I can almost feel the sand between my toes.

(Thank goodness this is just an exercise, because I actually can’t stand the feeling of sand in my toes. #Yucky.)

The gentle waves rush in and out. The lulling whoosh of the water sweeps over you and you are totally relaxed. The sun is bright and you smile as it warms your face…

Today I am pretending I am here:

Hammock-on-the-Beach

When really, I am here:

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February has proved to be quite a snowy month this year, and the endless pound of ice from the sky and below freezing temperatures hanging out here in the Mid-Atlantic are getting old.

I also happen to have a touch of a something that just won’t go away. I’ve decided that my fever is just there to help make the visualization more realistic- it is, in fact, kind of warm wherever I am.

I’ve got my sound machine set up to “ocean waves.” I’m eating a blood orange whose happy red-orange color is the same as the sun in July.

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I am ignoring the snow that is piling up outside the window, and am instead reading The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. I’m at the part where they are summering in Newport, and I’m pretending I’m there too.

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The one person I know who is decidedly not complaining about the weather?

Suki.

She is like Agnes in Despicable Me. I swear this is her:

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When we go out, she actually walks right out into the middle of the yard and sticks her face in the frozen icicles, ostrich-in-the-sand-style.

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I have taken to wearing a full snowsuit when we go out, because she wants to stay out foreverrrr and I want to be able to feel my legs when we go back inside.

Today, we’re both happy. We went out, she walked over the frozen surface for a good long time (it’s actually frozen solid enough that she can’t stick her face in it today), and now we are inside, where I am visualizing pleasant beach scenes.

Win-win, yes?

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Leaving the Safe Harbor

Hello Chronic Readers! Happy Tuesday!

I’m in a particularly chipper mood today because Saturday was my birthday. We had a crazy white-out blizzard-ish thing here, so I didn’t get to go out, but that’s ok. It was super cold and yet lovely all the same.

(I describe the storm as blizzard-ish because is anyone anywhere allowed to use that word if you are not in Boston? Because that is snow that they have there. The rest of us just have frozen water.)

ANYWAY.

As my birthday is in February, I tend to use it as a New Year’s do-over, as birthdays are also a good time to resolve stuff.

Now, I did write a post about how this year I gave up on New Year’s resolutions and resolve to not pressure myself into any unrealistic expectations.

https://iamchronicallywell.com/2015/01/01/new-year-new-you-sort-of/

I still totally plan on doing that.

Perhaps instead of resolutions, birthdays are about reexamining.

Personally, I am not where I thought I would be when I turned 26. I was that way-too-type-A kid who was all, “By the time I am 25 I will have my whole life figured out, will have discovered the cure for cancer, found the solution to World Peace, and have a killer wardrobe of power suits!”

Come to think of it though, in an ironic twist, I didn’t actually plan anything for after I had single-handedly saved the world by my 25th birthday. So technically, maybe I am where I thought I would be when I turned 26– that is to say, in no place in particular at all?

Hmm. Perplexing thought.

The point of my re-examining post-birthday is at the same time ridiculously simple and horrifically complex-

I am boring.

No really, I am.

I eat oatmeal for breakfast every day and everything.

Life on paper and life in real time aren’t really the same thing.

Me on paper: Blogger, etsy shop operator, medical transcriptionist student, exercise maven (I feel like that should be an official title you get once you start to exercise with any sort of consistency), doggie butler (because really, aren’t we all?).

Me in real life: I spent 10 minutes staring at the ceiling willing it to tell me what to blog about this week. I have my day planned out to the ½ hour- as in I do basically the same thing every day with little, if no, variety.

In improv comedy terms, I don’t say “Yes” enough.

Not to go bumbling down a side street of thought, but somewhere in my chronic illness journey (probably near the early middle-ish part), I decided that “predictable” was the only possible way for me to live. That made sense at the time- there will probably be a time in all Chronics’ lives where predicatable = survival and that is not a bad thing.

