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Today is my last day on the CardioNet monitor, and I just had my follow up appointment with my doctor to go over the results of the monitoring.
I finally have a concrete diagnosis and an answer to what is causing my symptoms.
The valvular heart disease is not a factor when it comes to my symptoms. It is there, it exists – but it’s not causing the symptoms or putting me at any sort of risk as this time. I’m still shocked by this. With how bad my symptoms have gotten, I was waiting for the doctor to tell me that the valve needed to come out!

What I have is a problem with super-ventricular tachycardia, or SVT. I have been diagnosed with having “inappropriate sinus tachycardia”

The great news is my heart valve is staying put for the time being. It’s leaky, but it’s stable!

The best news – there’s absolutely no problem with me skydiving, I just have to keep an eye on symptoms. 🙂 This girl is cleared for takeoff!! 🙂

Now the bad news. There are three options for someone with my condition.

Option #1) do nothing. Live with the symptoms and try to tolerate it. Well that sounds like a bad option – I get short of breath just doing laundry, I wake up at night not being able to breathe, and I miss running!

Option #2) High doses of blood pressure meds to slow the heart rate and help eliminate the tachycardia, therefore lessening severity of symptoms. Problem with this option – my blood pressure is on the low-normal end. High doses of blood pressure meds would cause other symptoms for me – such as extreme fatigue, dizziness, and the possibility of fainting. I’m not to keen on the idea of taking medication that puts me at risk of hitting the floor every time I stand up too fast. I’m also not keen on taking medication that’s going to out me at risk of blacking out and fainting, considering that I skydive in my free time. Fainting in free fall would be bad.

Option #3) Catheter Ablation surgery. Now this perked my interest – minimally invasive surgery that can eliminate my issue altogether? Tell me more! And here’s where the bad news comes in. The surgery consists of a three hour long procedure where they basically locate the cells in your heart, within the sinus node, that are misfiring and causing inappropriate tachycardia – and they kill those cells so that they no longer function. However, the surgery only has a 50% success rate. Meaning 50 % of patients wake up and are symptom free, while the other 50% see no results. And worse, you run a 30% risk of having too many cells killed and the sinus node damaged, and then you wake up with a pacemaker.
I’m only 27 years old – i don’t want to have to deal with a pacemaker!!

So I’ve got a lot of research to do and a decision to make.

I’m sick of being sick. I just want to feel healthy and normal. It’s frustrating not having an easy solution to the problem.
That’s life though. And although it’s exhausting and sometimes discouraging feeling sick, being short of breath, and not being able to always keep up with everyone else – living with this has made me stronger and made me who I am. It has driven me to live life passionately, it has given me courage and hopefully my story has helped inspire others.

So although it’d be nice to be “normal”, I wouldn’t change a minute of my life as it is – heart condition and all. 🙂

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