Tuesday, January 30, 2007

it has been a while

i can't believe it has been a month since i last posted in here ... my last sonogram turned out okay ... thank goodness!

i've been exercising almost everyday since the start of this year - doing my best to stay active ... it definitely lessens the palpitations and so far, no dizziness, no numbness on my limbs ... but the strain from my daily work-out contributes to my chest pains ... maybe it's just a matter of dealing with the lesser evil ... just the same, i'll be seeing another bone doctor in a few weeks ... i would probably have to go through the standard x-ray (minus the harassment, i hope
) ...

anyway, here's an interesting link about panic disorder - one of the symptoms of MVP.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

video on mvp

ed from the mitral valve prolapse yahoo group has posted this link for a video on mvp ... it's actually very informative and gives a good explanation on this condition -

totally unrelated to the video - i've been doing okay right now ... the pain on my neck is gone and i sure hope it won't go back - ever ... i had an appointment with a breast surgeon who asked me to have another sonogram ... i've yet to get the results but the surgeon did say that he thinks it's benign ...

keeping my fingers crossed - as always ...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

back to square one

i'm feeling under the weather yet again ... for almost 3 weeks now ... it all started with some swollen lymph nodes on the left side of my neck ... it triggered on-and-off shooting pains ... the pains don't last long ... but they were painful enough to make me stop and wince every time ....

i decided to go back to my endocrinologist ... i was subjected to several blood tests - to check for any infection and to check my tsh levels as well ... it was funny because i first complained about painful and swollen lymph nodes as early as september - to two different doctors ... i was never told to have any blood test ... i felt a sigh of relief when everything came back normal ... my endocrinologist told me that it might just be a viral infection ... so i have to sort of, ride it out since there's really no medicine for it ... but he also decided to give me some anti-inflammatory drugs ...

and then early last week, my chest pains came back .... and i have a mass somewhere in my chest ... not knowing what kind of doctor to see, i decided to go to a general practitioner last friday ... i was looking for some medical explanation and maybe, some ounce of comfort ... but what i got instead was a lecture - on my inability to speak great Chinese .... i was scolded in Chinese ... but i understood ... i was told that this country is not US and it's not the Philippines ... that when he goes to the Philippines, he's kinda expected to learn the language ... i told him - "no, because in the Philippines, we can speak english" ...

but i'm digressing ...

the "lecturer" made me take an EKG ... everything normal ... i showed him the mass ... i was referred to a surgeon ... when i walked out of the GP's office, i vowed never to consult that him again ...

and so, the search for an answer continues with a surgeon appointment tomorrow ...

until yesterday, i was borderding on hopelessness, depression, frustration and anger ... this is one heck of a roller-coaster ride - and i'm definitely not enjoying it ... but earlier today, while walking around the park, i decided to gain a new perspective ... and thankfully, i did ... it was more of acceptance ... i'll do my best to find out if there's anything wrong ... if i really can't, then that's that.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

my trip down the doctor lane

ooohhh, it's been a while huh ... does that mean that i've been perfectly ok? yes and no. just like everybody else, i've had my good and my bad days ... but i'm getting by and that's what matters ...

what i would like to share right now is about my trip down the doctor lane ... i know, i know ... it's corny ... but it is my way of pointing out - i've seen a lot of doctors. it became like a hobby and it's a common problem among mvp patients - the doctor-hopping. mvp symptoms can be sooo varied so patients tend to go from one specialist to another.

before i write details and more details, i need to point out that one of my main hurdles in dealing with mvp *and with my health in general* is finding the right doctor for me in taipei. with the kind of symptoms that i get, with my being a foreigner *add to that fact is i'm from a third-world country*, with my gender - last time i checked, i am a female : ) ... i'm usually tagged as an anxious person.

sure, i'm away from home. i don't have a family here. i get stressed at work ... but what some doctors don't understand is that i become anxious after i get symptoms. if i don't feel anything weird in my body, i am perfectly calm.

and now, after more than a year of dealing with seemingly totally unrelated symptoms, i still don't have my "standard physician" but i'm sure no one can blame me for not trying ...

(1) gastroenterologist -> i was having abdominal pains near my navel, i had an endoscopy ... all clear

(2) general practitioners
-> i was having chest bone painsss and some areas of my chest bone seem to be protruding, i was just asked if my work requires heavy lifting and if i had any trauma around that area ... negative for both so i was given some medicines to take care of the pain
-> i was having fever on and off, diagnosed with a viral infection ... i was given a medicine for allergies
-> i was having difficulty breathing ... i was given an anti-anxiety medicine

(3) annual check-up
abdominal sonogram
- intermittent abdominal pains ... all clear
breast sonogram - for my breast pains ... they are fibrocystic
brain CT scan - for my headaches, my brain is ok, still curly ... all clear
carotid artery scan - for my chest pains ... all clear
echocardiogram - for my chest pains ... yup, positive, i have mvp but it's trivial

(4) ob-gyne - intermittent lower abdominal pains ... i had an IV sonogram ... polycystic ovaries ...

(5) breast surgeon -> to rule out any breast issue since i've been having problems around the chest area ... all clear

(6) endocrinologist -> my thyroid is prominent, i had a thyroid sonogram and a blood test ... chronic thyroid inflammation and had to stay away from iodine ...

