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In an hour, I will gather up my things and take a 30-minute walk to the cardiologist’s office for my consultation. I’m terrified.

My brain, already so skilled at catastrophizing, is running through every frightening thing it knows about cardiology: murmurs, stress tests, Holter monitors, heart catheterization, special diets, prescriptions that you’re never supposed to stop taking, you name it. The worries just keep churning; I can’t work.

You know how sometimes you sort of want a rotten diagnosis, because it would validate your suffering and explain things and mean there are treatment options and so on? Yeah. NOT that.

I want the doc to say that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my heart, that the scary palpitations and abnormal EKG were just a temporary side effect of Yaz. I want him to tell me that my fast-climbing LDL levels are a result of free lipids in my bloodstream from losing weight. I want him to tell me that my amazing HDL levels mean I’m already doing all the right things for my coronary health, and not to worry about LDL or total cholesterol until my weight stabilizes. I want him to tell me that despite the bad drug reaction that prompted this visit, I’m doing OK in at least in this one category of my health.

I know I’m doing all the right things and I’m terrified because having to go to the cardiologist means something is not alright. I hope this time that something was just the Yaz, and not me.


I arrived early for the appointment, binder in hand. All the usual patient information was re-gathered, with another EKG for good measure. The doc was young, confident but not overbearing, almost funny, and he said what I needed to hear.

Nothing in my closet hides the electrodes.

Nothing in my closet can hide these big electrodes.

There’s no evidence of a problem right now, since the palpitations faded away after discontinuing Yaz. But just to make sure, I’m doing a 24-hour Holter test. I currently have 3 electrodes decorating my décolletage, and no matter what I wear, they’re going to stick out. So I might as well rock the bionic chic look and wear something low-cut, right? Plus, they itch. It’s just for one day, anyway.

The doc said I’m too young to bother with a stress test, and I said, “I climbed Cadillac Mountain in 90 minutes last week.” He smiled and said, “So you already passed the stress test.” The doc also said not to worry about cholesterol levels for now, as it’s likely linked to losing weight. Unless my LDL/HDL ratio changes significantly, there’s no reason for concern. Phew!

When I return the monitor this afternoon, I’ll also have an echocardiogram – an ultrasound of my heart – to verify its structural integrity. Sonography is pretty amazing and I’m looking forward to seeing my heart beating.

Assuming all goes well, I’ll get a clean bill of heart health.