2013 was a year whereby my thoughts were directed to matters of the heart. I actually mean the human heart in the literal sense!
You see, last February after a lengthy period of uncertainty and questioning my teenage daughter was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT). She must have begun to doubt herself after years of complaining about a problem with her heart only to have every EKG turn up clear while doctors and parents consider anxiety as the culprit. Let’s be honest I’m sure she felt vindicated when we had answers! The diagnosis came when her SVT episodes began coming one after the other, sometimes multiple times in a day. She complained more and I in turned pushed harder with the doctor. Finally we got referred to a pediatric cardiologist. The cardiologist did something that changed her life, he put her on a heart monitor and 3 days later we had answers and relief! Relief because SVT is not life threatening, episodes are treatable and the condition is manageable with medication for those who suffer frequent episodes like my daughter.
As we consulted the cardiologist following a severe episode of SVT which ended in an emergency room visit requiring an adenosine treatment, we learned of a procedure called a Radiofrequency Cathetar Ablation. This medical procedure finds the abnormal electrical pathways in the heart and destroys them. The thought of the procedure was terrifying to my daughter yet she took the pamphlet home and kept it. Months later as we prepared for her cardiology check in, she approached me and let me know she had changed her mind and would like to have the procedure after all.
On November 21st 2013 we rose up early in the morning and headed to Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) in New Hampshire for the procedure. I walked my girl into the operating room, held her hand while she went under and was given a pager. The procedure is considered relatively low risk with high odds of success yet that did little for my nerves knowing she would be under sedation for 4-8 hours while a room full of medical professionals inserted catheters and threaded wires into her heart. I anxiously awaited every update. About 6 hours later I would finally get the news that the abnormal pathway was located on the left side of her heart and corrected. Now, 3 months later and a year after diagnosis, she has shown no sign of SVT returning. I am so incredibly thankful!
A week after her procedure, she was up and at them again. We were ready for Thanksgiving! That was they day however that once again the heart came to the fore front! On that day I received a phone call that my older brother had suffered a massive coronary and had been airlifted to UMASS hospital. This was actually his second heart attack occurring 13 years after his first. My brother is still a young man in his late 40s. He lives a good lifestyle and does not fit the profile one might have in their head of a “heart attack victim”. His Doctors suspect that his case may be hereditary. Apparently heart disease can skip a generation so although we know our parents are healthy, there may have been a grandparent or great uncle etc who passed this trait along. I am fortunate to tell you however that he survived and walked his oldest daughter down the aisle last month.
Now it is February, it is American Heart Month. As we close out the month I encourage you to know your own risk factors for cardiac disease. I encourage you to reduce your risk, get healthy, quit smoking, lose weight, move more and eat better! I encourage you to have a heart to heart with your doctor about your family medical history and get checked! I encourage you to take it seriously, after all cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States.
Before we go let’s talk about today’s lunch! Pictured in my Easylunchboxes container this lunch contains:
- Ham sandwich pressed with heart shape
- Cucumber, tomato and pepper salad
- 1 1/2 Clementine oranges
Finally I want to mention the wonderful strength and hope Lunchbox Love notes I received from my dear blogger friend Shannon from over at What’s for Lunch at Our House. Thank you to Shannon, it was a sweet gift at a time I definitely could use strength and hope!
Want one? (This post contains affiliate links)