But what about after? What about when that part is done or, you know takes a break for a while? I never really thought I’d get to a place where I could even say the word “spontaneity,” let alone put it into practice.

(*Disclaimer/Nic Note: Spontaneity does not mean jumping out of an airplane. I will never, ever, ever do this. I get that this is the first thing a lot of people think about when they hear the word spontaneity, but I am so not talking about that. I’m talking about stuff like “Maybe I’ll go to the movies on a Wednesday for no reason.” Just so we’re clear. I’m taking small steps to lasting change, not having a lobotomy, mmmkay?)

So what now?

I have absolutely no idea.

You see, I don’t do this very often…

At least not yet.

Step 1: Entertain the possibility of change.

Oh hey, Change! Sure we can hang out. Want to listen to music or something?

Check.

Step 2: Recognize what your comfort zone is.

Have you ever seen the Family Circus cartoon where the little kids run all over the neighborhood and their steps are tracked in dashed lines? I am that kid, except it’s the same every time. You could trace the steps I take all day, every day.

FamilyCircusCheck.

 

Step 3: Take a teeny, tiny step outside that comfort zone.

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Yes, I also feel this way.

*This step has not yet been checked*

Which is, of course, why I need to do this more often.

So this is my big resolution/re-evaluation for my 26th year:

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Cross your fingers for me, would you?

I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts about this! Have you ever dealt with trying to break out of your routine/comfort zone? How did you do it? Have any suggestions of fun, chronic-friendly ways to mix it up a little? Let me know!

NYC Fashion Week

I love fashionnnnn.

My love makes me draw out the end of the word so you know I emphatically love itttttt.

Sorry.

(I’m not sorry.)

Now, I love fashion, but I am not so much a fashionista in the sense that I wear trendy clothes and makeup all the time. (OK, ever, but whatever.)

  1. I don’t always have the bank account.
  2. I don’t always have the energy (being on pointe fashion-wise seems to be exhausting!)

But I love to look. Oh fashion, how I adore looking at you!

I used to subscribe to nearly every fashion magazine possible. Every month, my mailbox was overflowing with trendy glossy pages.

After being a subscriber for a number of years, I realized an unfortunate truth that the magazine world doesn’t really want consumers to know: it’s highly redundant.

Whether or not they plan to, lots of magazines cover the same topics in the same month. They might have different clothing in their spreads, but the “theme” tends to be strikingly similar. After 2 or 3 years, it’s like the editions begin to repeat themselves.

For instance, pin straight hair was a big deal a few years ago. Then came beachy waves. Pin straight hair came back for a hot second. Now we’re back to beachy waves. Hang on to your overalls, your neon spandex, your boyfriend cardigans, and military-inspired boots. Give it a year or so and you can shop your closet and be back to trendy once again.

Nowhere is this lather-rinse-repeat cycle of fashion more apparent than in the “look” of models in New York City’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

For those not in the “know,” Fashion Week happens twice a year in fashion capital cities (New York/Milan/Paris)-but Spring (hosted for a week in February) in New York is a BIG.DEAL. This is where the year’s styles are doled out by the big designers, which leads to the trickle down effect made famous by Meryl Streep’s “Cerulean Monologue” in The Devil Wears Prada (such a great movie! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzu-RgorcSo).

Models are supposed to be clothes hangers, right?

Somewhere someone started taking that sarcastic sentiment to heart and there is a severe lack of diversity on runways.

That is, until this year…

Enter the FTL MODA show at this year’s New York Fashion Week.

(See http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-style/news/disabled-models-runway-wheelchairs-fashion-week-photos-2015172)

They teamed up with Fondazione Vertical, an Italian organization that researches spinal cord injuries, to hire a full set of differently-abled models for their presentation. Models rolled out in wheelchairs, strutted with canes and crutches, and stomped with prosthetic legs.

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The clothes were pretty awesome too.

