Yesterday I busted my ass (figuratively) between dropping off and picking up the kids yesterday. I had skipped one of my 5k trainings and thought I should just go ahead and do that while the house was quiet. So I turned on some tunes and my 5k app and started running. About halfway through my run I realized that I was breathing funny (one of my warning signs that panic is attempting to settle in.) I got angry at my body and kept running, forcing myself to breathe slowly and wiping my mind clean of all the clutter in hopes to shut it down. When I got off the elliptical, the panic was still there, coiling itself up through my stomach and my heart started to race. So I popped one of my "emergency" meds knowing that it would start kicking in sometime between picking up the kids and home. I've been on these meds long enough now that one pill doesn't completely shut me down, so I didn't worry about my motor skills becoming effected. Until I picked the kids up and realized the panic was still there, rearing it's ugly head. My hands started to tingle and clench. I muttered a silent "Fuck me" and buckled the kids up. I managed to get them 3/4 of the way home before I had to pull over and walk around to gather my bearings. I couldn't breathe, my hands/face/feet were numb, there was a buzzing in my ears. All I could think about was getting them home safely. I popped another pill.
I was able to get them home and into the house before the second one took effect and just making peanut butter and jelly became a serious chore. Lunch plates hit the table and I hit the bed. I wish I could say that I didn't know where this attack started, that I couldn't pinpoint one little thing that triggered this massive attack, but I can. My entire family is riddled with anxiety and I specifically have issues with taking too much on. My "responsibility plate" overfloweth. I've described it before (I think) on the blog as well as to my Mother and therapist. Imagine a fancy, yet fragile, serving platter. Now imagine placing your duties to yourself on that plate, you have kids and their needs go on top of yours, your Husband needs you to fulfill the responsibilities he can't perform, and then your Grandfather needs the same as your Husband, your Father gets sick and relies on you for support. And then you remember that your Son has a long awaited cardiologist appointment the next day and all your worry overwhelms you because your baby... your baby has a cardiologist appointment. Your beautiful, strong as an ox child has a murmur that continues to strengthen with each check up. It's not something you can ignore. It's something that as a parent you have to address, because you are responsible for them. The anxiety twists in you like a snake. Moments later after remembering the doctor appointment, your Mother contacts you begging for your help as she's in the midst of yet another fever. You shut down. All these scary unknowns have you seething with anger and frustration and fear. You shut down.
I wish I could be one of those people who are strong enough to just brush these anxieties off, that talk therapy and medicinal therapy are enough. I've only been on this new regimen since literally New Years. I just want to be "normal." I don't want to worry anymore. I have my family to thank for my anxieties. I also thank them for allowing me to share them with my son.
Today at the pediatric cardiologist I could see it in Logan's face. That fear of the unknown. Unable to sit still and all 4 feet and 40 pounds of him begging to crawl into my chest and lap because it's too much for him. "But I'm healthy! You said so! I don't need to go to the doctor again! I just went last week and she said I was healthy!" How do you explain to your child that their heart isn't like everyone else's. I walked in under the assumption that his murmur was simply louder than most. I walked out feeling like a failure as a parent. He has bicuspid aortic valve disease. Where the valve should look like a pie split in thirds to let blood pump into the aorta, his is shaped like a pie split in half. What we thought was a murmur is small amounts of blood regurgitating back into the heart. Physically, he shows no symptoms of having any issues. Were you to listen to his heart, however, you would know something was not right. The reason it's sounded stronger with each visit is because the valve is thickening as it tries harder and harder to pump. In time he will need to have it replaced. We won't know how soon till his next check up in 6 months to find out how quickly the disease is progressing. This disease doesn't happen overnight. More often than not it's a hereditary disease, and when it is "just a fluke" the 2nd and 3rd valves fuse together. Both happen during the first trimester as the heart forms. I made that heart from scratch and it's eating at me that there was absolutely nothing that I could have done or known to have altered the outcome. Do not get me wrong, I know that I didn't physically do this to him, but at the same time as a Mother I will always feel guilty that I built him this way unknowingly.
In the meantime, all I can do is monitor him now with the list of scary things to watch for and force halved baby aspirins down his throat every day in hopes it will slow the progress of the valve's thickening and make it easier to pump. These are not things I wanted to worry about as the parent of a 4 year old boy. I want to worry about skinned knees and bug bites or how much time he's spent in front of the t.v. and video games. I'd much rather worry about those than heart disease.