Thursday, August 5, 2010

I (Heart) My Heart


Just in case I ever doubted that I was willing to go the extra mile for my vital organs, this past month or so has completely erased any question in my mind. I am officially an organ junkie, and I guess that's a good thing.

The newest addition to my organ-related paraphernalia collection is a beautiful new heart monitor. Yeah, you read that right, and I guess that maybe it deserves a little background. Long story (very) short, I have had, for the past several years, somewhat of an issue with SVT -- a tachycardia that we believe is caused by an extra electrical pathway in my heart. When that pathway is "triggered" in some way, my heart starts beating super fast (we're talking like 200-250 BPM here) and it stays that fast until it is somehow triggered to jump the track and get back on its typical sinus-rhythm pathway. Most of the time I can trigger this return to normal on my own, although more recently that has proven a bit difficult (due to transplant? trauma? my brush with end-stage lung disease? we really have no idea) and the attacks have been more frequent. So I tacked on a visit with a wonderful cardiologist during transplant clinic a couple of weeks ago, and here I am: typing this message with three lovely electrodes stuck to my chest and connected to a device that can only really be described by reference to Zach Morris' cell phone in the much-missed TV classic, "Saved by the Bell." (If you never watched the show, 1) I'm sorry to hear about your deprived childhood, and 2) google it. Seriously.)

The monitor clips onto a belt/pants, which is a relief as I was worried I might have to wear it around my neck a la the shirtless older man in the "CardioNet" pictorial brochure. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy funky jewelry as much as anyone, but I was a little confused as to how I would rock the "oversized electronics couture" look. Needless to say I was pleased to discover that I could upgrade to "outdated electronics nerd." Clearly a step up the social ladder.

But to be honest, all fashion-based concerns aside, I'm not too worried about this new little development. My heart, while never the most cooperative organ on the proverbial block, is really more of along the lines of a rowdy teenager than a dangerous sociopath. It likes to act up now and then, remind me of its presence with a couple of randomly fast beats, and it occasionally demands more than its fair share of attention. But, to be fair, it has been working awful hard lately trying to make up for its lazy neighbors -- the lungs. Maybe my heart will settle down now that they've been evicted and replaced with a new couple willing to do their share of the work. Or here's hoping, anyway.

(Disclaimer: I just want to take a second here to say that my particular brand of SVT is fairly non-threatening and benign, albeit still scary in the moment. This post is in NO way meant to imply that other, more serious cases of SVT are funny or should be dismissed. Some people, including a close family member of mine, have much more serious complications to deal with than I do.)

In the meantime, I have to say that it'll be interesting to see what this cardiac monitor finds, if anything. I've had at least one EKG while in an attack of SVT, but it was done at a downtown ER not affiliated with my actual hospital, so somehow the results didn't get transferred. At any rate, there's no guarantee that this two weeks will pan out anything -- and to be honest I'd just as soon they didn't. If at the end of this all everything looks perfect and they tell me it was all just a fluke and probably won't happen again (much) then believe me, I'll be one very happy CF/transplant/diabetes/cardiac patient. Bring. It. On.

In the meantime, though, I guess I'll have to settle for being hippest, most stylish organ junkie in all of lower Manhattan. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. You should totally up the ante and wear it in a fanny pack.

    A TIE-DYED fanny pack. :o)

    In all seriousness, sorry about your latest-really-not-a-huge-deal-but-still-annoying bump in the road.

    Hope that you and Sammy enjoy a fabulous, technodorktastic sunny NYC weekend! <3

  2. you could always go the Flava Flav route and paint it gold and get a matching grill....

  3. You take everything with such stride! I admire you!

  4. Hey Piper, Glad to catch up with your last few *yay* uneventful blog posts! :) How about knitting or crocheting a cover for that heart monitor and start a new trend? LOL. Sending {{{hugs}}} your way! ~Juliet

  5. Thanks so much for your comment. . .it means a lot especially coming from you. You're journey was and is an amazing one!

  6. Piper... I absolutely love reading your blog. If I could write so eloquently, I could have written your blog. Your words mirror my life 8 months ago and from where I stand, everything looks up for you. I love the Zach Morris phone reference. I have a bronch on the 20th...last time Dr. Wilt told me that I kept saying, "This sucks" throughout the procedure. Nice, huh?