(7) orthopedic surgeon -> intermittent chest pains, i got two rounds of x-ray ... no lesions ... all clear

(8) ENT - i have a prominent lymph node around the neck area, i had a fibroscopy ... no problem with my ear, my nose, my throat ... all clear

(9) dentist - prominent lymph node, to rule out any teeth infection .. all clear

(10) opthalmologist - double-vision, headache ... just need prescription glasses ...

need i say more?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

on borrowed time

one thing i've learned about mvp/mvps is that it's not life threatening but it's definitely life/lifestyle altering. personally, i need to change a number of things about what i eat - less sugar, no caffeine, more fluids, way lesser salt, lesser fat, less alcohol ... my activities - no heavy lifting, need to exercise lightly but need to exercise more *i'm not very good at exercising*,less stress and i'm not sure if it's still ok for me to ride a roller coaster *i love roller coasters* etc etc

despite that, i still feel lucky that my symptoms are - to quote the cardiologist who recently checked my condition - "trivial." i get the worst symptoms only at night ... usually at sleeping time. i never reached the point where i'm afraid of sleeping although i did become afraid of sleeping early - because i don't want to wake up in the middle of the night with palpitations. palpitations are not fun but if i were to choose, i'd rather have them when i'm wide awake ...

to some people with mvp, though, the symptoms can just be too life altering ... and i found a great advice shared in the mitral valve prolapse yahoo group that might help ... it was given by tom b, who is a paramedic ...

" i have come to realize that every day is a gift, ripe with opportunities to love those around me that I care about. if I die tomorrow, i want to make sure I made the best of today. the truth is, none of us is really in control. take sensible precautions, and try to do the right thing, but also realize that we are all living on borrowed time ...

what matters is how we live. each and every day. it's at least remotely possible that you can transform your health anxiety into a new appreciation for the miracle of life, and realize that although it is temporary, we have been blessed with the ultimate opportunity. then maybe when you feel your heart rolling, jerking, and skipping, you can feel incredibly happy that you have this reminder that life is temporary and you have been granted one more day. don't let it ruin your life ..."

amen to that.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

i'm fine and dandy

personally, one of the things that i find difficult in dealing with mvp is the inconsistency. one day, i feel fine - full of energy ... and then i feel downright shitty the next day ... sometimes, we're not even talking of days but hours ... i would be okay in the morning and then sometime in the afternoon, i would start getting woozy. it can be frustrating ... very frustrating.

but whenever people ask me how i am, i have a "standard" answer - "i'm fine and dandy - as always :)" - even when i feel so under the weather. don't get me wrong, i'm not trying to fool anyone. i'm also not telling a lie. believe it or not, i actually meant that answer. i am struggling but i am also doing my best to cope - by being positive.

and so i tell myself while i tell somebody else - i am fine, i am dandy and i will always be ...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

hi, i'm anne and i have mvp

i've been diagnosed with this condition (via an echocardiogram http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/echocardiogram/HB00012) about 2 years ago during a routine physical examination. the health report from the hospital indicated that i have mitral valve prolapse. it sounded so big and so alien to me at that time - well, it still sounds big to me ... but thankfully, it doesn't sound that alien anymore :).

2 years ago, i knew so little about mvp. there was really no need to know anything else because i wasn't having any symptoms. what i do know was it's just some backflow in one of my heart's valve and it was something i need not worry about. that's it. end of story. and then middle of last year, a few months after i started living alone here in taipei, the need to know more - to know a lot, actually - presented itself ...

segue - i learned from lyn frederickson's "confronting mitral valve prolapse syndrome" (very informative ... IMHO, a must-read for people suffering from MVP) that "symptoms are biochemically triggered ... patients report a precipitating event" (pg. 28). it can be an illness, a stressful event ... and for me, i think it was that living alone which triggered it. i know i'm not built to live by myself. i need to be with somebody, with someone ... but i wanted to challenge myself ... i was actually successful - lived alone for almost a year - but not without a price.

it all started with difficulty breathing and then the inability to breathe deeply. a check-up and a chest xray ruled out any respiratory problem. maybe it was the altitude ... my apartment at that time was on the 6th floor - *ang taas nyan, grabe! -> i'm being sarcastic nu :P*. there were depressions and emotional breakdowns. it is true that i was having some relationship issues that time; but that definitely doesn't explain why one night i just found myself sprawled on the floor of my apartment, bawling my heart out - and that happened on more than one occasion.

one of the scariest experience i had prompted me to haul my ass to the emergency room at around 1130pm - it began with some difficulty breathing then palpitations then wooziness and then the numbness and tingling sensation on my left arm and then the shaking. i was thinking - "i'm too young to have heart a attack!" (not that it's unheard of -> http://www.c-r-y.org.uk/heart_attack_young_healthy_people.htm. i grabbed my keys, my money, my cellphone, my health card. at the ER, my temperature, blood pressure and oxygen level were checked. the doctor asked me what was wrong and was later told - "don't worry". he prescribed xanax (an anti-anxiety drug, http://psyweb.com/Drughtm/jsp/xanax.jsp) to soothe me. i was back at home before 1230 midnight.

and then there were other manifestations - chest pain, nausea, palpitations which wake me up at night, fatigue, pain in my arms and legs and the list goes on ...