Still Fighting The Good Fight
Figured I'd drop in to provide an update. After several rounds of SVTs and PVCs I was fitted with a heart monitor for 2 weeks. The results were lackluster.
My Cardiologist and nurse went through them page by page and noted nothing too concerning or crazy. Some times, when I pressed the button and logged my symptoms, my heart was functioning as expected/normal, while a few times in the middle of the night, they noticed it was elevated, but not alarmingly high.
I explained that almost every other night, I get woken up from a deep sleep and notice my heart start to creep up (resting at 60-65, starts climbing to 85-95). If I get up, go to bathroom and "bear down" I can get it to top off no higher than 115bpm and then it'll settle down and I'll return to sleep (sometimes within 15 mins, sometimes I'm up for hours). A few rare times, I couldn't get my heart down in time and it climbed as high as 165. Luckily, it goes down after 10-15 mins, but it's definitely uncomfortable and stressful.
Because I've "mastered" the bearing down method, I think the monitor only recorded 2 of those high spikes. I have sense had 2-3 more big spikes since removal of device (one this evening at dinner, just sitting there with my wife and then I noticed my heart racing.) I didn't have time to find a restroom to bear down, but my wife held my hand and told me to close my eyes and breathe and it stopped at about 155 before slowly going down. Ruined my appetite and put me "on-edge" for the rest of the night. It's difficult because the racing heart, tingling arm and shortness of breath causes more panic, which I think increases my heart faster. It's like my mind is battling my body and I can't control the two every time.
My Cardiologist did increase my Metoprolol from 50MG twice a day to 50 in the morning and 75 at night. This has been true for about a week now and I still get up randomly with the spikes in hesrt, but they seem less intense and go down within a min or two. I noticed my heart seems to be much quieter in evening and morning. For the past year, sitting on the couch or at my desk meant 90-105bpm and light walking meant 110-120bpm, with exercise going anywhere from 120-160bpm.
Now, I sit at about 70-85, walk at 90-100 and exercise at about 110-140. This was what I was like before my PM. Not sure how much it matters if I still mostly feel the same? I do notice after an elliptical or treadmill run, if I don't use the "cool down" feature or slowly stop and wait for a few seconds, I become dizzy when I get off machine, no matter what my pulse is at.
I check my blood pressure every few days and it's generally around 120/80, sometimes 5 high, sometimes 5 low.
I'm seeing a new vestibular therapist that is approaching things from a neck/back/chest perspective. She noted my posture is somewhat inward and hunched and wonders if my mechanical valve surgery (open heart) started effecting my posture and maybe trying to "open me up" will help? She had me stop seeing my Chiropractor as we are doing some unique neck and back stretching that could interfere with that.
Still having bad days of "foggy" vision, neck stiffness that leads to visual sensitivities making me feel sick and like my stomach is getting twisted. Still occasionally experiencing 30 seconds - 1 min of vertigo episodes that I can't replicate. Most of it feels very much neck and back related. Sitting to standing (or other way around) can sometimes help.
A recent echo shows good heart structure. EF of 52%, some minor thickening of walls and very minor leak that they said they'll keep an eye on, but nothing alarming or concerning.
My primary Cardiologist is set to move at the end of the year and I have one more visit scheduled in Nov to figure out my next steps. I've seen this person since I was about 13 after my last one retired. Might be good time for a change?
Hope all is well with everyone. Trying to keep a positive mind. Some days I struggle and worry about all of this and wonder why this all happened around the time I got the PM and other days I just remind myself that someone else has it worse off and I should be grateful to be alive and live an otherwise normal life. It's just frustrating not knowing why.
Still waiting on my Mayo Clinic referral.