And the hits just keep on coming. In 2019, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and my neurologist was convinced that there is more buried under the surface. In 2020 my Rheumatologist added to my list and diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis. I started treatment right away that didn’t agree with me so I switched to a weekly injection. That is working well for me and I’m happy with the progress.
Several months ago, I started to get concerned about some cardiac issues that I had been feeling. I saw a ‘doc in the box’ and they ran some tests, the results of the EKG were concerning to them, so they referred me to a cardiologist. In this area of Virginia, it is very difficult at times to get into a specialist and this was one of those cases.
The referral got messed up somewhere and they got me in for an Echo and that was all. Several days later, I had enough and tucked my tail in between my legs, and went to the ER.
After some tests in the ER, they kept me for observation and gave me a nuclear stress test in the morning. When I saw the cardiologist, I was pleased to learn that I had seen him in 2017, when I thought I was having a heart attack (which turned out to be a reaction to a new medication I was on).
He first apologized for the mix-up in his office and promised me an appointment this week. Then he got a good feel of what I’m experiencing and then he told me his diagnosis. He said the “palpitations” I’m feeling are not actually palpitations and are actually Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs) which are extra heartbeats that begin in one of your heart’s two lower pumping chambers (ventricles). These extra beats disrupt your regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing you to feel a fluttering or a skipped beat in your chest. He explained that they are not life-threatening and are more of an annoyance than anything else. He explained that they can’t treat them, but they can help lessen the annoyance. For me, they really interrupt my sleep, keeping me up at night as I often feel like my heart is dancing around in my chest.
He then explained that I likely have Postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS), which is an abnormal increase in heart rate that occurs after sitting up or standing. Some typical symptoms include dizziness and fainting. It’s sometimes known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. He explained that it is directly related to my RA and that they can treat the symptoms, but not the disease. He explained that it is an autoimmune disease (Yes, I’m so excited, another autoimmune disease).
The good thing is that I have to see a cardiologist and I have an appointment this week as well to see him in his office.