I now have two cardiologists. Dr. G, who has been my doctor since the day I was born. And Dr. A – my electrophysiologist.
In November ’07, two months before Dr. G and I’s conversation about biological children, I had a few little heart flutters. Nothing that really worried me, but I know enough about what my heart is like to know that it was different so I told Dr. G and had a holter monitor test. (24 hours hooked up to a portable device which records your heart rhythms). When he examined the recording, he didn’t see much to be concerned about. But when the topic of child bearing came up, he took another look and sent the records to Dr. A. And Dr. A found some minor tiny instances of dangerous arrhythmia, only 3 beats in 24 hours, but still enough to warrant more tests.
Dr. G ordered a stress test (pretty much run on a treadmill hooked up to heart monitors until you can’t run any more) and an EP study. I’d had stress tests before, and wasn’t really looking forward to the one I had in July 2008. Which didn’t bring many results. The EP study however was an invasive test I’d never had before. In basic terms: they sedate you, cut open one or more of your blood vessels, stick some cameras and electrical wires up them into your heart and try and get your heart to go into an abnormal rhythm by shocking it in specific places, such as the electrical nodes which control how fast your heart beats and when each half of your heart contracts.
As much as I passed the stress test, I failed the EP test miserably. My heart went into v-tach (a bad rhythm associated with sudden death) on the very first try, and took two major shocks to get back into a normal sinus rhythm. Not good. A month later I was back on the operating table getting my new friend, the defibrillating pacemaker implanted.
Having now lived with this thing in my chest for 19 months, I know that it was
God’s hand that kept me from keeling over dead several times before I had the implant. The rhythms it has paced me out of have ranged from annoying to deadly, and while I’ve never had a full blown converting shock (the kind where the doctors would yell “Clear!” if they were doing it), Dr. A has made it clear that the pacemaker was very necessary. Especially if we’re planning on having children of our own. He’s told us it’s now much safer for us to try and conceive our own child, even without the instances of arrhythimas, and that I’m doing fabulously in terms of my heart condition (which is totally God because y’all know I am so into eating healthy and exercising regularly and not drinking coffee…)
In the midst of all of this medical drama, we were dealing with the fallout from a rough adoption situation which popped up in January of 2008 and dragged on for nearly a year. With just one of these events going on, we probably would have hit the end of our rope, but we had all of this, plus buying our first house and moving. What can I say? God likes to keep us on our toes and close to Him.