Friday, April 7, 2017

Medical Emergency Fun (an Update)

Above is an ultrasound of my chest baby. I shall call her Tick Tock. Okay, this is actually an echocardiogram of my heart. For those of you who may have read about my recent Medical Emergency Fun, I wanted to post a quick update.

First of all, thank you all so much for your kind words and thoughts! There's nothing quite like a potentially serious medical emergency to let you know that a lot of people care about you. And it's great to know to know that there are people out there who care, even in the so-called impersonal domain of internet-land.

Well, after my super fun emergency room visit, I had a follow up with a cardiologist. There they stuck even more stickers on me for EKGs then did an ultrasound of my heart and key blood vessels. This process, by the way, was the most unpleasant of all. For one thing, getting a good picture apparently involves digging that little echo wand right into your ribs or sternum.

Secondly, I learned that one probably shouldn't wear a wig for a test like this. Not only did I have to lay on the paper-covered table, but I had to roll around into weird positions so they could echo stab me from different angles. Lots of different angles. There were multiple points when my wigwas about to get pulled right off and that would have been quite embarrassing. Luckily for me the tech spent most of her time looking right at the machine.

I'm smart. But not smart enough to go wigless to a doctors' appointment.
There was a really nice moment when the nurse practitioner came in to see me. She was actually third of the four people that ended up coming into my room. Earlier, when I had checked in with reception and they gave me a giant stack of forms to fill out like doctors' offices are want to do, I had written that I was taking spironolactone and estradiol. After speaking to me a moment and asking about my symptoms, she looked over my chart.

"Estradiol." she said matter-of-factually then stated "Okay, that's for birth control, but what is the spironolactone for? Acne?" In my heart birds fluttered and sang a merry tune! I love passing as cis with medical personnel. There's something just kind of extra nice about that because I figure they know anatomy really well and they're paying attention.

Pictured: Me blending in as best I can on my morning commute. 
Well, after she asked me some fun questions, the doctor finally came in. We sat down and watched videos of my heart echos on his computer. He told me the good news. I have a rare genetic condition and that's what caused my supra ventricular tachycardia. Yes, I know, rare genetic condition that causes emergency room visits doesn't quite sound like good news. But when the alternative is dying of a heart attack, then I'll take it.

What I have is actually called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. That basically means that I was born with an extra electrical pathway in my heart. Because of this, sometimes the electrical signals can get screwed up sending your heart into overdrive. Unfortunately, it occurs more in men than women, which makes me a little sad 'cause it's a tell. That's why I like my green eyes because green eyes are more common in women than men. It makes me feel like I pass more.

The nice thing about my syndrome is that it's not life-threatening and if it gets to be too much it's easily treated with medication or a simple surgery. So, baring any other rare genetic conditions I may yet be unaware of, I should be able to keep writing and podcasting until I'm a little old lady.

Also I will keep taking selfies. 


  1. You lucky girl Faith. I had WPW, maybe from childhood who is to know. It blew up on me later in life while bush walking then a chopper flight back to civilization.
    I had an electro physiological study and RF ablation which is done with minimal intrusion, no cuts just a catheter. Home in under a day.
    Ten years later I have never experienced any fuether arythmias. Ever. And even if not fixed it won't lead to you going into AF ( dangerous) so smile girl, you are very fortunate.
    Live long and beautifully.

    1. That's so interested. A week ago I'd never even heard of this and now I already of know of three people who also have it. Crazy. For now, I'm just doing lifestyle changes to see if that works. If not the doc mentioned the ablation as an option. It freaks me out though - what if I'm misdiagnosed and they ablate my only pathway?! Yeah, I'm a naturally anxious person and think like that. :)

  2. Hey Faith!

    I'm happy to hear you have it figured out, and that it's not as severe as first thought. Take care of yourself, and hopefully any issues you have are few and far between :)

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts and well wishes!

  3. I'm so glad you're going to be okay [big hug].

  4. Extremely glad that you're OK. Heart problems are noting to mess with so this "warning" fortunately alerted you to the problem, which can be dealt with.

    I have to admit, I'm not an avid follower but you certainly have more courage than I would ever have. Also, not surprised by the nurse practitioner's belief that you are female. You're beautiful and I'm sure your personality is 100% female (if there is such a thing). I know that if I passed you on the street I might stare but only because I would see you as an attractive female.

    Best of luck and good, safe journey on your transition. Life's too short to be anything other than who we are.

    1. Hi Babycakes, you should totally follow me avidly! :)

      Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughts.