Let's Have a Heart to Heart . . . About My Heart


"It's vasovagal syncope, and I'm worried about your heart."

Those were the words the doctor told me last Friday as I sat in his office. 

If those words are as foreign to you as they were for me, here's what vasovagal syncope is in layman's terms:

Before I faint due to vasovagal syncope, I sometimes experience some of the following:

  • Pale skin (so that's why I can never get a tan?) 
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tunnel vision
  • Nausea
  • Feeling warm
  • A cold, clammy sweat
  • Yawning
  • Blurred vision

During a vasovagal syncope episode, people usually notice that I have:

  • Jerky, abnormal movements
  • A slow, weak pulse
  • Dilated pupils

Fainting isn't anything new in my life. It first reared its ugly head around middle school. I'd get overheated, the room would be really crowded, there wouldn't be any air flow and over I'd go. Ironically, those fainting spells would mostly take place in a church (or a convent one time!). Hey, sometimes you're just slain the spirit, right? 

When I had visited my doctor back home in high school, they had guessed I was dealing with low blood sugar. So I got some glucose tablets and usually, if I caught it quickly enough, I could pop one of those and I'd stop feeling lightheaded. 

But this past week was chock full of feeling light headed. It wasn't out of the ordinary for me to feel kind of woozy at Mass, but this time, when I took that handy dandy glucose tablet, nothing happened. And then I felt lightheaded another three times that week - with the longest episode lasting for a good portion of the afternoon. 

I didn't feel myself, nothing that normally 'fixed' the fainting spells was working, and I was getting frustrated. 

So I adventured out into the super-fun world of insurance networks and deductibles. I called a local doctor's office and got in right away (thank you, Jesus!). While I was in the office, I conveniently started feeling lightheaded, so the doctor started doing some checks on my blood pressure. And, just like he was expecting, my blood pressure was really low during my lightheaded spells. But even when I was feeling like myself, my blood pressure was on the low edge of healthy. 

Friday morning I'm headed to the hospital for an electrocardiogram and get fitted with a 48 hour heart monitor. If nothing shows up on the EKG, hopefully the heart monitor will give some insight into what my heart looks like during those faint spells. Then it's off to blood tests to see how my cortisol levels and thyroid health looks. 

I won't lie -  I'm kind of scared.

I'm not sure what these heart tests on Friday will reveal - I'm praying all my weird symptoms haven't taken a toll on my heart. But in a stage of life where it feels like things are constantly shifting and this control freak is having to let go of things she likes to control, I'm reminded of how good God is (weird, right?). And how much bigger He is than all of my problems combined. And how He's got me. 

But don't leave this blog post with the impression that I am completely resigned to God's will with all of. In case you've ever gotten the impression that the girl behind this blog is perfect, or has all of her stuff together, I'll dispel that myth right now. I'm a pretty broken human being - ask Joseph, he can tell you all about it! I'm prideful. I struggle with self-care. During times of sickness like this, it is easy for me to wonder if God has a plan. 

So all I really ask is for your prayers. Not only for a good round of testing on Friday, but also for resignation to the fact that God does have a plan - a crazy, beautiful one.