I’m tired. I’m always bloody tired. This week we’ve walked miles (or so it seems). We’ve been down country lanes, had a shopping marathon, been on the tourist trail in Liverpool, been to the gym, and just the general day to day business of getting about. So, today I’m shattered. I have no energy. The worst of it is, I know that Steve is frustrated with me because I’m not leaping about, doing chores, rushing to make the place Pinterest worthy for the weekend. The fact is, I simply cannot oblige. He’s hoovering downstairs (huffing and puffing) and I’m hiding up here on the bed, blogging away. I was in bed at 7:30 last night and asleep by 9 p.m. so no sleep deprivation. I had a shit day with palpitations yesterday and really, I’m just glad that my heart is OK today. Dr Abi says she is writing to my GP to see if I can come off the beta blocker. I really hope it will help, but at the same time, I’m scared that a change in medication will aggravate the palpitations. She suggested I could have an ablation (get the offending bit of my heart zapped) but that scares the living daylights out of me. Sorry for the rant, but sometimes it just has to be said, and I feel I can’t keep whingeing to Steve about it.
A year go, on my fledging blog, I wrote about palpitations and what I did to manage them. I notice that in the SCAD user group (spontaneous coronary artery dissection) lots of people are asking about how to cope so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in the last twelve months.
- My SCAD is now four years behind me, so every day that goes by, I feel safer. I know that PACS come and go and I don’t pay them the same attention. They are my new normal and to some extent, I’ve accepted this.
- I’ve read a lot about palpitations and it seems that they are very common and according to my GP and specialist, nothing to worry about. Lots of people without heart problems have them, it’s just that us SCADsters are hyper aware of anything to do with our heart.
- Occasionally I do panic a bit. When this happens, I aim to distract myself. Sadly at bedtime, this is hard to do, as your thoughts are magnified and you can over focus on your heartbeat. I have a pile of magazines by my bed to flick through – easier than trying to concentrate on my book.
- I eat to keep my blood sugar stable, as dips seem to set them off – especially getting hungry and missing a meal. This means avoiding simple carbs: white bread, cakes, pastries, alcohol, chocolate, pasta which cause a sharp rise in blood sugar followed by a crash. I’m no saint and love all these things, but keep them for occasions, and not for every day.
- I love chocolate, so have a strip of 85% cocoa Green & Blacks right after my evening meal so there is protein in my stomach too.
- I aim to have protein, complex carbs and good fats at every meal.
- Planning my menus each week avoids relying on a quick fix carb heavy meal.
- I exercise to raise my heart beat – Zumba and regular walking for a few miles at a time. I couldn’t maintain the running because it aggravated the PACS.
- I practice Yoga to help with relaxation.
- I have a set bedtime relaxation routine which includes reading for an hour before sleep.
- I take comfort in knowing that palpitations are common at menopause, so now I’m almost 54, it can’t be forever!
- Sally Bee is my role model – she’s a SCADster and looks fabulously healthy on ITV’s Lorraine.
- Finally, I’m not letting it rule my life. In the last year I’ve flown long haul, had food poisoning (was terrified that vomiting would kill me) and agreed to be chairman of a registered charity which will involve public speaking.
If you are getting palpitations for the first time, then of course check with your GP, but once you’ve been checked over and told you just have to get on with it, then maybe the above will help.
End of week three and I’m in a bit of bother. After the euphoria of the wedding and concert last weekend, my energy levels have been rock bottom and today I’ve woken up full of cold. The slippery slope started on Wednesday when, feeling tired, I succumbed to a piece of toast with jam and butter in M&S Café and it’s been downhill all the way since, eating two gingerbread wedding favours (yes, two), chocolate and cake.
So, this morning, not only do I have a cold, but my heart is misbehaving too. The last couple of weeks my heart has been pretty stable, so I’m guessing it’s the sugar hit that’s causing the trouble. At least it bears out the theory that I need to ditch the sugar.
So enough feeling sorry for myself, what am I going to do to get back on track? Well, I have some cod for dinner tonight which I’ll have with roasted veg, and I have the ingredients to make some more of this slaw that I had earlier in the week. Wish me luck! I’m gonna need it to get my head in the right space again!
My heart has been pretty stable lately so I took the plunge today and upped my walk on the treadmill to a run. Whilst only a few minutes’ run, this is important to me for so many reasons:
1. My confidence, almost 4 years post #SCAD, is coming back.
2. It’s my first run for over a year, because although the first few months post heart attack I’d built up my running to 5k three times a week, palpitations forced me to stop, and I’ve felt like I’m going backwards. So does this mean there is light at the end of the tunnel? Are my palpitations finally improving?
3. If I can get going again I might be able to shift the extra stone in weight I’m carrying.
4. It’s given me hope that I can run in the country lanes again this summer. I’ve missed it.
5. I have something positive to focus on, upping the time spent on my feet each week.
6. It makes me feel ‘normal’. Fellow #SCADSISTERS will know what I mean!
I’ll keep you posted on how I get on!