UNITED STATES—I think something so many Americans lack nowadays is compassion. I don’t say that because of all the bad things we hear on TV, I say that because we move about our daily lives as if there is no other trauma going on in the world. However, that is the thing about life, bad things happen and you’re still expected to live life as if nothing ever transpired. With that said, I have dealt with some heavy stuff in my family in recent years rather it was an unexpected death or family members facing life or death situations involving cancer or other things, I’ve had it all thrown my way.

When you hear the word cancer, it is scary because 9 out of 10 times not all people survive it. My stepmom battled both breast cancer and pancreatic cancer at the same time. The breast cancer was caught early and that was scary, but the pancreatic cancer was even worse. Why? Most people diagnosed with that form of cancer never survive, my aunt died from the disease in 2018 because her diagnosis was caught so late. So to have another loved one battle that was just as scary and stressful!

My point in sharing this is that sometimes, we don’t take a look at the battle someone else is facing, because we are so worried about our own lives. I’m not facing cancer, but I think I should have had even more grace helping during that period. I was there whenever I could be, and I just felt I should do more. Why? Well, when you face a crisis it changes your perspective on things when you reflect. I have been dealing with some serious heart issues since March 2023.

A checkup with my primary care doctor caught something that raised a concern: a fast heart rate/pulse. I had never really heard that issue until recently. The biggest concern for my PCP was that my heart rate was so fast when I was at rest. It should not be beating that fast. I had a series of EKGs and at first nothing pressing was found, then after another series of test my PCP noted the issue could not be ignored and I needed to see a cardiologist.

He runs a series of tests and notes similar results that the heart rate is too fast it should not be when my body is at rest. On the flipside, my blood pressure was near perfect and I lost some weight as well. So everything I’ve been doing the past year to stay and be healthy is yielding the results I want to see. However, there is still the issue with the heart and I needed to have a series of tests in July to get a better examination of what was unfolding.

I have an echocardiogram which is perhaps the most extensive procedure I have ever had. You’re in a dark room for over an hour and there is a wand and gel that is used to gather imaging of the actual heart to detect if there is something wrong with the organ and pinpoint exactly what could be the problem. Hell I had to wear a hospital gown while having this exam and that wand when it pinpointed certain parts of the heart it stung slightly, leaving small marks on my chest.

I felt good during a majority of the testing until I had to sit on my back and then the doctor continued to exam the heart. Why? The person conducting the test asked me multiple times to take in deep breathes and hold them. I wasn’t really asked this when being examined while I was on my side. I also got to hear my heart beating. While sitting on my side it sounded normal. Sitting on my back particularly the lower, left-side of the heart it felt like it was fighting harder to beat. That prompted the individual to ask if I ever had any heart procedures or issues as a child. My response: ”As far as I know, none.” Not saying the doctor was pinpointing a problem, but when certain questions are asked you start to think.

After an expensive period of time at the cardiologist’s office, I am free to go for the day. I didn’t feel great that day, probably because the previous night I didn’t sleep at all and I was just stressed. However, I had to have another exam the next day, which would involve me being sedated and an actual device being inserted into the throat to get a better examination of the heart.

The brain and the heart, those are the two organs I always fear something being wrong with because they’re vital organs. I personally feel fine, but there is something going on with the inner workings that my doctors are seeing that is raising concerns. Now it is a waiting game after nearly 8 weeks of having exams and tests to figure out what decisively is happening inside my body and if my tachycardia could lead to cardiac arrest which was a concern for the cardiologist.

I do not want to have any sort of surgery that is going to involve my chest being cut open to examine the heart. I am petrified beyond petrified about that aspect. I know, try to think positive, try to be positive, it is just something weighing so heavy on my heart literally I have not been able to think about anything else. My concern about the situation is so pressing I haven’t told anyone in my family except my youngest sister.

I begged her to promise not to tell anyone until I know for sure what is going on. I have not told my mother, she has enough on her plate dealing with my stepdad and his deteriorating memory. My father is worst case scenario guy, and I just cannot have him causing me to worry more than I already am. I just cannot have that energy around me adding to the stress I already have.

If I have to have surgery to potentially fix a problem, it is easily 8-12 weeks minimum I would be out to recover and that is if all goes well. I am not asking for a pity party, I’m not asking for people to treat me with kid gloves, I am just sharing a perspective because I get it. I understand how when people are dealing with potentially life or death situations how they don’t always share everything, and might be slightly closed off. It is because they are processing things and they’re not fully ready to talk. Like my sister asked me what are you feeling and I explained, “I don’t know, I’m just trying to process it day by day and explain what has unfolded.”

I am fully understanding that logic of people saying have a bit more compassion when a person is sick, especially when it’s a situation where that person has no idea as to what it is they’re dealing with and it can be life or death. Your emotions are all over the place and you’re doing your best to navigate them the best you possibly can. Some days are better than others, and there are those days where you just cut off everyone, you don’t want to be worried, you don’t want to add any stress; you’re just trying to do any and everything you can to focus on anything but the pressing health crisis staring you in the face. I understand a bit more because I’m walking in those shoes, but I just wish I had that perspective from others who I’ve seen face such and I didn’t fully comprehend then what I know now.