I had several errands to run two Fridays ago. Mom had a morning medical appointment and I had one in the afternoon.
I had not seen a Cardiologist in more than 14 years. This visit was way past due considering I had a corrective procedure done back in 1995. The procedure, a radio frequency ablation, was to fix something in my heart which caused frequent atrial fibrillation. It was something I was born with and had a fancy name meaning my heart would occasionally and unexpectedly start to rapidly flutter. Normally it would happen during strenuous activities. Luckily, I never passed out or fainted from it and discovered it was a mild form of the condition.
After the 1995 procedure, things were pretty much back to normal. Every once in a while, I’d feel an occasional murmur or fluttery-bounce but otherwise all was good. I had EKGs done once a year as part of my annual physical and did so until 2006. That’s the year I moved to Georgia and started a new life and a new job with the Courier. I covered high school sports for nine years, attending every home game for every sport at Bradwell Institute, Liberty County High and FPCA. I also covered community events and whatever else came our way in the newsroom.
I was busy and active.
In the summer of 2010, I showed an event flyer to our former Web Editor, Pat Watkins. It was for a week-long boot camp for the Savannah Derby Devils roller derby team. I covered the event and did a few stories and videos. I also got completely hooked on the sport. I eventually made the B-Team and then the All-Star Team. More importantly, without a thought about diet or exercise, the sport helped me drop a whopping 55 pounds in three months. I never felt a heart murmur, not one flutter. Outside of high school and my 20s and early 30s I was in the best shape of my life.
Toward the end of 2015 injuries sidelined my skating which then transitioned into coaching the team until 2018. It was in June 2018 when the owner of the newspaper promoted me as the General Manager for the Courier and Bryan County News. I think 2018 was also the last time I laced up my Riedell quad rollers. Then toward the end of 2019, Dad’s health and my parents’ need of a caregiver abruptly uprooted me from Georgia to Tennessee. As I’ve mentioned before, Dad died in February of this year and within days of his passing COVID closed the world. I know I’m not the only person going through or that has been through an emotional rollercoaster during trying times. But my coping mechanism has been to cook a lot for Mom and I then of course eat a lot. Being home-bound for work means a lot more sitting in front of a computer and a lot less running out the door for photos or breaking news…A LOT LESS!
Needless to say, all that wonderful derby weight I had lost has crept back AND THEN SOME thanks to COVID (Yes, I’m blaming the virus for my belly. Deal with it).
It took a while, but I finally found a primary care physician, I requested a referral to a Cardiologist to see how the weight gain and recently diagnosed high blood pressure was affecting my heart. My PCP did a quick EKG which looked normal. She listened to my heart and heard a flutter and murmur and agreed I should start getting my heart checked out routinely again.
At the Cardiologist’s office, which was in the same hospital building where my Dad had his surgery and recovery time, they did more testing and another EKG. Doc said EKG looked good and on my next visit we would do an ultrasound to get a baseline.
I told him upfront that I knew I need to (get of my backside) lose weight and he agreed. He said my murmur and current flutter could be due to a variety of reasons including being overweight and that high blood pressure can also harm heart tissue.
It’s time to go from oh woe is me, to hey look at me!
Time to excel instead of merely functioning from day to day. Time to flip the switch again. Once home I went into the basement where I still had a few boxes from the move. I found my derby gear!
Skate park here I come! On my way to #100poundsdown.
P.S. I spent 90 minutes with the Cardiologist. Most of that time was just waiting alone in the room. Thank goodness I brought a book (Braving the Wilderness by Brene’ Brown). After I left, I went and early voted in-person. That took only 45 minutes.
Make sure you are taking some time for yourself during these trouble days. You are all worth it!