Heart/wrecked

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Like a ship that runs aground because of low tide or unseen rocks or fog or navigational errors, our beautiful heart can be damaged when blood flow is restricted or when it flows unregulated.

Heart/wrecked.

I grew up hearing the term, “Stress kills.”

I was never quite sure what that meant, but then I did when it happened to me.

After a seemingly nonstop barrage of a personal stressful situation–like a ship hitting the rocks over and over again–it all finally took an undeniable toll on my physical health.

One of my favorite places to live is in the state of Denial, but I’ve been forced to temporarily move to a new town called Reality. Hopefully, I’ll just visit there for a bit until I can come home again.

After experiencing some intermittent and strangely terrifying heart pains, I went to the doc who took my blood pressure and was concerned about the results. It was super high. I had always had enviably LOW blood pressure since I exercise regularly, am vegan and never smoked, so this raised concerns.

Over the course of a couple weeks, my BP was checked daily and it stayed consistently high; dangerously high, which only made me more anxious and more stressed, and at one of the office visits, I started hyperventilating and had a panic attack. (Super embarrassing for the doc and absolutely mortifying for me.)

This led to an order for an Echocardiogram along with all the other heart-focused tests. The echo was done at a local hospital–a definite trigger. No one wants to go to a hospital at any time, but especially during Covid. It seemed like I was being admitted, with a wrist band and lots of little stickers, and I was devastated.

I almost bolted out of the front door at that point, but I persevered. I can share with you that it’s a scary time when you have to figure out why you don’t feel great. I’ve been a medical advocate for several loved ones, but it’s radically more difficult when you have to care for yourself. Poor me.

The technician was amazing, especially considering I tormented her with a million questions. I know enough about medical stuff to see that she was concentrating on a certain area of my heart. I really appreciated her patience with me and her detailed explanations during the hour-long ordeal.

The results showed a dilated aortic root valve and regurgitation of the mitral valve.

Risk Adjustment Coding Academy- Coding Focus

What this means is that the accumulation of stress and panic attacks and PTSD that I’ve endured during the last four years manifested medically and physically and caused structural damage to my heart.

Mitral valve regurgitation - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

“Severe physical or emotional stress increases blood pressure to the point where the tensile limit of the aortic tissue is overwhelmed, causing the rupture.”

“Over time, certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, can cause your heart to work harder, gradually enlarging your heart’s left ventricle.”

“Mitral valve regurgitation can cause complications such as atrial fibrillation, in which the atria of the heart don’t contract well. This leads to increased risk of stroke. Also, elevated blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary artery hypertension).”

Hypertension makes the blood push harder against the valve and causes it to dilate, enlarge, and that’s pretty much the same scenario for the mitral valve, which seems to be the cause of the intermittent chest pain.

I’ll need to be monitored regularly because if I can’t control the stress/blood pressure and the valves stretch to a dangerous size, the only solution is surgical intervention–or death.

Reducing stress and hypertension can possibly keep the valves from enlarging any further, but the damage is done–nothing will make them reduce in size back to normal, except surgery.

Let me tell you that it’s true. Stress kills.

Now I’m off to change course, take some magnesium, eat more beets, meditate, calm down and regulate my breathing so that I don’t have a stroke or an aneurysm.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Heart/wrecked.

Shipwrecked.

Aging Gracefully | Hydrangea

Look at those mauve-y petals speckled with the colors of a luscious cabernet sauvignon.
This hydrangea flowerhead not quite past its prime was too exquisite to toss in the trash.

There is beauty in old things if we pay attention.

And a day older…

I recall this sonnet by Shakespeare which makes me realize that I actually DID pay attention in class, at least that one day…

That time of year thou mayst in me behold (Sonnet 73)

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Nothing to Celebrate on the 4th of July

How anybody could enjoy Independence Day this year after what’s been happening to erode our reproductive rights and other freedoms that were fought for and taken for granted, I have no idea.

FFS, what the hell happened to the United States of America? I’m disgusted.

The Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade

What an absolutely horrible headline. I fear dark days ahead.

Our rights, including reproductive rights, are being rapidly eroded. Soon, contraception will be regulated, and possibly marriage.

It’s simple. Stay out of my uterus. You do you. If you don’t want to have an abortion, then DON’T do it, but no one has the right to police my body. Or any woman’s body.

I know it sounds crazy, but I believe this is the direction our stupid country is headed.

It’s all so depressing and disgusting, I can’t even think about it without getting too upset.

Final thoughts…

Pacific Ocean Photo of the Day

The beach was overcast but the waves were full of surfers. The swell looks to be about three feet or so, but I heard it’s building to five feet by Friday, not that this knowledge impacts my life in any way as I don’t surf and never go in the water, but it’s pretty to look at and hear and smell the salty sea air.

