“So, have you decided on an Ultra yet?” is how my cardiologist started our conversation on Monday. This was his way of telling me the good news, that my last test had good results and that I have no restrictions.
Over the past 5 weeks, I’ve had 5 visits with the cardiologist and 4 different tests. In this time, I’ve learned that i have leaking mitral and tricuspid valves and that I have a heart murmur. My first test was an EKG which was negative (this is a good thing) but there was still no explanation for my chest pains so I had a stress-echo. The stress-echo is what showed the leaks in the valves. This led to a second EKG which was positive (not what you want but is now being called a false positive) so the coronary cat scan (CTA) was in order.
The CTA was the test that my cardiologist wasn’t crazy about running because of my age and the radiation but he said this would be my final test. This would be the one that would tell us everything. The last thing he said to me when he was ordering it was, “if this test comes back good, I want you to run an Ultra. I want you to push yourself more than you ever thought you could.” Keith and I agreed that if I decided to have the test, I would need to really listen to the results, whether good or bad, and not second-guess them. Keith, knowing how I am, said “if the test is fine, you have to quit worrying. You have to trust in the results and in the cardiologist. You have to figure out a way to get over the mental hurdle and not place any restrictions on yourself.”
Well, the results are in and I am being challenged to an Ultra! The good news is that I have no blockages and no heart disease. The bad news is that I now know that I am living with some heart “abnormalities” that I’m not to be concerned with. I have no restrictions and the “bad” things that they were looking for are non-existent. The “bad” things that they found in the meantime (catch 22 of having so much done!) are things that i will have checked yearly but not bad enough for worry. The leaks are slow and while they will never reverse themselves, they may also never get any worse.
There is still no explanation for the chest pains as they are apparently unrelated to the murmur and leaking valves but they are hypothesizing that it is an artery that is spasming when I run. Whether this is what it is or not, he is completely unconcerned with it and wants me to be unconcerned with it as well.
Ok! So we agreed that I have to move on. I have to quit worrying about it. I cannot place restrictions on myself that don’t need to be there. I will get checked yearly to be sure nothing has progressed but, in the meantime, I have to be grateful I have the information I have. He tells me that I am very healthy and cannot let this hold me back. His nurse practitioner says they could use me as their poster child for stress-echo’s because they don’t ever have people do as well as i did. Funny because i was super bummed that i only made it 16 minutes when my cardiologist told me to try to get to 18. She cracked up when I told her this. Apparently my cardiologist is a crazy man and was just challenging me to see how hard I could push myself.
Well, his challenge for me now is an Ultra. I am certain that he is a crazy person but I can’t help but wonder. Is this a challenge I’m willing to take? We’ll see…