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Now, I know that something like this screams “publicity stunt,” and that some people are going to be grumpy about it. Call me naïve, but I don’t think there’s so much wrong with that–in this case (publicity stunts of the West-Kardashian type are a whole different thing!).

If a publicity stunt is the vehicle by which differently-abled models are seen on such an important and influential stage as Fashion Week, then I am all for it. In a backwards way (thanks society) publicity stunts such as this can be a way to bust down the door of so-called “normalcy”, and invite some new faces and abilities to the table.

I happen to live in close proximity to a large Naval hospital, and so on a regular basis, I see differently-abled people in every day situations- at the post-office, on therapeutic bike rides with hand-controlled bikes, standing in line at the grocery store with prostheses on full display. As I see it so often, I do not gawk. It’s not so “different” to me any more. And, sometimes, I forget that 99% of the rest of the world does not see this all the time.

That’s when “publicity stunts” like this fashion show come into play. It’s on TV, on the Internet, talked about in magazines and newspapers. That’s when “differently abled” no longer stays some foreign thing that one just hears about-it’s right there in front of your face, and that is a beautiful thing.

Everybody has Something. And just because someone’s Something can be seen on the outside does not mean that they aren’t still a part of an invisible population.

People with different abilities (sometimes I get tired of the word “disabilities” because come on…) of all kinds, physical, mental, medical, genetic, etc. are still marginalized, but why? I bet that almost everyone knows someone with a Something. And if you don’t directly, you know someone who knows someone. We’ve got to stop pretending that differently abled people aren’t out here in the world living Chronically Fabulous lives, because we totally are and we should be represented as such.

We wear clothes and makeup, we like trends, and we like to see ourselves represented in displays of fashionista decadence. I use “we” here as a term of solidarity. You can’t see my Something from a runway view, but it’s there and so I get you, Visible Something Friends, at least on some level.

So, Yay for Fashion Week, and Yay for FTL MODA for their display of inclusiveness!

Have a Chronically Fabulous day, Fashionistas 🙂

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Do you like to express yourself through fashion? Tell me about it!

The Girl Who Cried “Success!”

I tend to get excited about new (to me) treatment options.

How could one not?

This pill will help me retain fluid. That will be so helpful! I may not have to go to the bathroom 900 times a day! My blood pressure will finally increase!

Except… retaining water meant I ended up with uncomfortable bloating and severe migraine headaches that kept me confined to bed.

This injection will cause my red blood cell count to be higher- and since I’m anemic, that’s going to be so great because I will finally have enough blood to circulate through my system!

Except that getting shot in the rear with bee-sting-like intensity 3 times a week for 4 weeks is 1) painful 2) expense because my insurance didn’t cover it. Add in the fact that while I may have had more blood circulating, my iron levels plummeted, so I had to take high dose (liquid!) iron supplements that made my digestive system tie up in knots so badly that it triggered gastroparesis (literally paralysis of the gastric system) and I ended up only able to eat blended food for an entire year. Plus, once the injections stopped, so did the overzealous red blood cell production.

There have been other pills, other “lifestyle” changes that I have tried throughout the years, and let me tell you, I was excited about each and every one.

Well, ok, back up a minute, I was excited about what each and every one promised.

So, of course, I told everyone about it.

“I’m trying this new thing, and it’s supposed to help!” I proudly proclaimed.

“Yay for you!” my lovely support system replied.

Most of the time, the New Thing does/did help. It’s just that usually, it helps for approximately 5-10 days, and then stops.

It feels like this:

New Thing introduced.

Body is too confused (and let’s face it, slow) to figure out what’s happening.

New Thing does what it is supposed to. Happiness ensues. Phone calls are made, Facebook statuses and blog posts of joy are written.

Time passes.

Body catches on that New Thing is not going away anytime soon.

Body FLIPS THE FREAK OUT.

Body rejects New Thing.

