seems to relate to a season that I'm in right now so I was interested in seeing what the book was all about.  

Living Well Spending Less is divided into two parts: Living Well and Spending Less.  Ruth Soukup shares her personal experiences and lessons learned through her '12 Secrets of the Good Life'.  The book is easy to read and as a wife and mother, I can definitely relate to some of her experiences.  

Spending isn't really something I struggle with, but I still appreciated that the book seemed to encourage and reinforce those good practices.  The money saving tips mentioned in the book are all things I've heard before, but it was nice to be reminded of some of them.  

The Living Well part of the book was probably my favorite of the two.  Secret #6 : Less Stuff Equals More Joy is a focus of our family right now and I enjoyed reading how Ruth Soukup applied that to her own life and family.  

I appreciated that the book references the Bible and shares scripture relating to the 'secrets' Ruth Soukup shares.  Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to someone who is looking for ways to save money or find more joy in life.          


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