I’m a blogger, I like to talk things through, I like to discuss, share, talk, read, grumble, scream and giggle. I’m not good at keeping things to myself but I have been doing for a week now, but that’s not me, I need to put this out there for my own sanity, for your knowledgeable feedback…
For those of you that read my blog, you’ll know that I ended up with a nasty double pneumonia around New Year and was hospitalized in the USA (was on holiday). I’ve never been ill like that before..
To skip forward, with some great treatment in hospital things turned around quite quickly but after weeks of taking steroids, within days of stopping them my lungs began to get crackly again and I couldn’t lie down in bed. Doctor put me on a steroid inhaler and a regular inhaler with thoughts I am probably now asthmatic. She sent me back for a chest x-ray to make sure the pneumonia wasn’t returning. I felt fine apart from feeling exhausted..
With the x-ray done a few days later I began to get calls from the surgery, eventually we hooked up. My doctor had asked to see me on Monday (it was Friday) to discuss my x-ray.
Of course when you get a phone call like that your mind goes crazy.
Having a weekend to conjure up every possibility of WHY the doctor would want to see me so quickly (thanks Google, I love you and I hate you) I was kind of flat-lining (no emotions) by the time Monday came around. The best I could come up with was that maybe there was some scarring in my lungs…
DOC: “Your chest is clear, there is no pneumonia….”
ME: “Great!! I didn’t think it had returned but am relieved to hear that!”
DOC: “But… your HEART IS ENLARGED. I thought it would be nicer to talk to you face to face about it”
ME: “Oh….” (flat-line)
DOC: “Do you feel OK…?”
ME: “Yes fine… just tired”
DOC: “So we need to do another ECG on you when you have your spirometry (for Asthma) and we need to get you in to do an Echocardiogram to see what’s going on. Has anyone told you that you have an enlarged heart before…?”
ME: “No” (flat-line)
And that’s pretty much it. I should have asked tons of questions (when she asked me if I had any) but at that moment I smiled weirdly at her, looked happy like we were talking about vast quantities of chocolate truffles and flat-lined out of the surgery thinking…. WTF is an enlarged heart?
Later, after I’d woken up a bit, Google reassured me and frightened the sh*t out of me all on one page…
That’s the problem with not asking questions when the doctor asks you if you have any….you turn to Google and Google is rather clinical, practical, to-the-point and perhaps doesn’t consider the variables, the other possibilities…
So I’ve put things into perspective…
a) I feel OK, tired, a little breathless on exertion, sometimes exhausted at the end of the day but that could still be the knock on effect from the pneumonia. They say it can take months to feel 100%
b) No enlarged heart was seen on the x-ray in the hospital in America when I was admitted with pneumonia. This could mean that IF my heart is actually enlarged it most likely happened recently and probably due to the pneumonia, which is good because it’s been caught early and may well revert back!
I’ve been talking to people who’ve had pneumonia and developed an enlarged heart. Some made big lifestyle changes and reversed the enlargement, some people went further into heart failure.
MAYBE the x-ray was wrong? Maybe I was stood at an odd angle and things appeared not as they are?
MAYBE if I lose a bunch of weight over the next month while waiting for the echocardiogram and eat super healthy and sleep 10 hours every night everything will be back to normal by the time the test comes around?
MAYBE if it doesn’t I’ll be one of those people who lives to 95 with an enlarged heart, no probs! (and yes there are people who do that!)
I’m not feeling sorry for myself, if anything I am just a bit confused and determined to focus on doing everything I possibly can to reverse the situation. Just want the ECHO over and done with so I know what’s happening.(IF anything is happening that is!)
AND if everything is hunky-dory and the enlargement was temporary due to the pneumonia then actually let this be known as the universe sending me another HUGE WAKE-UP CALL and for that I will be enormously grateful.
Sending hugs hugs – weird things can happen when you’ve been ill. My situation is bizarrely similar ! I had lymes disease ( with rash and treatment) but continued to feel tired and
Increasingly breathless. Thought it was Lyme as it can take years to recover until I was rushed into hospital a week ago with bizarrely and unusually high blood pressure. I’m only just 40. They think it’s a knock
On from the Lyme – I’m not medicated waiting
For tests similar to you. Huge hugs – it knocks the wind out of your sails but the positive is if they’ve found it early there is stuff that can be done xx
Good luck and hugs to you. Pneumonia is no joke (I had it in August). I hope you find answers and heal your heart. ❤
From 1938, date of birth, to 1943, I was “fortunate ” to have pneumonia five times. doctored by the few remaining doc,s who were in London at that time. In 1948 my parents exported us all to sonny south africa. The sun dried me out, but clever me I did all that I could as a clever teen ager to knock off my lungs with fags and various chemicals from the work situation, but here I am still breathing, I must admit with possibly only half lung capacity, at the old age of 78.
I must admit that My life changed completely at age 34 when I committed my life to the Lord Jesus, and asked Him to come into my life and take over, because I could not any more. Since then I have had the usual flue”s etc. but never a major problem. So maybe that call to you from the universe was from the Creator of the universe, analyse your life and hand it over to Him and see the difference that comes about.
just a thought….the steroids could have caused it……
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Oh sweetie NOT what you need – I hope things DO settle down quickly and yes this had given me a wake up call as well (so … err …. thank you?!), time to stop flitting around the Wartime diet and stick to it!
I’m sure that all will be well Caroline. Just continue to journey to lose weight and maybe cut down on the exercise. I used to think that maybe your were doing too much when you were still carrying a lot of weight. A 30 min walk a day should be fine or less even. Remember the mind is powerful and crucial to health so think of yourself as fit and healthy. Don’t focus on a large heart..poor health..you will drive yourself mad. I wish you a quick and full return to sparkly health.
