Fearless

It’s a cycle, this life.

If you pay attention to the minute details, you’ll get a glimpse at the cyclical nature of it all, constantly repeating itself like the falling leaves of autumn, seemingly stuck in an infinite loop until no further leaves are left on the tree.

Are we the leaves, or the tree?


Yesterday it happened again.

I felt the familiar chest pain, digging into my rib cage, settling in next to my tired heart.

I took a deep breath and I moved on.

Then again, on the couch as I studied next to a friend, I felt the familiar warmth creep up my neck as my head began to spin.

Recovering from last January took eight months. I went to counseling. I saw numerous doctors. I was poked and prodded by needle after needle until I feared my skin would turn purple indefinitely. I peeled countless heart monitor stickers off of sensitive skin and placed new ones on top of red blisters and small patches of mild bleeding.

I was terrified then.

Over an eight month span I taught myself that my body is my friend, that I needn’t be afraid of it or its capabilities. I stopped drinking caffeine. I was selfish because I needed to be, for my mental health, for my physical health.

The time I took to recover was so incredibly necessary, but so very time consuming.

I’m a senior in college now, staring my final semester in the face. I’ll be done in six months. That’s it… just a measly six months are standing before me and the end of my undergraduate education.

Yet here I sit, terrified again.

I’ve been feeling this way for two weeks, felt the symptoms start to slowly appear again like they’re as frightened as I am for their return.

Are they returning?

Is this it? Am I damned to live through the cycle of symptoms every year? Over and over?

I’m waiting.

I’m not sure if I’m waiting for them to fully set in, or if I’m waiting for them to fade, but nonetheless I’m present for them. I’m prepared for them this time.

On Monday in class I took a personality quiz that required me to select adjectives that describe myself. I scanned the page, not struggling with selecting quite a few until I came upon the word “fearless.” I paused for a moment and I took in the word, reflected on its meaning. I thought about the obstacles I’ve faced in my young life thus far.

As an eight year-old, I adopted the word “brave” as a descriptor for myself after having broken bones set without anesthetic. After reporting childhood sexual assault to a counselor when I was twelve, I adopted the word “strong.” In high school, I struggled with coming to terms with the sexual assault, leading to promiscuity and a handful of bad decisions related to marijuana, older men, and my academic integrity. I was described as “wild,” “courageous,” and “capable,” because I put effort into changing my habits and turning around bad decisions, so that I could succeed in honors courses, maintain healthy friendships, and continue with my academic extra curriculars.

I circled the word, “fearless.”

Because… why not? Aren’t I?

I’ve been fearful at times, but I’ve conquered so much of that fear with perseverance, optimism, strength, courage, and determination. And, while I’m still not 100% confident that I consider myself completely fearless, it’s something that I’m working up to feeling, believing, and ultimately being.

In the words of Poppy, Princess of the Trolls:

“I’m not giving up today. There’s nothing getting in my way. If you knock, knock me over, I will get back up again. If something goes a little wrong, well you can go ahead and bring it on.”

The cycle continues; overcome and become.

Leaves. Tree.

untitled

ps: Please remember that while your education is important, your health is more important; take time to take care of yourself and focus on your needs.

For more information on Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia, my eight month break, or to see my most recent posts, check out the links below!

Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia

Living with Tachycardia 101

The Reality of Taking a Leave (from Uni)

Β The Fish Bowl Analogy

Advertisements

Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia

If you’ve been following my long and somewhat ridiculous health journey on social media, on Living with Spunk, or in real life, then you know that I haven’t had an exact answer for what’s been going on with my health and heart since late January. Well, big news!!! I have an answer now!!

After seeing a cardiologist in one of the most popular and most recommended clinics in Charlotte, I was feeling incredibly discouraged. The doctor (I’m not bashing individuals so I’m not naming names- contact me if you need to know for personal reasons) seemed annoyed at our consultation, rolling his eyes a few times throughout the appointment, ignoring me when I started to faint during his examination (wtf), and just seeming so unconcerned through the whole process. I was told to wear an event monitor, which is a small heart monitor that you take home with a button to press when you feel an episode coming on. I wore the monitor for two weeks, and then sent it through the mail back to the clinic. Well four weeks came and went and I still hadn’t received any kind of call about my results. I called the clinic and was told that the doctor was uninterested in scheduling a follow-up appointment because he didn’t think it was necessary, as my results weren’t too abnormal.

My family was blown away by how we had been treated at this “renowned” clinic.

We went to my primary care doctor and told him exactly what happened and he sent us to another clinic in the Charlotte area.

Well, I went to the new cardiologist yesterday and after months of waiting for a diagnosis, an explanation, etc. I finally got one.

This doctor explained everything in detail, went over medication options, and lifestyle changes. I have Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia. According to the doctor, my heart is reacting in a way that a typical heart would react when you are being poked with needles repeatedly. It’s racing but not in a dangerous way that could cause me any harm or long-term medical issues. This type of tachycardia is common in women my age, and could be lifelong or just last a matter of weeks. It could stay or go in a matter of time. My heart itself isn’t causing this issue, it’s something sending signals to my heart. However, we still aren’t sure what; that’s part of this diagnosis. It could be my PCOS (Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome), it could be that I’m overproducing adrenaline (waiting on test results), or that I had mono in the past and didn’t know it. It could honestly be anything. But basically, I can live my life. It isn’t threatening.

Through this whole thing I’ve been stopping myself from enjoying things that I used to.

Should I travel for the weekend? Well not if we don’t know what’s up with my heart, like what if I need my doctor?

Should I go to the mall? Well if I faint or something, it could be really bad since we don’t know why.

The cardiologist told me to live my life. He told me to stop avoiding things out of fear, because I didn’t have answers and now I do.

I have answers.

Finally.

I still have a stress test to do before I’m completely out of the dark when it comes to the tachycardia, but I’ve already been told I can live life normally until then. The stress test will show how high my heart rate gets when I exercise, just to make sure that I can exercise without hurting myself of causing any kind of major distress.

I’m just so excited to get back to normal, and now that I know I can still do everything I did before the tachycardia started, there’s nothing really holding me back.

I can feel the anxiety melting away.

And I am so, so relieved.

Thank you all for being there with me through this entire ordeal.Β 

It means to world to me.