New Thing is overpowered by side effects and triggered responses of Body.

Nic cries.

(A lot.)

New Thing is stopped.

Depending on how severe Body freaked out, return to Previous Normal might not be possible, and so New Thing #2, 3, 4, 5, 6 might need to be introduced to clean up the mess.

Or, Nic might just need to sit on the couch for a week watching TV shows on Netflix while waiting for Body to remember how to function on a slightly normal/manageable level.

New Normal achieved. Nic marches on.

I hope you see where I am going with this…my new beta blocker did not work out.

It’s really frustrating to be in it- to go through the hope-happiness-disappointment-frustration cycle yourself- but it’s also weird to see other people react to the situation.

It’s as if I am crying Wolf or something…

It’s as if I am crying Success.

Unlike the Little Boy who Cried Wolf (Not up-to-date on your nursery rhymes? Google it.), I do not cry Success for attention. I cry Success because for a moment I actually feel it, and I’m bursting with how good it feels, and I want to tell everyone how happy I am.

But when Success doesn’t last long, and a few months later I come back with some other New Thing and repeat the whole kit-and-kaboodle again, I can see how some people (not you, of course) might get a little tired of it.

Let me tell you something.

I’m never going to get tired of it.

The other Chronics you know, who go through a similar process, are never going to get tired of it.

Not because it’s a game and we’re trying to pull a fast one on unsuspecting support systems. We are not messing with you, promise.

It’s just that to us, each New Thing is so much more than just a new thing…

It’s Hope.

If we ever stop getting excited, if we ever stop talking about our process of progress-setback-progress, that is when we have a problem.

That’s when you know we’ve given up.

A lot of times, New Things bring a Louis Vuitton matching set of Baggage with them. A lot of times, it is not worth it to have one thing go right when it triggers everything else to go wrong. No one likes a Health Hydra (see previous post).

You may not get this.

You may not understand why the Chronic in front of you “gave up” so easily/quickly/etc.

This is the part where I politely pat you on the head, give you a cookie, and tell you that you don’t have to understand everything.

Each New Thing is a learning experience for a Chronic. Even if it didn’t go right, there is definitely something to be gained for having tried.

For instance, having tried this particular beta blocker, I now know that if I want to function (at all) then it is more important for my blood pressure to be regulated than for my heart rate to be low. I like functioning more than I like a quiet thoracic cavity, so I chose not to continue the beta blocker (which caused my blood pressure to tank after it had built up in my system- 85/50? Not happening).

That’s the other thing: I chose.

Sure, when you are a Baby Chronic, your parents are still in charge of your medical decisions, and so have some measure over what your treatment options will be.

But once you’re 18, it’s your turn.

You get to decide that you don’t want to “wait it out” or “see what happens”. You can say, “Nope, this is no good for me!” just as soon as you need to.

I am bummed (so, so, so bummed) that this particular New Thing did not produce results that were compatible with my system long-term. The shiny promise of it was so appealing! Plus, it’s a real inconvenience to be so life-interrupted. It took 2 weeks of taking it to know it wasn’t for me, and then 1 week to get it out of my system. In a few more days, I’m sure I will lament the loss of February as much as I lamented the speed at which January flew by.

But <stuff> happens sometimes.

It was better to try this out, see if it helped, and learn a couple of things than to not know at all.

And if that’s not a reason to cry “Success!” then I don’t know what is.

Be Your Own Valentine!

I really, really love Valentine’s Day.

Probably even more than Christmas, but second to my birthday.

Pretty much every Valentine’s Day ever, I have been single.

My single girl status does not mean that I sit around grumpy, in ratty sweatpants, bemoaning love. I absolutely cannot stand that “Single-Girl-On-Valentine’s-Day” stereotype. It doesn’t have to be a bummer, singletons! No!

In fact…

Why don’t you be your own best Valentine?

How about a festive manicure/pedicure?

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Make yourself a yummy heart-shaped pancake breakfast!

