When I was pregnant with my children I was told that I had a murmur but no one ever explained to me what that meant or implied for the future and I never gave it another thought. Then while undergoing surgery 8/9 years ago it was again noted and I was sent to a cardiologist and had an echocardiogram. I was told that I had mild aortic stenosis. The cardiologist explained to me exactly what that meant and informed me that I would need two yearly echo’s until such time as it was considered moderate and one yearly echo’s once considered moderate and handed me back into the care of my GP. I never gave it another thought and went on with my life. My GP retired about a year later and as I was reasonably healthy I had no reason to search for another GP until some time later. Needless to say as time progressed I seemed to fall through the cracks (mostly my own fault) and never did have any follow-up echo’s.
Fast-forward 8 years I am now a diabetic, have mild copd and sleep apnoea but was still reasonably healthy. Come November/December 2016 I was feeling really unwell, so tired and utterly exhausted all the time. It was too hard putting one foot in front of the other and just walking from one room to another would wipe me out completely. I put it down to getting older, not being too careful with my glucose levels, being overweight etc and did nothing about it. I was also brought up to believe that one doesn’t make a fuss and should just ‘suck it up’ and get on with it.
I went to my GP for my regular 3 monthly diabetes check at the end of November and in passing I told her that I was feeling so very tired all the time. Her comment was that we would see how the blood tests came back and we would take it from there. She did listen to my lungs thinking that perhaps the copd had perhaps worsened. My lungs were fine but she exclaimed at the loudness of the murmur. She immediately booked me in for an echo 2 days later.
I received a phone call from her that same afternoon saying that she had received a call from the laboratory regarding my blood tests and that my haemoglobin was so low (in the 6’s) that I needed to get to the ER asap. I couldn’t do this as I was babysitting one of my grandchildren at the time. Anyway, I went the following morning and ended up being in there for a week and getting an assortment of iron infusions and blood transfusions. They did also do an echo while I was an inpatient and the results came back as severe.
It has now been three months and a blur of blood tests, echo’s, angiogram and various other appointments. My haemoglobin still keeps dropping and I have had scopes to try and find the source of the bleeding but nothing has shown up yet. The cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon have been reluctant to do the surgery until the source of the bleeding has been found but the gastroenterologist is convinced that it is Heyde’s Syndrome and will spontaneously resolve when I have the valve replaced. I have now been given a tentative date of the 21st March but they are having a meeting prior to this to discuss whether they should proceed and if so whether to go for a mechanical or tissue valve.
I just want it all over and done with. I am so tired of thinking about it all the time and I am so tired of feeling scared and anxious.