Well that's a record I didn't want to record. I've now been sick for a year and the latest news isn't the greatest. Earlier this month I went in for a heart catheterization; one through the wrist and another through the neck (you should see the bruise!) I've been (happy with) and largely leaning on world-renowned National Jewish Health whose main campus is a mile from my house (so I got that going for me, which is nice.)
The medical team was somewhat skeptical going to this step but previous tests around the heart unveiled enough irregularities to warrant the invasive "Fantastic Voyage" as there were concerns about pulmonary hypertension. Don't google that as it's not good but good news is they didn't find that. They found something else called "preload insufficiency" of the heart. (INSERT heart joke here.) My "cath" was with stress (pun intended) in that I was on a bike and picked up various (increased) levels of effort--I've done a few VO2Max studies in my day, but I've never been stabbed in the neck along the way.
I'm not a doctor (but I play one on TV) but the best way to describe this situation is that during "stress" blood should increase to the heart vs traversing the body. That's not happening.
Preload insufficiency is a rare condition that even the experts at National Jewish admit there's little medical expertise on this in Colorado, but perhaps a trip to Boston (whoa...wait a minute...Seeking Boston has a whole new meaning) may be in the cards as Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital seems to be the country's leading experts. Their site also discusses the correlation with POTS or dysautonomia.
As I've traversed my "long Covid" journey, my Google MD wife (as I affectionately refer to her as) has uncovered a number of medical papers and research around cykocine storms, POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome,) and the heart being affected by the aftermath that the Covid tornado can leave behind.
A consistent thread is that the autoimmune system is "whacked" and starts attacking multiple systems of the body that would help explain the breadth (not breath) of symptoms I've got that range from neurological to freakish fevers and lung/heart chaos. The "eureka" moment is that my medical team may finally be able to explain why they haven't been able to find anything wrong with my heart or lungs, yet I can't breath.
The dyspnea (shortness of breath) seems to be getting worse where before, it would "kick in" around the "witching hour" of the day as I call it; usually mid to late afternoon. Now, that kicks in at unpredictable times and hours of the day and not just after a normal day of exertion. Lucky me.
A minor (yet major) life development is that I took an official medical leave from work. That's a whole other labyrinth of discussion including the economic hardship of that, but I'll leave that for another post.
As run bloggers often do "year in review" recaps, I did create a video of my year that had some family highlights and tapping into the left side of my brain with writing and illustration. I started the year (2020) traveling to Munich, South Africa, Seattle and Montreal (all before my travel froze mid February.) Some good, some bad, some ugly. Enjoy the look back with my on what was a weird and wild 2020.
Author Footnote: Special thanks to my son Jesse, aka "Queso," aka bitter tunes, aka "Jesse Lyle" providing much of my video tunes including my 365 video hit single, "Look Around" available on Spotify and iTunes. Apologies to my mom for my trend in profanities and to myself for not lasting 30 days in my quest for Thirty Days of Positivity.