The last several months have not been pleasant! School was fine, but very stressful, and I couldn't wait for Spring Break to arrive. I was looking forward to some family time and a dose rest and relaxation! Spring Break was great! We went up to the mountains and rented a cabin. Just the 4 of us enjoying time away from everything. We went walking around the small town, we rode the go carts, we played board games, and we just enjoyed time being a family. THEN WE CAME HOME!
We came home late Saturday afternoon (March 23), unpacked, ate some dinner, then chilled until bedtime. I woke up the next morning to get ready for church and realized I was short of breath every time I walked from one place to another. I went to church and continued with the shortness of breath. I decided to go to an Urgent Care Clinic close to our house since it was Sunday, and after an x-ray they said I had pneumonia. Gave me a couple of shots, some antibiotics, and said I could probably return to work by Wednesday. I returned to work on Wednesday, and by lunch time I knew I wasn't going to make it through the rest of the week. My doctor was out of town and couldn't see me until Monday. By Sunday I started getting chest pains, and returned to the Urgent Care Clinic. They took more x-rays and did an EKG. They determined the pneumonia was still there, but they were worried about my EKG and sent me to the emergency room.
The doctor's at the emergency room did a full work up (including a CT Scan) and couldn't find anything wrong with me. They said they didn't find any pneumonia, and my heart seemed fine. They did recommend that I go see a cardiologist since they couldn't explain the chest pain. This is where everything started going down hill.
I saw the cardiologist who then scheduled me for all sorts of tests and sent me to a pulmonary doctor. Between the 2 doctors, I had every test known to man done on me. I was poked, prodded, and scanned until I thought I would glow in the dark from all the radioactive material they kept putting into my body. The only thing the 2 of them could agree on was that my oxygen levels dropped when I walked (I now have an oxygen tank I have to lug around), and a couple of my labs were elevated (probably due to the fibromyalgia). By now it was the middle of June and we still didn't have a solution. I convinced my cardiologist to refer me to the Mayo Clinic. They accepted and we headed off to Arizona on June 23rd!
Luckily for us, my brother and his family live about 20 miles away from the Clinic so we had a place to stay. The 4 of us and my parents quickly settled in for our stay with my brother, sister-in-law, and 2 nieces. We were a very cozy 10 people. Fortunately for us we are a very close family, which came in handy since we ended up staying for a whopping 16 days! I spent every day (except weekends) getting poked, prodded, and scanned again! I was bounced back and forth between the pulmonary doctor, the cardiologist, and the heart surgeon.
Turns out I have a small hole in my heart (5 mm) that allows blood to go from the right upper chamber to the left upper chamber whenever I bear down, sneeze, cough, or hold my breath. Apparently the blood is supposed to go into the right upper chamber, then out again and around to the lungs. They aren't going to fix the hole, because they say it would be more dangerous to go in than to leave it alone. Besides, they said this wasn't the cause of my shortness of breath because I was born with this hole. They did put me on aspirin so that I can keep from developing any clots. So now anytime I sneeze, cough, or bear down I can picture the blood rushing to the left chamber. GOOD TIMES!
After 16 days, the only thing they could come up with was that I had asthma! Seriously! ASTHMA! My local doctors couldn't figure that out? Man they suck! So it was time to head home! The good thing to come out of this trip was the fact that we spent a lot of time together. We celebrated the 4th of July and my birthday while we were there, and spent a lot of time talking and laughing.
I'm back home now, and have been to the allergist. They have done my allergy testing (I'm allergic to every tree and piece of grass in my town), and I am scheduled to begin my allergy shots next week. I now have my inhaler, and the doctor thinks I should be able to walk without the oxygen sometime in the next 6 weeks.
Needless to say, by the time I go back to work next month my Spring Break will have lasted 5 months! I have definitely gotten my share of rest and relaxation. Most of my teacher friends are dreading the summer coming to an end already, but I can't wait to go back to work. So happy this nightmare is finally coming to an end!