TEE Time!

I survived another procedure- I had a TEE (transesophogeal echocardiogram) on Friday! However, I had to wait until today to write about my experience, until all the drugs wore off. Note my extremely glazed eyes in the photo on the right! For anyone undergoing the same procedure, please don't worry! It's not nearly as scary as it sounds. It really wasn't a bad experience at all. I registered at Royal Columbian Hospital in the morning on Friday, and since I was quite early for my appointment, I spent about an hour lying in the echo room in 2N (Cardiology ward), while the nurses did a safety check of the room. Then they prepped me for the procedure, explaining what would happen- that I wouldn't remember the procedure because of the…
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TEE Anyone?

I met Dr. L, my cardiac surgeon, yesterday. As stressed as I was for this appointment, he put me at ease, as he's very nice and laid back- not intimidating at all. If he does end up doing my surgery, I'll feel very confident in his hands. He actually may not be doing my surgery, as he said that the transcatheter closure may still be an option, and an interventional cardiologist does that procedure.  He wants to perform one more test before jumping into surgery to see if I'm a candidate for the device. I need to have a transesophageal echocardiogram or a TEE, as it's known. Basically it's another echocardiogram but with this exam they put the a scope down your esophagus so they can get better pictures of…
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Heart Needs Fixing

I finally saw my cardiologist and received my MRI results. I think the stress of it all just hit me the morning I saw Dr. D. I live in denial with what's going on for the most part. I feel "normal," so I can't quite believe that I have a serious heart problem. But as soon as I saw Dr. D. and he started talking about surgery, it all became too real. It hit me like a tonne of bricks and I completely panicked in his office- felt faint, nauseous, and dizzy. Not fun. He told me that I definitely have an Atrial Septal Defect. The right side of my heart is strained and dilated, so that would explain why I've been having chest pain when I exercise. My inferior…
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I Survived an MRI!

 I did it! I survived an MRI. I didn't even take the Ativan that Dr. D. had prescribed me when I told him how claustrophobic I am. I feel like I can do anything right now! I was beyond afraid to have this test, and last night I could not sleep at all. It's not so much claustrophobia as it is being stuck in a place where I can't escape. I guess that's more so agoraphobia. I was so afraid that I'd have a full blown panic attack. But I didn't! Months of meditation have surely paid off. My appointment was early so I stayed downtown to avoid rush hour traffic. I headed over to St. Paul's Hospital at about 6:30 am and waited for the Radiology department to open,…
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Echo Report

I requested a copy of my echo report right when I was at the hospital, so it already arrived- that was fast! However, I found it concerning. I mean, I'm extremely grateful that this defect was found. It was a complete fluke that it was discovered and I'm so happy that it was before it did real, serious, irreparable damage, but that doesn't mean I can't be concerned. The report sounds more serious than Dr. D. made it sound. Maybe he just didn't want me to freak out for two months while waiting for my MRI, and I guess he doesn't have all the info yet; he wants the MRI to confirm the diagnosis. Anyway, the report says that my right atrium and right ventricle are dilated, which I know is…
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A Hole, Eh?

I spent the entire weekend in panic mode, non-stop Googling and diagnosing myself with various diseases. I found out that an "urgent" referral means "significant potential for early intervention to save life/prevent hospitalization or functional impairment," so that scared me, needless to say. What helped me get through this weekend was my mindfulness practice. In addition to my regular meditation, I kept telling myself that "Right now I am okay." At this very moment in time I feel fine. Nothing has changed since before my echo a week ago, ergo, I am okay and should stop worrying. It really did help. I met my cardiologist, Dr. D, this morning. I was super anxious so I walked up and down the street near his office, pacing, trying to burn off my…
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Urgent Referral?

Okay, now I'm scared. All was well in the world, as I worked away today, until I went on my break and checked my phone for messages. I had a voicemail from my GP saying to call back today to confirm an appointment with my specialist. My specialist? Say what? So I called my GP, confused, and was told that I had been urgently referred to a cardiologist! The receptionist wouldn't tell me anything about my "condition," just that I needed to call the cardiologist's office today to confirm my appointment. So I called the cardiologist's office and told them my name, "Oh, right, you're the urgent one." What??? Why am I urgent? And why on earth am I being referred to a cardiologist in the first place? I'm a…
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The Beginning

Today I had my first echocardiogram. I wasn't having any heart problems, nothing of the sort. I had been getting the veins fixed in one of my legs and in order to continue with schlerotherapy treatment- basically injecting foam into my veins so they stick closed and no longer bulge- I had to get an echo done to make sure my heart was in tip-top shape. I found the procedure fascinating! I admit, I'm an ER/Grey's Anatomy junkie, so anything medical intrigues me. I had never been hooked up to an EKG before, so monitoring my heart rate, (and noticing how nervous I was!) was quite interesting. I also thought it was really neat watching the screen and seeing the blotches of blue and red slosh through my heart. It…
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