It’s been a rough couple of weeks.
More like a month or more.
I have headaches. Serious headaches. Migraines. Tension. Cluster. I have them all. Sometimes separate, sometimes together. Sometimes they last minutes. Or hours. Or days. Or weeks. In the past, months. I’ve tried sleeping more, eating more, hydrating more, stressing less, oiling myself up (DoTerra’s peppermint, deep blue and past tense have been my favorite), taking Tylenol, rubbing down in magnesium oil. I am now at the level of needing a narcotic for pain.
So, imagine my surprise when, after taking a narcotic last night, jumping up from my sleep in pain. For the past few days, I’ve had chest pain. Yesterday, it was in my back. The pain was so bad I couldn’t put my down. I begin to have what I can only describe as “waves” of pain that made my body feel like I was doing a uncontrollable body roll on my left side. I have seizures too that usually start with headaches. And I am pre-menopausal so I have night sweats too. All of this is going on at once. I felt my husband out his hand on my shoulder and I thought, “This cannot be happening.” I could answer him but I had no control over my body. I asked him to turn on his phone and look up the symptoms for a heart attack.
Was I having a heart attack?
As he turned his phone on, the fear settled in. Heart disease runs in my family. My father has had a stroke and triple bypass. My mother has high blood pressure. My grandmother has had at least two strokes and two heart attacks. But I’m “healthy.” I just ran three miles and taught two yoga classes. The day before, I taught Piloxing and Zumba. Over the weekend, I had done several hours of yoga, taught dance and ran close to 4.5 miles.
My pain wasn’t “that” bad, was it? I’ve been to the hospital before with chest pains and it turned out to be nothing. I’m just stressed. I’m not going to get my kids up in the middle of the night for nothing.
“The pain can radiate through the back. And neck pain.”
I just need a massage. And I have arthritis in my neck.
“Tired more easily.”
I just work too much.
I am going through menopause and have low iron. Hello?!?!”
“Jaw pain, pain radiating through the arm….”
I don’t have that. I’ll call the doctor tomorrow. I’m going to bed. I have to work in the morning.
And because I just did a class on heart health two weeks ago and gave all if these statistics, I know that although men are more genetically predisposed to heart attacks, a woman is more likely to die from one. Not just because our symptoms are different but because we are more likely to ignore our symptoms. We have “things to do.”
Do you know that heart disease kills more people that AIDS and all the cancers COMBINED? And that it doesn’t just happen to “old, sick, obese people?” Other risk factors include family history post-menopausal, smoking, high cholesterol, uncontrolled diabetes, physical inactivity, and my MAJOR risk factor: STRESS.
According to statistics found on TheHeartFoundation.com, someone in the a United States dies from heart disease every 33 seconds. One half of the victims of sudden cardiac death are under the age of 65. Under the age if 50, women’s heart attacks are twice as likely as men’s to be fatal. 435,0000 American women have heart attacks annually, 83,000 are under age 65, 35,000 are under 55. 42% of women who have heart attacks die within 1 year compared to 24% of men.
I have spent my life defying statistics. This is no exception. I won’t stand by and “hope” nothing happens to me. I’d rather get my kids out of bed to sit with me in the ER and have them be late for school than miss a week because I’m dead.
Although heart health awareness month is coming to an end, please ALWAYS stay aware of what’s going on with your body and respond with urgency. It’s ok to find out it was “nothing” but you can’t backtrack ignoring something that turns out to be fatal.
Have you ever seen a cardiologist? Do you know your risk factors? What step can you take this week on something you’ve been “ignoring,” heart related or not!