Mostly I look for dolphin or whales or my eyes are laser focused on the Angels when they’re here.

Happy Sunday to everyone except the idiotic Supreme Court.

Sometimes…Size DOES Matter!

Brought over by a friend because I love lemons. These are gigantic and SO juicy.

Seriously though, what did you think I was referring to?

I figured we all might need a bit of levity because dealing with reality today is HARD. I don’t like this country very much right now, So many poor decisions from guns to reproductive rights. It’s a hellscape so I’m going to slice a lemon and enjoy a refreshing and citrusy glass of water and try not to think about the fall of democracy.

Land Rape in Carlsbad

I can see this area called Marja Acres from my backyard and it’s several blocks away, but even so, I watch and hear this land rape on a daily basis, and it makes me feel sad and angry.

It’s one of the very last pieces of land around here that hadn’t yet been violated by earth movers and concrete and plundered by developers who don’t care about anything except making money for themselves. They tore down a couple of nurseries, a little old fashioned store, and a couple of other businesses that had been here for decades, coexisting peacefully amongst the native flora and fauna.

Here’s what the plan is, to build a strip mall and way too many homes without any consideration for the existing community so negatively impacted by yet another ugly and unnecessary development.

We fought against it, of course; to no avail, as usual.

Even more sadly for me, there was no thought nor consideration for the creatures that lived here: coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, possums, birds of prey, AND RATS. They’ve all been displaced and this is where our RAT infestation emanates from.

I swear, this city continually never fails to disgust me.

My Lovely Lizard

It’s time to grab the camera when this little guy strikes a pose!

He’s reclining on an outdoor sculpture of (what else) seashells and starfish.

It seems a lovely vantage point to observe the garden. Nice and warm in the sun, he stayed in that same position for quite a while.

#WordlessWednesday

Summer Solstice

Photo by John Nail on Pexels.com

It’ll stay light here until 8pm tonight, but in the Seattle area where my all my Angels live, it won’t get completely dark until 9:30 or so.

I used to think something significant should occur on these solstices, something to remember or define or to memorialize planetary movements, but usually nothing overt happens, although there’s always the chance that stuff might be fomenting beneath the surface.

So far, this is the only significant event that’s occurred…I’m not exactly sure where, but I lost one of my favorite necklaces, the one I never took off with very tiny diamonds and an impossibly delicate chain. I had it for years and years, just a bit of sparkle that layered well with all my other jewelry. It must have broken and fell off without warning. Since I’m not sure where it happened, it’s even worse because I don’t know where to look. I feel like I somehow neglected caring for it and this is a sign or a message from the universe that I should have been more conscientious and attentive. I hate losing things that I’ve loved and cherished and much like a phantom limb, I can still feel it. During the day, I’ll reach up to touch the spot where the tiny pendant would sit between my collarbones and it’s not there. I don’t often lose things, so this is going to bother me for a while, or at least until I get a replacement, but I’ll always miss what I had before it was gone.

Do you celebrate the summer solstice?

Ebb and Flow

It was too hot too early to walk the full six mile round trip to the Pacific Ocean and back, so I settled for a longish trek around the lagoon with detours to observe it from different perspectives.

I ended up walking mostly all the way to the beach anyway and stopped at Rite Aid to buy myself a treat but nothing looked fun or appealing or was small enough to fit in my little backpack, so I continued on my journey.

Looking east from a secret side street overlooking Snug Harbor and the swan boats on Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

It wasn’t even 9am and the little beach was full of families enjoying Father’s Day and paddleboarding and kayaks. Thank goodness there’s no gigantic mall marring the view on the south shore.

Well, well, well, it seems like we have a very low tide, too, combined with our drought situation.

It’s not often that one could literally walk all the way around the lagoon to the beaches on the south side. I was wearing new shoes and didn’t want to ruin them in the muck, but for once it was entirely possible.

Time and Tide

“Time and tide wait for no man”

We can’t stop the passage of time nor the movement of the tides, no matter how much we might want to halt the inexorable inevitability.

This proverb appeared about 1395 in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Prologue to the Clerk’s Tale but I also found a source that said it was recorded as early as 1225 and is reputedly a quote from Saint Mahrer. However, it’s also believed that the expression time and tide wait for no man might be older than that.

My son sent me this photo while he was at Golden Gardens Park in Ballard, Washington on beautiful Shilshole Bay.

It depicts the lowest tide in decades, four feet lower than average.

We have the same exact phone but he takes better pictures than I do, and of course he likes to send them to me to show me what I’m missing.

It’s so true–time and tide wait for no one.