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Buy yourself some chocolates! (That way you get the kind you like!)

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Watch a lovey-dovey movie on Netflix!

If you are hopelessly romantic: An Affair to Remember (How irresistible is Carey Grant?).

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If you’re slightly jaded: How to Marry a Millionaire (Lauren Bacall can be your spirit animal!)

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If you like your movies like you like your pizza (a.k.a. cheesy): Anything with Hugh Grant in it- might I suggest Notting Hill or Bridget Jones’ Diary?

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King of the Rom-Com

 

Feeling left out when your Facebook NewsFeed shows pictures of all your friends out with their sweathearts?

Well, my dears, that’s why we have pets…

Photo on 2-14-15 at 2.20 PM #2

She got her own set of heart shaped pancakes for putting up with me!

 

See? It’s not so bad 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day, Chronic Readers! I adore you ❤

The Health Hydra

In mythology, there is a fearsome creature called the Hydra. It’s your average, run-of-the-mill ugly monster, except for one tiny detail…

When the hero of the story successfully dominates the creature and cuts off its head, he is surprised to find that not one, but two, brand new heads grow back in the original’s place. Keep dicing off those heads, and two grow back in the place of each– multiplying until that monster is something completely different than its initial form.

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This is the least scary picture I could find of a hydra. It comes from the Disney movie Hercules. Yep, a Disney movie is this creepy. Hydras mean business.

 

Um, ew.

I am currently dealing with a Health Hydra.

I cut off the head of poundy-pound heart rate, and instead of felling the beast, he’s grown 2 new heads. I tried to fix it, and cut off the 2 new heads, but ended up instead with 4…and so on.

Health Hydras are SO FLIPPIN ANNOYING OH MY GOSH I CAN’T STAND THEM SERIOUSLY WHY IS THIS HAPPENING.

So, you see, I’m going to take a tiny hiatus from blogging for the week to see if I can sort this out and regain control of my hydra. Because really, I don’t think anyone wants to read posts that are ALL IN CAPS FOR EMPHASIS ON HOW MUCH THIS IS MAKING ME CRANKY.

Thanks for understanding, Chronic readers!

 

This coming weekend is Valentine’s Day, and if I were feeling better, I’d be writing all about mushy-gushy love stuff this week. In absence of new material, please feel free to check out previous posts. I talk about what true love means to me here: https://iamchronicallywell.com/2014/08/29/true-love/

What does true love mean to you, Chronic readers? Share your thoughts in the Comments!

The importance of a really good mantra

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

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When I was little, one of my favorite books was The Little Engine that Could.

If you are unfamiliar, it is the heartwarming tale of a little blue engine who is smaller than all the rest, but who is called upon to help out when the other bigger, stronger, and let’s face it, more arrogant, engines refuse to help a long train go up a big mountain. It looks like the Little Engine isn’t well equipped for the job, but she does her very best and repeats over and over to herself the refrain, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” Eventually, her hard work pays off and the Little Engine that Could does make it over the mountain that no one thought she could conquer.

I’m going to go out on a limb and hypothesize that, “I think I can,” was the first popular mantra of the Western Hemisphere (the story was originally published in 1906).

If you have ever gone to any kind of therapy or counseling, you know that one of the first things they tell you to do is create a personal mantra. A mantra is simply a short phrase that holds emotional meaning that is repeated over and over for the purpose of inspiration or bringing about calm.

It sounds pretty easy, but it can be really hard to think of something that works for you. However, once you find that special phrase, it can really help, especially when Chronic times are tough.

I was thinking about this because the other day, I read an article about a woman who was dealing with severe depression. This woman went to see the movie Frozen, and decided to make “Let it Go” her personal mantra. She identified with the character and the phrase so much that as part of her effort to treat her depression, she started a second career as an Elsa impersonator for children’s parties. Any time she starts to feel like she won’t make it through, she uses this mantra to remind herself that she is stronger than her affliction. I thought that was pretty amazing.

frozen-elsa-wallpaper-1-desktop-what-happened-when-these-kids-mistook-daenerys-for-elsa-from-frozen

The first mantra I tried to work with was the very simplistic, “It’s ok. I’m ok.”

