Blog

Heart Race- A Success!

My heart race was a success! On May 5th, I participated in the Vancouver BMO Marathon, completing the 8km race in 47 minutes and 35 seconds. I came in 97th out of 1634 other women running the 8km. It was a huge event with 18,000 people registered from 65 countries! (I really wanted to run the half-marathon, but I think that would have been pushing it. My goal will be to run a half in October at the Okanagan Marathon.) It was also a success because I raised $730 for ERH's Cardiac Imaging Lab campaign! I got pledges from friends and family; collected bottles, and made my own donation. It's not a huge amount, but I'm happy that I could contribute something, knowing that it's going to a good cause.…
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Heart Race

I've been feeling so much better lately. My energy is improving all the time. No significant chest pain, and I'm recovering from workouts so much better than before. I can do a full hour on my elliptical relatively easily and feel completely fine the next day, as long as I have enough rest days. I really wanted to start training for my ultimate goal- running a half-marathon- but I think that may be pushing it. It's deceiving because exercise feels so much easier when I'm doing it now, since I'm can breathe normally, that it's very easy to push myself too hard and then end up sick. So I'm playing it safe. I still want to race, of course, but I'll stick to 10km for right now. There's another reason…
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Grateful Patient

I placed a heart on the Wall of Gratitude at Royal Columbian Hospital! It warmed my heart being able to give back. It was also more emotional than I expected! On the drive there I was getting teary, thinking back over the last year. So many tests, appointments, uncertainty, fear, but I'm so grateful to all the medical professionals that helped me along the way, especially Dr. Dehoney and Dr. Chan ❤
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Six Months!

Today is my six-month heart anniversary. Six months ago today my ASD was closed via cardiac catheterization. It's amazing to think back to those first few weeks, how sick and scared I felt, and compare them to now. I have so much more energy than I've ever had! I've moved over the last two weeks (mostly on my own) and I've started a new job, and while I am tired, I would not have been able to accomplish all this in the past without crashing, both physically and mentally. I had a followup appointment with Dr. D on Monday and he reviewed my last echo with me. All good news! My heart has returned to regular size and all looks good. I have no restrictions in terms of activity. The arrhythmia…
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September Stress Test

This month marks one year since finding out I have an ASD! What better way to celebrate than by having a stress test :P I headed to ERH early this morning for my test with Dr. D. After putting on a gown and getting all the electrodes and belt attached to me, I was able to update Dr. D. on how I've been doing lately and ask him some of my questions. However, this visit was mostly for the stress test, so I didn't have the chance to ask all the questions on my annoying long list-next time! I described my chest pain and he said it doesn't sound like a dangerous type, so that's good. I also told him about the fatigue I'm still having. He said if it…
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Hello August

It's already been two months since my ASD closure and things are going pretty well. I no longer have to see the Interventional Cardiologist (Cardiologist #2) anymore, so I'm down to only one Cardiologist. I saw both of them for a check-up the last week of July, as well as my GP, and I was cleared to start exercising again and to return to work. Yay! The best thing so far is that my exercise tolerance has already improved! I went for a few short runs and I've been doing other forms of cardio, and I can actually breathe when I exercise now! It's an amazing, foreign feeling. :) I'm still having chest pain on and off, so I'm still taking it rather slow, easing back into my regular, intense…
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Holter Monitor

On Tuesday/Wednesday I did my first Holter Monitor test. I went to hospital (ERH) at 2pm and they hooked me up to the device and sent me on my way. I kept a diary of any events that occurred and noted the time they happened. I had chest pain and shortness of breath while walking, heart flutters, I woke up gasping for breath three times that night, and my pulse was rather low the following day (43.) Sleeping was a bit rough because I think I was subconsciously worried that I would pull one of the leads off, so I had a rather restless night. Other than that, it was rather uneventful. Now I have a week of nothing planned (still off work!) and then the following week the assessments start: July…
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Research Time

I found an excellent research study that sums up what's going on with me: Conduction Abnormality and Arrhythmia After Transcatheter Closure of Atrial Septal Defect [pdf] Conclusion: Transcatheter closure of ASD is associated with a transient increase in supraventricular premature beats and a small risk of conduction abnormalities and paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in early follow-up. Transcatheter closure of ASD does not reduce arrhythmia that appears prior to ASD closure. Larger device size and longer procedure time are associated with increased risk of supraventricular arrhythmia on early follow-up. Hopefully it is just transient, although I did get atrial flutter very infrequently before closure. (PS- CT is normal- no blood clots!)
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And Now Butterflies?

I have now been acquainted with heart butterflies, aka, atrial flutter. Let me backtrack... I was still feeling short of breath whenever I'd exert energy, i.e. having a shower or trying on different outfits, and my chest still felt like I was wearing a lead vest, so I called Cardiologist #2, and was able to get an appointment for today. In addition to those symptoms, I started feeling this odd fluttery sensation in my heart/throat. I first felt it after I climbed my apartment stairs a couple of days ago, and then it started happening on and off more frequently throughout the day. It's an odd sensation, like there's a butterfly in your chest, and it takes your breath away slightly. It happened frequently today, including the entire time I…
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