So this past week I have been experiencing chest pains. The pain comes and goes. It is a sharp pain that, most often, radiates from the lower left rib and spreads up and across, sometimes even causing back pain. With it being so inconsistent, I had not seriously thought of it being heart-related.
But this morning I woke up at 5am with nasty chest pain. I got up, went to the bathroom and felt a little better. I laid back in bed, waiting for the alarm to go off and deeply breathing through each episode of stabbing pain and compression-like feeling.
I was scheduled to substitute teach today and did not want to have to cancel on the school. Yet, as I was getting ready to go, the pain was getting worse and coming more often. Of course, my anxiety about my “inevitable heart attack” (if you have anxiety, you understand the ‘inevitable’ part of that statement) was not helping, but I have felt the burning sensation of panic attacks many times before and was doing my best to stay above the panic.
I finally couldn’t take it anymore and woke my husband up. It was 7:15ish and I was freaking out! I kept pushing to get ready to go sub and he kept insisting I go get myself checked “to be on the safe side.”
I finally gave in. I called the school at 7:45 and left a message, apologizing profusely for leaving them in the while I went to the ER to have this ungodly pain checked.
After all the prediagnostic questions, the typical demographic questions, the what’s-going-on-questions, an X-ray, bloodwork, an EKG and heart monitoring, I was sent home with the prognosis that my heart was okay in the “emergency sense” and that the most likely possibility is Costochondritis. I was prescribed Naprosyn for the next week and told to follow-up with my PCP if things were not improving.
Of course, while being on the heart monitor, the pain did not occur. As soon as I got in the car and started home, it was there again. When thinking of the diagnosis, it occurred to me that one difference seemed to be that I was wearing my bra again. I did not have it on during monitoring and as soon as I tossed it across my bedroom at home, the pain eased again. Although, it does continue to persist.
So… I’m hoping and praying that the diagnosis was spot on. I am taking this anti-inflammatory and breathing through the sharp pains. Occasionally, I start to get anxious, again. I try to ignore my crazy thoughts, keep breathing and focus on staying calm.
The information I read on Costochondritis says it is often just a spontaneous occurrence, short-term and can go as quickly as it came. Sometimes it can be brought on by lifting, working out or repeative movements not typically done (I haven’t been working out like I should and I have been moving furniture and refinishing my floors…) Also stated was that it can take 6-8 weeks, (sometimes a year!), to completely heal. Lord, be with me that I can keep calm that long or know when it might be something more…
(Photo source: google search – http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/235710.php?page=2)