This was not a good mantra.

Why?

Well first off, when you are a Chronic, no matter how severe or not severe your current situation, there is no end to the number of people who will tell you that you are ok. It loses it’s meaning. An overused word or phrase is not going to make your brain sit up and listen-instead you’ll probably tune out.

Second, it wasn’t always true. Sure, I could tell myself that, “It’s ok. I’m ok,” when I started to feel overwhelmed by symptoms, but when I was at my worst and slightly symptomatic became unconscious <ReallyFreakingQuickly> then it also lost it’s meaning. Mantras can be more positive than your current situation, sure, but if you won’t believe them, then it doesn’t matter how good it sounds.

So what are some good mantras?

Just Keep Swimming.

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(Dorey is always a crowd pleaser.)

Others I like:

I’m too blessed to be stressed.

I’m too glad to be sad.

I’m too cheerful to be fearful.

I am too grateful to be hateful.

Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile (courtesy of Dr. Wayne Dyer).

I’ve got this.

I accept myself.

My breaths are deep and my heart is open.

I release the things that are not under my control.

Keep Calm and ____ (fill in your own end to this!)

A lot of people like to have a religious/spiritual aspect to their mantra, which can be beneficial if that speaks to you:

The Serenity Prayer (Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.)

Let go and let God.

I am everything He created me to be.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Many wonderful Buddhist mantras can be found online, and are often longer than just one sentence.

Something that I have personally found to be helpful is to have a mantra in your mantra arsenal that is in another language. For many, this will mean something in Sanskrit, as this beautiful ancient language is used often in yoga and meditation practices.

For me, my personal mantra is in German.

German probably isn’t the first language that pops into people’s minds when choosing a phrase to help them get through the day. For me, though, it means something personal and that’s why it works. It also happens to be a language I don’t hear every day, so it works in that it is 1) something special and 2) something unique to my inner hearing.

Mantras can be used whenever, wherever. Sure, they can be a great point of focus in a traditional meditation setting. But what about when you are in line at the grocery store and the person in front of you is digging in her purse for coupons, then once she finds them decides to pay in quarters (#TrueStory)? How about when you are going on your second hour of waiting for that super specialist who promises to rock your Chronic world if only you could actually get into a room and have your appointment already (#AgainTrueStory)?

Getting upset during these times will only make you feel worse.

What time is it?

Mantra time.

Or how about when you are exercising and you feel like awfulness, but you know if you can just hang on for one more minute, you’ll hit your stride and feel the endorphins kick in (#SoManyTrueStories)? That’s when you need something short and sweet to hold onto.

I think I can becomes I know I can, just like it did for that little blue engine.

 

I would love to know if you have a mantra, or a collection of mantras that you use to help you through the day, Chronic readers! Sometimes it feels too personal to share your specific words- no worries! I’d just love to hear about how this concept has helped you out.

Have you seen my heart?

It’s been missing since approximately Friday.

This is very unlike my heart.

My heart always wants me to know exactly where it is, pound, pound, pounding away in my chest cavity, so you see I’m a little concerned.

Did you have a fight?

No I don’t think so.

Did anything unusual happen the day before your heart went missing?

I wouldn’t say so…Oh, except I started a new beta blocker.

And this new beta blocker- do you have any reason to believe that it had something against your heart?

No! I know that previous beta blockers have really had it out for me, but this one is different! It’s non-selective you see. Whereas the ones before only blocked Beta 1 receptors, this one blocks Beta 1 and Beta 2 receptors. This new beta blocker acts in a totally different way than all the others. I have no reason not to trust it…

Yet, your heart is missing.

