I will be turning 27 in November and this has probably been the most stressful time in my life. Since I was 21 I started experiencing panic attacks a couple of times a week. It was normal to go to the ER and have them send me home with an Rx of ativan or something to the equivalent. I was hoping with the aid of the Zoloft along with the ativan, I would be able to manage my symptoms. The biggest problem for me was the fact that I felt as though my throat was closing and had trouble swallowing, which lead to me hyperventilating and feeling lighthead. Things have only gotten worse since then. The panic attacks are occuring alomost every day and I am also dealing with a touch of hypochondria. Last January I was walking out of a store with a friend and I just fell over. I remember having tunnel vision and then going down. Once I made it home I was very lightheaded and walking around like a drunk person for a couple of weeks. My general practioner diagnosed me with vertigo. Meclazine didn't help. I was advised to discontinue use of the zoloft. The ativan at least helped my panicking, which at that point... was non-stop. I kept thinking that something else was wrong and eventually I started to feel better. 4 1/2 months later I was walking through Dodger stadium and it hit me again. I didn't fall over this time, but I was totally lightheaded and felt like I was going to pass out. My doctor said the vertigo had returned due to a viral infection...? Btw, I rarely get sick. After two weeks of feeling like complete crap, my arms started getting real pumpy and tight and I rushed my butt to the ER. The doc there ran a bunch of tests including and EKG and checked for anemia, and also b12 deficiency because I am vegan. Everything was cleared A OK. He agreed with me on vertigo not being the culprit for my strange symptoms. He then referred me to a cardiologist. I have been to the doctor about 20 times since jan. 2010 and every doc that I see says I need to adjust my meds. Gee, thanks. So I was expecting the same response when I met my cardiologist. This was the first time that my symptoms were not brushed off as anxiety. He ordered an echo bubble iv, which showed that the septum was in fact not closed and allowed the bubbles to pass from the right to the left atrium. Not good! As a child I suffered from migranes but was told they were sinus related. So now I have to do the TEE and I am scared to death, literally. My neurosis is getting the best of me and I can't get over the fact that I have to numb my throat, which as I previously stated has been at the root of my attacks. How scary is the test? Can you skip the numbing part? If the hole is too big I feel having the PFO closure is a better option than being on
medication. Any thoughts on that? Hope someone can relate and/or share with me.