The Results

Good news!  I am getting ready to go to boot camp! I can exercise again!   I'm thrilled.   The short end of it- my heart is ok . The cardiologist here told me that the pain absolutely didn't come from my heart! He thinks it was musco-skeletal or something like that.  Basically a cramp in my chest with pain that radiated.   It could be nerve related as well.   The ECG, blood tests, ultra sound of my legs, resting eco-cardiogram, and the stress eco-cardio gram completely ruled out my heart and/or a blood clot as the cause!!!  I'm completely relieved.  Some people wonder about trusting the doctors here, but I mostly do and I definitely trust the test results.   I had so many tests to investigate, and nothing came back to my heart.

Yesterday, I met the cardiologist and my wonderful embassy nurse at the public hospital which has a new cardiology clinic with updated equipment/machines.   I was there for 3 hours!  First the doctor and I talked for a long time and he did a general physical examination.  Then, the cool stuff....   They had me get into exercise clothes (well sort, I wore shorts and sneakers but just a hospital gown on top).    They put wires all over me and then did an ultrasound of my heart.  It was so cool to see.  They were also surprised by my mid 50's resting heart rate, but now I know this is just my average resting heart rate.   (low for most).    Anyway, I did get alarmed at one point, because the cardiologist asked the sonographer to make sure he got a snapshot of certain things, saying...."That's not normal."  I could see my heart rate rise and I asked what he meant.  He said he would explain it to me later.  Great.....the whole rest of our time together, I knew something wasn't normal.   What a terrible nagging feeling.  (It turns out it wasn't a HUGE deal).   Anyway, after the resting echo, they got me on a treadmill and had me start walking slowly.   Every three minutes they upped the hill gradient and the speed.   12 minutes in it was pretty intense.   I started to run and immediately my heart rate went back down so he told me to actually speed walk- which was hard at that speed!  My heart rate got up to 180 and then I quickly hopped off the treadmill for another ultrasound - my heart thumping, breath pumping and sweaty all over.   And....everything looked great!   My heart was pumping just as it should be.

After it was all over, I was nervous to look at the results because I knew he said that something was off, but I also knew they weren't MAJORLY concerned.  He told me he is 99.99% positive that pain didn't come from anything atrial - related to my heart.  He said everything looks really good and my heart is fine.   He then told me that three of my four valves have just a TRACE amount of leakage- which isn't affecting function at all.  He said this trivial leakage isn't normal however, and I need to keep an eye on it.  He suggested another echocardiogram (ultrasound) in the next two years just to follow up on the leakage.  If it's more, we need to keep a close eye on it.  If it's the same, I'll just keep getting echos every two years.  He also said that two of my valves were slightly thickened but that could be congenital - and really not a big deal.   Pretty crazy because I never would have known all of that stuff.    I guess next time I'm in the States (December 2017) I'll get another echo.

In the meantime, I'm getting ready to go to bootcamp.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous at all, but mostly I'm just excited to be exercising again.   I am confident I'll be ok.  

Thanks SO SO SO much to everyone for your concern.  I've seriously felt the love lately.   It's meant SO much.  

P.S. I just want to add something crazy . The price of all my tests, doctor visits, ER visits, etc. was crazy compared to the States.  I had three blood draws and lab work following, 4 ECGs, numerous doctor consults including one with a cardiologist, one ultra sound of my legs, one resting echo-cardio gram, one stress echo cardiogram, and all together 12 hours in two hospitals- one public and one private.    All of this came to a grand total of $600 USD.  That is what we paid out of pocket before insurance will pay us back for most of it.  I don't know what the cost would be in the States, but I know it would be WAY WAY WAY more.   Pretty crazy.