Heart on my Sleeve… And in the Gutter

I have a confession.  Since my last post, I’ve been needing to tell you something but I wanted to make sure I had 100% of the facts before I put these two words out there.

HEART FAILURE.

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Ambulance Ride. Meh

Sounds terrifying right?! Well… it is and it isn’t as scary as it sounds.

But let’s rewind a bit first shall we?

When you first begin chemo, they rattle off a list of possible side effects and make you sign your life away as you nod along all numb and willing to not believe any of those things will happen to you.  You already got cancer… The universe owes you one right? Well… turns out the universe was sleeping that day. Heart Failure seems so much more threatening than cancer ever did. Because, Heart Failure means I’m at a high risk for sudden cardiac arrest (aka game over).

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When your dehydrated and they stick you 7 times

So what exactly do I got this time? (i.e. “Geez Ashley, Can’t you be normal for two seconds”)  Well, I have Ischemic Heart Failure due to a Left Bundle Branch block. Yeah, I know… FANCY! It basically means that chemo has damaged a nerve on the left side of my heart causing a deficient amount of function. Which nerve is that you ask? Oh just the one that tells your heart to beat.  The figures kind of tell the whole story. Pre-chemo my heart was functioning at 87% (waaaaaay above average) and now it’s operating at 20%. IMG_0634

Yeah. I know. I don’t know what to make of those numbers either but more importantly… Where do we go from here? Well, the next step is trying to improve function over the next few months with a course of medications and an extremely strict low sodium (no caffeine, meh) diet. I’m very hopeful that this will work. If not, the next step will be to place a pacemaker/defibrillator combo. It will simultaneously pump my heart and give me a shock should it decide to take a break. And if that doesn’t help…. I go on the transplant list. I guess technically I am already transplant eligible due to my function being so low but that is definitely not a discussion for today.

It seems weird not being able to “fight” this time.  It’s more of a sit pretty and see what happens. Oh, and you know. DON’T MOVE! I may go crazy from sitting still alone. But, I feel like the best thing I can do is just go on.  People keep trying to tell me not to do this or that, and I just feel like (within reason) I have to live my life exactly how I would be anyway. As I said, I hope it won’t be like this forever and I’ve already spent way too much time not living last year.  I’m over that chapter. I’m never going back.