Each month, The Band is choosing to focus our spotlight on a particular subject.
This February, we're focusing upon "hearts." Do you have a heart defect? Has a heart problem affected you? We want to hear more about your hearts and the hearts you love, The Band. Please send us any and all stories you have about hearts, heart defects, heart problems, heart disease, well, anything!
This month, we're throwing the spotlight squarely upon hearts, one of the most important parts of our bodies.
What's your story?
Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome affects about 1.5 people in every 1000.
This is her experience.
I was born with Wolff-Parkinson-White, though we didn't know that until I was 10.
What my mom did know was that sometimes she would pick me up out of my crib and have this fleeting feeling that my heart was racing, but once she put me to snuggle, my heart seemed to beat a normal beat.
We were told I would grow out of it.
For years I blew on my thumb, stood on my head, and did all manner of things to make my rapid heart slow back to a normal beat. I was told that if this continued, I would never be able to drive a car.
Eventually I had to go on medication to keep the racing under control. It was no big deal for me to laugh and my heart rate to go up to 300 beats a minute.
Eventually, every time it happened, we ended up in the ER in order to get it to stop. It was draining, not only physically and emotionally, but financially also.
I grew up in a working class family. We lived paycheck to paycheck. My dad had a good job, and then that company went bankrupt; in the 80's it was tough for anyone in their late 40s to find a job. No one wanted to hire someone that old during that time. My mom had no college education and started working nights in order to support my family.
As luck would have it, my father had retired from the military. At the time, the only way to correct WPW was to have open-heart surgery. However, there was a new catheter ablation procedure that was in the last stages of trial testing, and the military supported it since they were able to keep their soldiers.
So at 14, I had this procedure done when it was still relatively new to the world. Retired military insurance paid for most of it or we would not have been able to afford it. I have four very teeny tiny scars in the crease of my right leg. I had one of the harder ones to find as it was on the back of my heart, and the procedure took 3 hours longer than scheduled to perform.
To this day, doctors have no idea that I had WPW unless I tell them. My EKGs are normal. Before the procedure we were told that my heart had no resting beat. My family and I figure that contributed to the reason that I am only 4'9" tall... my heart simply couldn't circulate blood for anything larger.
I know that I am fortunate in both having the procedure and in having no further issues with the condition.
I'm lucky and I know it.7 Comments