I am literally near tears from the RELIEF caused by reading this thread and other's experiences. I am sorry to hear of other's struggles, but can I just say that I AM SO GLAD I AM NOT ALONE?!
I have had sharp chest pains (usually fleeting) for as far back as I can remember (about 6 years old). I remember crouching over and crying because I didn't want to tell my mom, for fear that she would call 9-1-1.
They would come and go, not very often..a few times a year maybe, until my late teens. Then I would have a couple of episodes here and there, but I KNEW that most of my experiences were directly connected with panic attacks...
Long story (semi) short, I had 3 kids, and after gaining about 75lbs after having my third (I only gained 30lbs from pregnancy, then lost 45lbs, then gained 75lbs over the course of a year and a half, confused yet?). After gaining the weight, I started to fixate on my health (I am a self-proclaimed hypochondriac), specifically my heart. Since early 2006, I have been absolutely positive that I am going to die of a heart attack. I was convinced I had advanced coronary artery disease. I was (obviously) not eating healthy (at one point, eating out 2-3x a day), for the past 2-3 years (hence, the weight gain).
Since 2006, I have had the following tests:
Several ECGs (or EKGs).
A couple of chest X-Rays.
A CT Scan of my head and chest.
An MRI of my neck and head.
An ultrasound (which I believe is the same as an echocardiogram?) of my heart.
Blood test for enzymes (when I went to the ER believing I was having a heart attack).
Cholesterol blood test (which came out at 133; I was told that was normal).
The CT scan was because, in July, I began to fixate on stroking out after noticing that the left side of my face (specifically my cheek) was 'numb'. It almost felt like it was asleep. After going to the dentist yesterday, I realized that it isn't truly numb (since I had a shot of the numbing agent from the dentist, I now KNOW what NUMB truly feels like), but the sensation in my face is similar to it. The sensation wouldn't go away in July, I was under a bit of stress (I had a 3 month old, exclusively pumping for him -which meant pumping 8-10x a day, for 20 minutes each time, and a 3, 4 and 5 year old as well). So I was convinced that I was on the verge of a stroke. I went to the ER and they did the CT scan, some other diagnostic tests that included some balance tests and strength tests and sensation testing with a Q-tip to see if I could FEEL it, even if I thought I couldn't, etc. I believe they did the CT scan of my chest as well, because I told her I was having left arm pain and have thought in the past that I was having a heart attack.
Everything came back normal. She sent me home with a prescription for Zoloft and said that my troubles were due to anxiety. I've been sent home from the ER two or three times now, with that diagnosis after having some tests done (mentioned above).
My heart ultrasound that I had done in 2007 (as well as my ECGs) all came back fine(not done in the ER, but in a doctor's office). The MRI was done because I was involved in a car accident. They did indicate that I have a portion of my cerebellum 'sagging' or 'drooping' into my spinal column, but for whatever reason, that isn't SCARING me. And the dr. said not to worry about it because I wasn't symptomatic...though I actually am, I was just too scared to tell them of my pains because of fear of them rushing me into some sort of emergency surgery or something (thinking that the symptoms: nausea -which now has gone away-, and dizziness were a sign of something wrong with my HEART). I'm a nutcase, I know.
My symptoms have included:
--Chest pains, sometimes in the front of my left chest, sometimes on my left side. Usually sharp and lasting about 1-2 minutes. Usually at rest, but sometimes during an actual full-fledged anxiety attack. Have had the sensations since childhood but have become more frequent and more 'episodic' since having children.
--Left arm -and sometimes shoulder- numbness and achey pain.
--Right shoulder sharp/achey pain on occasion.
--Sometimes collarbone pain.
--Neck pain (in the throat region, on both sides) as of late (since July-ish).
--Sometimes dull jaw pain... I do have TMJ and a partially impacted wisdom tooth that could be some of the cause for my facial numbness...so might be contributing to that?
--Back pain...kinda like a radiating pain...like indigestion but in my back...usually between shoulder blades, but sometimes just more-so on the left side.
--Dizziness (I came to know that my nana had it before she found out she had coronary artery disease and needed open heart surgery, so I've subsequently noticed it since then).
--Facial 'numbness' (though I do still have sensation...it feels between a cross of 'asleep' and 'numb'), especially on my left side, and it has come and gone, since July. It went away completely in mid-late Sept, and came back recently again (during a panic episode I noticed it was 'numb' again).
--And the usual panic attack symptoms.
I HATE THIS! A lot of my symptoms seem to present themselves while I am 'at rest' (meaning, not in the middle of a panic attack). However, I do not seem to notice them when I am distracted. They are usually present when I am sitting down, doing nothing. And then I fixate! FIXATE FIXATE FIXATE.
