Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Musings: Health and how to not let fear run your life

I found out last week that my A-Fib (irregular heart rhythm) is not related to my thyroid issue. Darn. It means, and I asked the doctor specifically about this, that I have heart disease and am at higher risk for stroke and that next year, when I turn 65, I will have to go on blood thinner medication. It is age-related, my doc said. Coupled with my bad knee, which I am planning on getting replaced, hopefully the end of this year, I suddenly feel catapulted into old age.

I wasn't ready for this. I've been caregiver for my two parents, my mother-in-law, an elderly friend, and I've helped friends caretake their elderly parents, so I have a pretty good idea of what to expect. I just didn't expect to deal with some of these issues until I was in my 70s or 80s.

The A-fib is not life-threatening unless it begins to happen more frequently and last longer. I just have to watch for stroke symptoms. Last Thursday nite I got what was probably the worst heartburn I've ever experienced. It felt like a giant metal claw had clamped onto my heart and was squeezing it tight. The pain was down my arm and I wondered if I might be having a heart attack and not just indigestion and heart burn. I toyed with the idea of calling 911 (hubby was asleep and didn't want to disturb him) but just decided to wait it out. Eventually, after two antacids, the pain subsided.

I have a choice. I can live my life in fear that my heart will go wonky or that I will have a massive stroke and either be a vegetable or die. Or I can live my life not identifying myself as someone with heart disease, but taking as good a care of myself as I can, and actually living my life. As fully and as deeply as I possibly can.

I'm working on wrapping my mind around the idea that I have heart disease. Once I accept that, my choice is clear. To wear myself out living my passions and not allow the fear to paralyze me. I've spent way too many years paralyzed by emotional and psychological issues to let this stop me now.

How about you? Does fear keep you from living your life the way you would like?


L.G. Smith said...

Oh, goodness, Karen. I wish you had gone to the doctor after pain like that. But, yeah, that's unsettling news to hear. On the other hand, you know and you can do something about it. Wouldn't stop me from enjoying life.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about your health issues Karen.

Four years ago I was called for my papa smear, which due to my age would have been my last. The result was abnormal and was referred to hospital, have having 3 more smears over the next 18 months they discovered I have the virus that CAN lead to the Big C. I had the adnormal cells taken away and the next smear was clear. Then 6 months later they reappeared. to say there is FEAR is putting it mildly. I have changed hospitals and she explained my cells are very , very minor at the moment to lead to Cancer so must continue the 6 monthly smears.So I have to accept that but I still get that "Little doubt" in my mind.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So sorry to hear that! I hate medicine, but if there's a pill that will help, take it. And fear is no way to live. You're aware of the risk but that doesn't mean it controls you.

Suze said...

I like Lu's comment. Sending you my love and support, K.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Karen, that's scary news. But not the end of the world. Enjoy life. Living with fear only robs you of joy.

Karen Walker said...

L.G. Yup, it won't stop me either.
Yvonne, you so get it, don't you?
Alex, I sure will, if there is one.
Suze, right back at ya!
Diane, that's right - I'm trying to keep it in perspective.

Mary Clark said...

Your response if perfect, Karen. You have a lot of company in this journey to old age and we will all have some degree of ailments. You just have to keep going.

Carol Kilgore said...

Excellent attitude, Karen! I'm very proud of you.

Karen Walker said...

Thanks, Mary - I know, so many friends starting to have "issue" related to aging.
Carol, thanks

Karen Walker said...

Thanks, Mary - I know, so many friends starting to have "issue" related to aging.
Carol, thanks

Gina Gao said...

Sorry to hear about your health issues!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen - at least you know .. and now you can take care and just get on with things - enjoying life to the full .. if you know then those things can usually be dealt with ..

Look after yourself .. and good luck adjusting mentally ... being positive and upbeat keeps most things at bay ..

Cheers Hilary

Liz Fichera said...

So sorry to hear about your health problems. I say live life to the fullest but still take care of your health.