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Take it all in your stride, any concerns with your health won’t be helped by stress! Just keep as active as you’ve been, eat balanced, again as you have and wait for the test. Whatever you do the test will show a result one way or another so ya just gotta take it, learn from it and help it. Easier said than done I know (I’ve recently had potentially serious health concerns) but take it all step by step. Xxx
Look into the diet from the documentary “Forks Over Knives”. Reverses many problems and is really good for the heart, people also lose a ton of weight.
So sorry to hear this. It looks like they have caught it early (always half the battle!) There are tons of treatments and the rations diet is one of the healthiest. I try not to give advice, but you may want to take a friend or family member who can drive with you so that you don’t drive under stressing conditions. I will be praying and sending good thoughts!
Oh Carolyn. I’m sorry for this news. I will pray for you, send healing vibes and strength. You’re amazing, inspiring, and tough, and you will kick this heart back in shape. Continue on your path of healthy diet and exercise and you’ll do it and we’ll all be here cheering you along the way!
Best to you!
Worrying about what could be wrong, isn’t going to make it any better, it will probably make it worse. I agree with Janet above (or below) it could be the steroids. Check your meds (all of them – including any homeopathic ones) for any contraindications.
Tell HR/boss at work (they need to know if you may have any physical limitations, and you may find that it is a requirement in your contract).
Keep cooking, make adjustments and carry on enjoying life.
I read a post recently that had two people side by side, one said to the other ” Someday it will be our last day on earth!” the other said “And, for all the others, we will be alive” follow the second person!!
PS Start making a list of questions you need to ask the doctor(s) It is quite usual to have the blank brain syndrome when being asked “have you any questions?”, especially when you have been knocked for 6 with something like this.
Good luck, and thinking of you.
I find that I like to over-research a medical problem, usually it makes my doctor crazy. But it does help come up with questions to ask and to foresee a plan. Learn what you can, learn about treatments and anything that suits your currently lifestyle choices. For me, I like to turn to teas and herbs but that may not be you. Once you get the tests, then you can sit down with your doctor and talk about your future. You’ll be less apt to feel like a deer caught in headlights. Meanwhile, trust that you will be okay. Positive thinking does more for your health than anything. Good luck.
I’m so sorry you are going through this. Sending huge hugs and positive vibes your way. Medical science can do wonderful things these days. You have made the right decision to view this as a wake up call. So many people fail to change. Good luck, Sweetie and best wishes.
Hugs, I am an asthmatic, use your inhalers as prescribed. The inhaled steroids are in micro doses as compared to taking the prednisone tablets (less side effects). Also if you have had pneumonia it may take months for the excess mucus your lungs are producing to settle down; another reason to use your inhalers (dilating the airways). I’m surprised you have not been prescribed guaifenesin to thin the mucus in your lungs so you can clear them when you cough (helps asthma and post pneumonia). Struggling to breathe will makes the heart work harder and that causes the heart to enlarge.
Final note, my mother had an enlarged heart from excessively high blood pressure that took forever for them to get under-control. She developed it in her late thirties-early forties and lived another 40 years and her cause of death was not related to her enlarged heart.
You can get well, take your time and ask tons of questions. Hugs!
P.S. If you are having trouble breathing, you will be exhausted, because your heart is working over-time trying to get oxygen to the rest of your body.
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While you’re waiting, watch this: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/book-trailer-for-how-not-to-die/ Gave the book to my father (who is in heart failure) and is feeling much better because of it.
My mother lived to 87 with an enlarged heart and that’s not what took her. So don’t worry too much, that’s not good for your health anyroad. Take care
Hi Caroline, so sorry to hear of your recent health scare. I know it’s not the same but just over a year ago, I woke to the most intense pain I’d ever experienced caused by gallstones and a very unhappy gallbladder. It was the wake up call I needed. Determined to keep my gallbladder and improve my health, I literally changed my lifestyle overnight. To cut a long story short, after a horrible start to 2015, there was and continues to be a very positive silver lining!
Wishing you all the best for a speedy recovery back to health.
Sending good thoughts your way. Wishing the best for you and hope you overcome this obstacle soon.
Just catching up. Sorry C, the house move and legal stuff relating to me abusive ex is making it hard to keep up with everything.. Massive hugs lovely..My health is dire to atm…constant chest problems and terrible anxiety, fatigue and depression…. and yes I know we are getting older but we are not THAT old.. I am not ready to be ‘taking it easy’ yet.. and I don’t want to take depression/ anxiety meds..Hope the echo comes back with good news..I am sure it will…. Love you! N and H xxxxx
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Am sure it will be too. Just want it over and done with! Look after yourself N… with all you’ve been through and feeling so run down to boot, that’s when things hit you out of nowhere! Take care and thanks for your message. Love to you both… xxxxxxx hugs – C xxx
Hugs and all good thoughts coming your way! Do make a list of questions for the doctor, as we tend to get flustered and forget important things to ask…….my doctor seems to appreciate my list of question!) All best wishes, my friend. I’m sure all will be well.
Just wanted to say, my partner has an enlarged heart and his g.p has said she’s not concerned about it. He has certainly not had any treatment for it. And to be fair to his g.p they are usually quite vigilant about anything concerning his health as he has a dreadful medical history. So, try not to worry too much.
P.s I love your blog, I am sat here cooking your potato and lentil curry for tea as I type. 🙂