I'm very sorry that you're having to deal with all of this stuff. Given all the symptoms you mentioned, it's understandable that you're scared. But, I'd like to offer you some suggestions...and, some hope.
My most recent bout with illness started over four years ago. Since that time, I've had ALL the symptoms you mentioned -- and, like many people here, even more.
I've had extreme fatigue this entire time and still do. But, sometimes, even though I didn't think it was possible, I felt even MORE tired. "Heavy," like you mentioned. My pulse would be slow and weak. I felt as if my heart might just stop at any moment.
This happened a few times, while driving. One of those times, fortunately, my girlfriend was riding with me. I say fortunately, only because I was terrified and was thankful to have someone with me. In addition to feeling heavy, my pulse felt weak and I felt a bit faint/dizzy. Then, as I paid more mental attention to it and started to worry, of course, by pulse skyrocketed and my breathing followed.
I managed to hold myself together long enough to into a parking lot of a strip mall that had a juice bar. I thought perhaps I needed something sugary, in order to help spike my blood sugar. My wonderfully patient and understanding girlfriend went to get me a juice, while I reclined my seat a bit, closed my eyes, and tried to calm my breathing and talk myself down from the anxiety.
In the next parking lot over was a pharmacy. Next to that, an Urgent Care center. Bingo. Of course, I made a beeline for the clinic. I mentioned what was going-on and that I felt pressure in my chest. That won me an immediate EKG. The results were astonishingly...unremarkable. Totally normal. Even worse, everything looked great.
Normally, a diagnosis of "Normal" or "Great" would be...well, great. But, if you've been down the path I have -- and, I suspect you have -- you're probably tired of hearing your "Normal" when you feel everything BUT normal.
And, so it went.
Month-after-month, year-after-year, I was going to Urgent Care clinics and Emergency Rooms -- twice, by ambulance. Nights, weekends, and even having to leave work to go. After a few times of telling my boss and colleagues, I knew they had to think I was either faking it or crazy. I have the credit card receipts to prove the visits and I eventually started to wonder if maybe I was crazy.
Eventually, I saw not one Cardiologist, but two. I had full cardiac workups and received a result of...you guessed it, "Normal." In addition to the two in-clinic cardiac workups, I also had one overnight admission to the hospital, one in-home cardiac monitoring device I wore for 24 hours, and, of course, all the EKGs that I had during my trips to the Urgent Care clinics and the Emergency Rooms.
As if that wasn't enough, I also requested a Carotid Intima-Media Thickness (CIMT) test, to check my carotid arteries for atherosclerosis. Luckily, my Doctor's office had the equipment to perform the test. Want to guess the result? If you said "Normal," you would be correct.
So, at that point, I knew everything was okay and I could stop worrying. Only, I couldn't.
No, I wouldn't feel confident, until I had a Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) score to check for atherosclerosis, by using a CT scanner to measure the amount of calcium, if any, in the walls of the arteries that feed my heart. So, I went to a local imaging clinic and shelled-out about
$90 to have the test. A score of zero means no identifiable atherosclerotic plaque. My score? Zero, thankfully.
That was finally the point (for real) that I concluded that my heart and arteries were fine.
Did the episodes continue? Yes.
But, because I had stacks of verifiable test results that my heart, coronary arteries, and carotid arteries were fine, I no longer felt the need to go to the Urgent Care clinic or Emergency Room. I took things easy, did whatever I could to reduce any stress, was gentle with myself, and, eventually, the episodes passed.
Did this happen overnight? No.
For a while, I would drive to an Urgent Care clinic or Emergency Room and just sit in my car in the parking lot. I gave myself permission to go in, if needed. But, in that moment, it wasn't necessary, so I would check again in the next moment. I was still doing okay, so I gave it another moment. Before long, I was feeling better and drove home.
So, after that long-winded story, my advice is to do whatever you can to get yourself checked-out to the level that gives you comfort and peace of mind. It doesn't need to be to the level of obsessiveness that I required. But, if that's what it takes for you, that's perfectly fine, too. This is about
Otherwise, treat yourself well, get plenty of sleep/rest, eat as well as you can, and consider getting checked for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I don't think that serum (blood) tests are the best. Rather, you need to know what's the status inside your cells.
Finally, as of this writing, it's probably been a year, since I've felt the need to see a Doctor with concerns about
my heart. My heart-related symptoms (and, associated fears/anxiety) have improved greatly. My POTS symptoms are rare and usually only affect me when bending forward for an extended period of time. I had a minor episode today, in fact, as I was in the yard picking-up trash that a bear had pulled from my garbage can. But, I sat for a bit and it got a little better. An hour or so later, I was back to "normal." I still have other joint/muscle aches and pains that come-and-go. Some vision stuff, some neurological stuff. But, over time, it seems to slowly be getting better. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Slow and steady wins the race.
I hope this helps. Moreover, I wish you the best and hope you find what's needed for peace and healing.
"I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead."
― Mark Twain
Post Edited (The Dude Abides) : 12/17/2017 12:41:08 PM (GMT-7)