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Old 10-07-2002, 04:43 PM
RubberSoul RubberSoul is offline
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I Am Seriously Freaking Out

I need to solicit some free GC psychotherapy here.....

Let me say that I am not (or at least I never used to be) a neurotic person when it came to my health. I pretty much have always taken the typical "I am invincible" standpoint that all young people do. I had one brief interlude when I was about 19 where I was convinced I had a life-threatening disease, but my concerns were legitimate and once I knew I was ok I got over it.

I was born with a condition called explain it quickly, I would have these episodes where my heart would begin to pound extremely hard and fast (over 200 beats per minute) and I would get a kind of burning pain in my chest. I was told from the time I was 7 or so that it was benign, and was just monitored and medicated over the years. In May of 2001 I finally had a procedure where this problem was remedied, which involved a heart catheterization and ablation procedure.....I have not had an episode since. I do still have miscellaneous thumps and bumps, and I have to watch my blood pressure (bad genes!!!!!!) but I am basically ok.

NOW the good grandfather (mom's dad) dropped dead at 52 of a massive heart attack. Granted, he had been a smoker and I think a drinker, but 52 is awfully young to die. My mom was paranoid when she turned 52.....she had not taken the greatest care of herself and had spent most of her 30s and all of her 40s obese.....though she lost the weight at roughly 50 she developed type2 diabetes (major risk factor.) She did not take it very seriously despite this. Once she hit 53 I think she felt like she had dodged the bullet and would be ok. Unfortunately she was wrong. At 57, she literally dropped dead right in front of my eyes. She had just gotten out of the hospital after an emergency quintuple bypass (up until that week we had NO idea she had heart disease.) She was put on life support but after 5 days it was over. That very night I began to have panic attacks.....even I was able to realize that it was a direct result of the trauma of my mom's death, but I had a hard time controlling it and the fear that I was going to die young too.

Now I have just learned that my uncle, (mom's brother) who was 58, just died......I'll give you one guess as to what killed him. He had a pretty serious heart attack right after my mom died and never really took care of himself right. This time he was washing his car and it hit him. He called 911 but died in the ambulance. His 15 year-old son called my Aunt Cathy (Uncle David and my mom's sister) with the news.

I (and my aunt, who is 43) are both completely freaked out. I have been trying to get myself in the best possible condition, both mentally and physically. I have been working out. I have been doing running/speed walking intervals. I have been eating much more carefully and trying to pare off a little weight, though I am not by any means obese. I have been through 2 cycles of grief counseling to help me with my fears, and have seen a psychotherapist for depression/anxiety as well as going through a couple of different medications for anxiety (that I am no longer on.) I am only 30 years old!!!! I hate being like this. I feel like the hypochondriac characters Woody Allen always seems to play. On one hand I know a lot of it is in my mind, but on the other I know I have a genuine risk and need to do what I can now to prevent myself from following the same doomed path. So now what?
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Old 10-07-2002, 05:14 PM
Heather Heather is offline
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Now breathe! And live your life. You do have a legit concern but it sounds like you are aware of it and have addressed it in several aspects of you life (medically and mentally speaking). You are taking care of yourself and know that you are in a high risk group for heart disease. That's more than a lot of people do and you are still young and can benefit from the changes you've made in your life before you are too far down a dangerous road. One thing that stands out to me about what you said was that most of your family members did NOT take very good care of themselves. It sounds like you are learning from their mistakes which is great.

You didn't mention if the counseling worked for you (not that I'm asking) but one thing I've learned in grad school is that there are a LOT of different counseling techniques and theories, the real task is finding a technique and counselor that works for you. (Like wearing a shoe, some still hurt after you've had them for months, while others are a perfect fit.)

It sounds like you are doing everything that you can do. (Just stay in close contact with your doctors and up to date on new research). Now you just have to accept that and enjoy life! Good luck!
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Old 10-07-2002, 05:15 PM
PenguinTrax PenguinTrax is offline
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Re: I Am Seriously Freaking Out

Originally posted by RubberSoul
So now what?
I'd say you are doing everything right - making healthier life choices and moving forward. You CAN'T worry all the time - seriously. You'll literally make yourself crazy. All you can do is the best you can and enjoy life. That's the point, isn't it, to enjoy it because we don't know when it will end.

Just continue with a heart-healthy lifestyle and life every day to it's fullest.
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Old 10-07-2002, 05:17 PM
DigitalAngel126 DigitalAngel126 is offline
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Oh honey...I'm so sorry that you had to go through all that... How traumatic that is, I could never imagine.. I'm no doctor, but it at least sounds like you're on the right track. It is very smart to take action right now as opposted to waiting until you're like forty, or even worse, fifty... Another thing to think about is this: Just think of all of the medical advances that have been coming along... Maybe, hopefully, by the time you reach that age there will be some type of prevention or breakthrough meant just for you!! Like I said, you do sound like you're doing the right thing as best you can right now, so I don't know that there's any advice I can give other than to keep your head up... But you do have my condolences.. Your fears are justified, and I don't know WHAT I would do in your situation (I'm a big baby!!).. I hope things start looking up for you!!

Greek love,
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Old 10-07-2002, 05:25 PM
sororitygirl2 sororitygirl2 is offline
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Posts: 1,405
Wow, I can not even imagine how you must be feeling... I am sure that I would also be worried if I had been through what you have.

However, it sounds like you are dealing well with your situation. Do not stress out... if you have consulted a doctor and followed his/her reccommendations, that is all you can do. I pray for the best for you.
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Old 10-08-2002, 12:45 AM
Hootie Hootie is offline
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You can't change things that are set in course. In other words if it's a family medical problem then you may just have to deal with the thought that someday it may happen to you. Do all you can to prevent it, but don't stress out.

My grandma has terrible heart problems. My mother is often concerned that she will too. But she was talking to someone and they said that even if she had started the healthiest habbits when she was in her twenties, she could STILL get the heart problems her mother has.

So why stress out too much?! Stress just adds problems to your health. If you're very concerned I'd get a check-up through a doctor and perhaps do some moderate research to see if there are prevention steps you can take!

I'm sure everything will turn out okay. Just take it easy and enjoy life!

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Old 10-08-2002, 01:07 AM
juniorgrrl juniorgrrl is offline
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I'm so sorry that all this is going on. I can totally relate - both of my grandfathers died before the age of 50. My father dropped dead at the age of 46 from a massive heart attack - I was 14 years old at the time. I spent a lot of time scared to death that I was going to die soon too. I refused to eat any fat, and was just obsessive about what I ate.

Now, I just try to take the very best care of myself possible. I try to eat well, I try and exercise.

I would suggest getting regular checkups and just taking overall good care of yourself.

I know its scary. I hope you can get a handle on things soon and feel like you have a little bit of control.
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Old 10-08-2002, 01:18 AM
XOMichelle XOMichelle is offline
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Location: Sunny California
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You can do something about this!

Obviously, you recognize that a large part of heart disease and type 2 diabeties is lifestyle. You have a long time to change your habits and keep yourself healthy. Call your primary care doctor and talk to him/her about what you can do to keep yourself at a lower risk. I can tell you right now that you have made some good changes already. Ask about daily asprin use (it has been proven to prevent heart attacks).

My heart goes out to you. Just know that you CAn do something to make yourself feel better and healthier.

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