The Stress Test….

…is almost as bad as a tilt table test. I’m not a fan.

An important thing you need to know is that I’m in shape. I’m thin, I walk everywhere, and I have decent muscle tone. I mean, I’m not going to be running marathons any time soon, but I can walk up a hill without wanting to die. So the whole crazy heart rate thing? Yeah… it’s just my heart being a jerk. I’m not deconditioned.

The stress test started with the placement of a few hundred electrodes (this might be an exaggeration.. maybe..). I looked like I got attacked by an octopus. I was then left alone in a room to wait until the doctor showed up. The majority of the time that I was sitting in that room, calmly reading (Game of Thrones… ), my heart rate was in the 100s. Interestingly my heart is apparently not a fan of coughing which caused it to shoot up to the 130s. When the doctor came in to start the test he did note that it was crazy to have a resting heart rate so high. He told the tech that it must feel so awful to have a heart rate that high all the time. Speaking from personal experience? It does.

Upon standing up, my heart rate jumped to the 130s. A diagnosis of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) requires an increase in heart rate by either 30 beats per minute or a heart rate greater than 120 beats per minute within the first ten minutes of standing. I met both of these criteria. To my surprise, the cardio actually brought up POTS (he’s heard of it!!) and was asking whether I have POTS or Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia (IST).

Overall the Stress Test was fairly normal (I call it my normal abnormal). While my heart rate was extremely high during the test and while I did have a few Premature Atrial Contractions (PACs), it was still fairly normal. Way to go heart… act normal when there’s someone watching, but I know how you really are… Seriously, I’ve had monitors show any number of things including: intermittent bundle branch block, a-flutter, SVT, PAT, couplets,  triplets, and PACs that drop my heart rate by a 100 beats in one minute. Think any of those would come out and play? Nope. But that’s fine. I’m patient (Ha. Ha. Get it?).

One thing that was achieved however was that my cardio changed his mind about the beta-blocker. At my first appointment, he wasn’t thrilled to see me on one, but prescribed it anyway. Today, when he saw how my heart reacted, his first words were “yeah, you really do need a beta-blocker”. He also said that once I move I need to find a new cardio and an electrophysiologist. I’m hoping he’ll help me find one and will refer me. He said that where I’m moving has excellent doctors, so that is encouraging.

Ironically, the stress test did stress me. While my heart may have been behaving unusually well, I did have brown urine after the test. Usually the brown urine, for me, signifies blood in my urine along with a CK  level outside of the normal range. While I was somewhat expecting that to happen, it doesn’t make me happy. It shows that 12 minutes on a treadmill is enough to start the muscle breakdown process and is too much of a stress on my body to go unnoticed. I’m not sure what exactly that means or what causes it, but it frightens me that it is now a consistent consequence of pushing my body too hard.

Really, I’m just looking forward to sleeping for a few days now.

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