"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Phillippians 4:13
We all struggle with battles and sometimes life brings them to us all at once but I am a believer in the knowledge that He will not give us more than what we can handle. With February being heart month, I thought I would share my journey with heart disease. My journey started for me when I was a baby. I was born with a heart murmur, which isn't very uncommon for premature babies. It was managed growing up and the symptoms began to be far and few until three years ago. I was living in Arkansas when my doctor wanted me to get an Echo done for the murmur he could hear in my routine check up and for the problems I had been having with feeling tired, dizzy, having chest pains, and having a hard time catching my breath at any extreme movement. This was scary for me but I knew that no matter the outcome, I would be in His hands. My sweet friend Tyler went with me to the Echo and it was so good just knowing she was out there in the waiting room waiting on me. Tyler is another amazing way that God works. She has become a very important person in my life and our friendship is one that is kinda unbelievable when you really think about it but I'll save that story for another blog entry.....
My Echo results wouldn't be back for another week, so in the mean time, Doc advised me to get as much rest as possible and to try and not get stressed out. Not get stressed out? hhmm..... again, I knew God would be with me no matter what, even if stress were to enter my life, which it did.....
For the first few months I was vague about my heart problems and that was more because I wasn't fully understanding what was going on with my own heart to really answer questions. Once I got my results in and had a chance to study up on my diagnosis, I was able to face this battle head on! I had a full understanding of what was going and since then I have had to work hard on maintaining some awesome heart health!
So, what I have is Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) and regurgitation. MVP is a heart disease that when the valve is closed, the leaflets bulge abnormally up, into the atrium. Sometimes mitral valve prolapse causes mitral valve regurgitation. If the prolapse is severe, the valve leaflets can become disconnected from tendons that stretch between the leaflets and the heart muscle. This can cause the valve to malfunction. The regurgitation is when the valve doesn't close completely and allows blood to leak back.
The MVP was the reason for my dizziness, fainting, lack of energy, heart palpitations, and anxiety.
This is a condition I will have for the rest of my life and I don't mind putting this information about myself out there because I want to be an ambassador for this type of heart disease. I want to get better and do all that I can to stay heart healthy. I know with God on my side that I can and WILL live a "normal" life. It was a slight change in lifestyle but nothing that I couldn't handle and nothing that isn't good for me to do any way! I can't play singles tennis, no biggie, I sucked at tennis any way. I have to give up caffeine, oh well, needed to do that any way. I MIGHT not be able to run that marathon that I wanted to run but that's ok. I can't drink alcohol, oh well, I'm not a big drinker any way. I'll have to see my heart specialist every three months for the rest of my life, that's ok, he's a nice guy. I try to stay as positive as possible when it comes to my heart but the reality is, one day, I will have to make a decision to have open heart surgery and that's ok, I know God will always be near me.
Have I been nervous throughout this journey? Absolutely....... but God always finds a way to ease my worries. Anything that has to do with the heart can be a scary feeling but I have my faith and I hope that I can be an example to others who go through ANY kind of heart condition. It's not the end of the world and in time I will feel better and live better. Sure, I might always experience symptoms but at least I know how to live with it better. I was excited to start this new chapter in life and to learn how to live with this condition. Knowledge is POWER and I encourage anybody who has even the slightest bit of heart issues, get checked out! No problem is too small when it comes to the heart!!!!