I have become so freakin' scared of dying and leaving my kids and dying alone. I began seeing a therapist in early August because I seriously had what seemed to be a never-ending panic attack for nearly 3 weeks (mid-to-late July). It started as a nightly thing...being 'on edge but not panic attack' during the day, and then fullblown attacks at night....then I began to see the pattern and began to really get anxious during the day, for fear of the night, and started having them during the day as well! It was CRAZY. And then they stopped. BEFORE I got to therapy, actually. And then they started up again in October, after I made a trip to Baltimore (where my S/O of 3.5 years lives), but dissipated after a week or so. The last attack I was more-so focused on my heart than on a stroke (as in my July episode).
My dad does have an enlarged heart that he takes pills for everyday (has had it since his 20s, I believe?). And he also has diabetes and high blood pressure.
I had diabetes during two of my pregnancies, but it went away after delivery. Most of the time it was very well controlled. I do not have high blood pressure. I sometimes have a high resting pulse, but then again, sometimes I have a very LOW resting pulse (like, last Oct. I was fixated more-so on heart FAILURE than heart attack, because I decided to take my pulse one morning and it was like, 45bpm...scared the CRAP outta me).
I am also obese (my highest was 268lbs right before delivery of my fourth child, in April), but I am now down to 214lbs, and am actually on a program called the 6 Week Body Makeover that I ordered off of an infomercial one morning becauseI thought that loosing the weight would help the anxiety and symptoms and worry. I started that during my October bout of anxiety attacks and have been on the plan for nearly 5 weeks now (I've lost over 20lbs so far).
My nana recently had open heart surgery (actually, it was December 28th of last year)...so that really SCARED me that it was a sign from God to ME. Everything is a 'sign'. If I see a commercial about coronary artery disease, it is a sign from God telling me that I have it and need to get it taken care of. If I see a billboard about cardiac surgery (from hospitals), it is a sign. If someone has died from a heart attack and I hear about it, it is a sign. IF I SIMPLY READ something about heart problems, it is a sign.
I also suffer from OCD, of course. So I am VERY fearful of taking ANY medications at all, for fear that it will stop my heart. When I mean ANY meds, I mean ANYthing. I cannot take anything for my anxiety (my therapist understands, but really thinks it would help if I was on meds), I struggle with my birth control meds now (never did before...I've even taken Xanax before and was FINE...but I am convinced now that ANYthing will cause a heart attack/failure). I don't even want to take a MULTI-VITAMIN. Seriously. I am so scared, that I don't even want to get put under general anesthesia for ORAL SURGERY (for a partially impacted wisdom tooth). I'd rather be awake. Seriously.
I think some of that might stem from some form of PTSD (though not formally diagnosed). I had a second-trimester miscarriage back in 2006 and had to undergo an emergency D&C...and I really do think that I had a 'near-death-experience' while I was undergoing the surgery. A lot of things didn't 'add up'....for example, my blood pressure upon awakening from the anesthetic was very very weird...very high systolic and very low diastolic. I was in immense pain, was shaking uncontrollably. And while I was in surgery, I had a very vivid dream and felt as if I was floating/flying in this bright light with my baby and went to this really beautiful place. The surgery also took an hour, whereas they said it is usually only a 10-20 minute procedure. So I dunno...it was a really scary experience for me...so I really don't want to go under again partially because of that.
I also have an anti-anxiety program from Lucinda Bassett, that I have YET to really try because I am scared it will trigger a panic attack (in one of the 'chapters' of the program, it goes through the panic symptoms, triggers, etc.)! I'm crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am rambling! I'm sorry. I am just so RELIEVED to see that if I AM crazy, that I'm not the only one and it's really just all in my head! I've always said that I'd much rather be crazy than have something REALLY seriously wrong with me (physically, that is). :deep breath:
Thank you so much for this thread (and board). I can't say thank you enough!!!!!!!!!!
Ok, you know I have to ask this....should I still be worried, after all of those tests? Can the neck/jaw/arm/shoulder pain just be all in my head? I am also a nursing student (yea...I know, I TOLD you I am CRAZY), so I know all of the signs for a heart attack (and the differing signs for women especially)...so now that I know...I mean...it's just all in my head, right? I didn't have all of those symptoms until this summer though, which is weird...because I knew of most of those symptoms for a long time before that. Why would they present themselves now? ya know?
When I got those tests done, I was SO ANXIOUS. I was convinced that something would come back seriously abnormal and I would be rushed into immediate open heart surgery. Everything has come out fine. So I would find relief, but like, then the novelty would wear off or soemthing, because then I would doubt the doctor's opinion, thinking that he/she surely missed something or just blew me off. I am ALWAYS second-guessing the test results. But I am REALLY SCARED to go to yet another doctor (ESPECIALLY a cardiologist) and have like, an MRI of my heart or something. That test REALLY scares me for whatever reason. sigh
I am 24 years old. I shouldn't be living to die! :*(
Post Edited (YaGirlC) : 12/12/2008 12:56:38 PM (GMT-7)