Well, I haven’t heard from it since last Thursday, that’s true.

There’s no evidence of foul play- no dizziness, extreme drops in blood pressure, headache or shortness of breath. Is it possible that maybe your heart just doesn’t want to talk with you right now? Maybe your heart and this beta blocker fellow are real pals now. Perhaps your heart likes hanging out with the non-selective crowd and just doesn’t have anything to say to you right now.

Golly gee whiz I sure hope that’s the case!

 

*Sigh*

It’s true. My heart, who has always had so much to say, has finally decided to shut up for <JustASecond>.

Tachycardia is a weird symptom. When it’s not so bad, say if your heart is just a few beats past “normal,” you will probably just feel slightly nervous or maybe just “off.”

When it’s really bad, it makes itself impossible to ignore.

Some ways my tachycardia has made its presence known, day in and day out for approximately 12 years:

~My heart has been known to pound so furiously that if I wore a necklace of a certain length, you could count my heartbeats by watching my jewelry tremble over my chest.

~I have had no use for a meditation soundtrack of ocean waves, because instead I have the near-constant rushing of blood through my ears to lull* me to sleep.

*Is not actually lulling or sleep inducing, but rather the opposite.

~I can tell whether or not I have been standing too long because the “volume” of the pounding increases. It gets louder until it’s all I can focus on. If I stand past the “point of no return”, it feels as if even my eyeballs are pulsing along in a pound-pound-pound pattern.

So, you know, when I very skeptically began a new medication on Thursday that promised to make that better, and I found myself sitting at the breakfast table the next day in complete internal silence, it wasn’t hard for me to come to the conclusion that my heart had gone missing.

(Truth time: When I realized it was quieter because I couldn’t hear my heart beating, I had the completely insane and irrational thought cross my mind that maybe my heart wasn’t actually beating at all. Brains are silly-haha.)

I am so hesitant to get excited.

Like really, really hesitant.

I often feel like the queen of “…and then the other shoe dropped,” which is an American expression meaning that all was going well until suddenly it wasn’t.

I have only ever been on selective beta 1 blockers. I am not going to pretend that I completely understand what that means even though I have read and reread the Wikipedia page. I just know that those suckers didn’t help, and in one very, very bad (and very, very rare) case, hurt.

I did not have high hopes for this one, and the fact that it is nonselective and blocks the beta 2 channel in addition to the beta 1 didn’t mean much to me.

But now I feel like this:

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Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalaaa

So, even if it is only good for a week or a month or a year, I’m going to be very, very excited about it.

The eerie internal quiet I am currently experiencing is what the whole taking-a-beta-blocker-treatment approach aims for. You don’t want your heart to chat you up at all hours of the day and night, reminding you of how incredibly hard it is working. The quiet means that your heart is not working so hard any more, which is a good thing. It’s not running a daily sprint anymore, pounding at full stop every moment.

Through biofeedback, mediation, and breathing techniques, I eventually figured out how to keep my heart rate from rising to ridiculous extremes when I am up and about. However, there was nothing I could do to change the start point from which my heart rate would only go up- my resting heart rate has more or less been equivalent to some people’s active heart rates for years.

But now!

Oh but now!

For 4 blissful days, my resting heart rate has been 20-25 points lower. When I exercised, my post-exertion heart rate equaled my pre-exertion heart rate of the week before.

Again:

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Lalalalalalalalalalalaaaaaaa

The only downside is that I have found that I am incredibly tired- perhaps this is what IronMan athletes feel like when they finish their grueling race: like my body has only just realized how flippin’ hard it’s been working.

I spent all day in bed on Sunday, then used heavier weights working out on Monday, and ran just a pinch faster today (Tuesday), laughing all the way because I can!

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It feels like I am pulling a fast one on my heart.

My fingers are *crossed* that things stay this way for as long as possible. I have listened to my heart jabber on for way too long. I’m enjoying the quiet!