No Joke.

“Am I having a heart attack?” I asked the assistant at my cardiologist’s office as she was reading my EKG results.  Then I broke down sobbing.  Again.

I have dealt with some anxiety in the past but nothing like this.  And it seems like it was from a whirlwind of events.  Let me take you back to before that moment in the doctor’s office.

A few weeks ago, a close family member was seriously ill unexpectedly.  Thankfully he is better now.  However those couple of weeks were very worrisome for us.  My husband also had a cardiac procedure.  It was scheduled and fairly routine but it was at the same time as the other family member was in the hospital.  And it took 6 hours which was not what was expected.  That day in the hospital was a long one.  We were there at 6am and I didn’t get home until about 8pm.  Foolishly I did not have anything to eat or drink that whole day.  My BG were pretty good, even dropping low at one point in the afternoon.  When I got home that night, leaving my husband in the overnight cardiac unit to recover, I realized I should’ve eaten something.  Or drank something.  But I honestly do not think I could’ve stomached anything.  I checked ketones and of course they were moderate.  I drank a lot of water and forced myself to eat what I could.  They were lower before I tried to get some sleep.

The next morning, I felt horrible.  I knew it was from stress/anxiety. I made sure to check ketones again – they were just about negative and I ate a little breakfast and kept up on water intake.  I went to the hospital to pick up my husband as he was being discharged that day.  After I was there for a little while, I checked my BG and it was elevated.  Something made me take my ketone meter with me (I do not normally carry it with me) so checked those and they were high.  I don’t remember having high ketones in a very long time.  I started drinking water like a crazy person even though I knew in the back of my mind that may not be enough.  After a little while, I re-checked and the ketones were higher, not lower.  My heart sank.  I called my endo’s office, knowing full well what they were going to tell me, but I called anyway.  Sure enough they told me to get to the ER.  Fortunately (?) I was already in the hospital so it was a very short trip there.  It turned out I was in mild DKA but fortunately I caught it early and they were able to treat me with fluids and released about 12 hours later.  In 35 years with Type 1 diabetes, I have never been in DKA.  Needless to say I was scared as hell for a few days and drank more water than ever before.  And cried.  A lot.

The next few days were spent worrying about myself, my husband and also our other family member.  I kept getting this feeling in my chest, not pain or pressure, more like a knot or something.  It was hard to explain.  It would come in waves and that would get me panicking that something was wrong with me.  There were times that my heart would start racing.  Then that morning, where this post started, I knew I had to get checked out.  I seriously thought I was having a heart attack.  After some back and forth in my mind of where to go, I decided to call my cardiologist.  They were able to squeeze me in so I asked a friend of mine to bring me.  I was not having a heart attack.  At all.  My heart rate was through the roof  but it was all from anxiety.  She ordered me a 24 hour holter monitor just to be sure and sure enough my heart is fine.  While I was seriously thankful that I did not have a heart attack and nothing seems wrong with my heart, I could not believe that I felt so physically bad from anxiety.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately.  I have a lot to work on.  I’m being treated for the anxiety and I’m happy to say that I’ve been feeling a lot better.  There was a lot going around social media recently with This Is Us having an episode that showed a character having a panic attack.   It’s no joke.

4 thoughts on “No Joke.

  1. I’m so sorry you had to deal with all of that and I’m glad you’re getting help with the stress and anxiety. Having a loved one in the hospital is stressful enough, having multiple loved ones is off the hook stressful!
    I’ve dealt with stress and anxiety and I’ve had two loved ones in the hospital and the same time – it’s effing rough!
    I also was hospitalized with DKA in college – it’s a scary thing that comes on quick!
    I’m so proud of you for getting help and sharing your story with us.
    We love you, we are here for you, and we are inspired by you.

  2. Stress and anxiety can easily make us sick physically. I can’t count the times anxiety, bipolar “events” put my ketones through the roof. The most important thing is seeking help. I started being serious about taking medication for my pschological issues. My mental and physical health have improved tremendously.

    I am so sorry all this has been going on. It’s a lot of stress in a very short amount of time. I wish I was closer to give you a hug. I am so glad you are on top of this. You got this! Even if you need help getting through it. I’m only a phone call or text away if you need to talk or vent.

  3. Hey Stacey… I’m not going to tell you to do this or do that. I’m just going to tell you to keep being normal. If I had to deal with all of that, I don’t know if I would’ve handled it as well. Be well.

  4. A couple months ago I was was rushed to the ER, given Nitro and thought I was going to die from a heart attack. I was convinced. I have an anxiety disorder for years and take medication daily so this did not seem like a normal panic attack. After observation all day and EKG after KG I was able. To go home with nothing more that elevated anxiety. Everything else is was fine. It scar d me to think that this could feel this terrible from anxiety but I’m glad I know now that anxiety can mimic this “heart attack” feeling. I hope you are feeling better and happy you are managing the stress. It’s never easy.

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