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Covid19 Myocarditis and Heart Damage
Background: I was diagnosed with Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia about 1 year ago. Apparently I have a bad case of it becasue my HR often got high enough to make me lose conciousness, and I've even had a few episodes of brief cardiac arrest or VFib (not sure) because the whole system shorted out. I've been on metoprolol XR and that's helped make me a lot more functional. I was starting to do pretty well by last spring.
Then I got COVID in March.
Seriously, don't get COVID. Just don't.
I was sick initially for about a week, and it didn't seem so bad at first. I thought it would just get better.
But it didn't. My heart was all over the place. All of my prior symptoms got worse, plus I barely slept for 2 months. I could barely remember anything. My husband says that whenever he touched my back or chest it felt like an electric shock. My heart hurt with sharp pain in any bent-over or horizontal position. I was exhausted all the time even from light effort. I've lost weight (good) and hair (bad).
My cardiologist said that all his Covid patients were getting myocarditis, and he advised rest and time. It's been a few months since, and I'm better than April/May, but still not fully well. It's actually possible that I got Covid19 twice (March and Sept), but the docs are not sure because the tests were not specific enough to tell if it was a different strain the second time. Oh, yeah, then I had the flu end of October, although I did get the flu shot.
Has anyone here had similar experience or can offer any advice on how to help get better?
Thanks for commiserating.
AHAASAKatie, November 30, 2020 8:47am EST
Good morning, you have had quite the ordeal! I would imagine you are very weak and run down at this point. Have you talked to your doctors about what you can do to help slowly build your health back up? We have a section on Healthy Living and there may be some information that could help you start to heal. I do want to point out that much of this information is designed for prevention, exercise, health recipe tips..but I think there could be nuggets that could help. Fresh foods, vitamins, and doctor approved activity, could help slowly build your strength.
Please know that we are here to listen, support, and commiserate. Best, Katie
NewPacer73, November 30, 2020 10:01am EST
I am so grateful you posted. People are getting way too nonchalant about covid in my opinion. And how it affects cardiac patients as it is spread hasn't gotten enough publicity. It is NOT a hoax. I have bradycardia that made me lose consciousness and eventually arrested in an ambulance. I have a pacemaker now. I also was hospitalized this year with the flu post flu shot. So we have a lot in common. But covid??? And maybe twice???? You are my hero for surviving all of that! For suggestions on what to do now that all of that has happened, I would start with hope. I think we have been terribly short on hope lately. You survived a lot. We both died for awhile already. We are still here. Must be a reason. I think we both can do well with the patience needed to survive the physical side effects. We can do it. But we need to recover mentally. Your doctor can help you with the best solutions for physical health as well as the above post Katie gave you. For me, the mental side of 2020 illness has huge impact on the physical recovery. Each person has to find their own solutions that fit them and their lives. I turned to youtube for free walking exercise and taught myself how to do watercolor painting. This year I sent out a handpainted Christmas card to EVERY 1st cousin = 52. I bought leg wraps that heat and massage my legs to get that super level of meditation and to improve my circulation. My counselor (a Godsend for me) wants me to order a second pair, since the cardiac response to those leg wraps has shown marked stabilization of data probably due to the ultimate relaxation. I use them one hour a day. Raindrop, we are still here. Must be for a reason. Find your post chaotic physical fights plan to unwind mentally. Once I found mine, the physical rebound went much quicker. My life is soooo much better now. I have made it to the other side of some huge physical setbacks because I took care of the mental effects too Take care of both. Sending many hugs to you. I want to follow your recovery. Please keep posting. And know you are loved.
Raindrop32, December 2, 2020 3:33pm EST
Thank you Katie and NewPacer73 for your thoughtful replies.
And thank you for the Christmans card and warm thoughts, NewPacer, it brought a little tear to my eye. Those leg massager things sounds pretty nice. Maybe they make a whole-body version that I can disappear into for a little while. I also agree with you about how blase people are about COVID. True, there's only so much you can do, especially if you live with adults who must work and children, but still.
When I asked my cardiologist how I can improve my recovery and get some stamina back because I felt weaker, he said, "You're not weak. I think you're overthinking this." I can't completely blame him for a seemingly insensitive reply because here I am complaining while a whole lot of his other heart patients are dead.
Today I saw an episode of SciShow on YouTube titled, "Why Athletes Are Worried About COVID: Its Toll on the Heart" that presents my problem. They're saying myocarditis (known form other viral causes) takes 3-6 months to heal! And that exercise makes it worse! It's already been longer than 6 months, but I can't stop dancing, it is essential to my mental health. And I'm homeschooling my 5 year old son, which is way better than the alternative, but I have this creeping anxiety that I'm not doing enough and giving him enough, and it's all going to come down upon my head next year. Some days I seriously can't handle it.
It's too easy to overdo it. Yesterday morning I felt decent and did my Zoom ballet class, but I crashed and had to go to bed at 8pm. My heart still hurts and I nearly fainted on the toilet this afternoon (lovely TMI for you).
I take to heart your words about hope. My hope lies in self-forgiveness. Someone dubbed this new month "Don't Die December." That name speaks to me. That will be my goal for December. I just need to not die. If I can accomplish that, it will be enough.
NewPacer73, December 3, 2020 8:16am EST
Morning Raindrop! I'm impressed with your ballet talent too! Home schooling a five year old would be exactly what I would do in lieu of sending my son to school too. Your 3D (Don't Die December) motto for this month is so true. Been accused of "overthinking" before too. smile I am sort of bull headed (a Taurus) and refuse to not survive this pandemic and cardiac challenges. My focus, now that my heart is stablized, is to not die from covid. No matter what it takes. I have friends that might not survive because taking precautions is too inconvenient. Me? I'll do whatever it takes to make it. Over the years, I've learned some cardiologists are excellent medical experts, but are not always trained on the side effects mentally and emotionally to what we have been through. So I turned to a counselor that I can do with telemed. She's been my emotional support person and is invaluable because she is objective. At our most recent session, she told me I have developed a skill of accepting feeling not so well sometimes, allow it to be true, but move on when Im f'm feeling good. It took me a long time to accept the present. Your zoom ballet crash story reminded me of that. The emotional after affects of what we have been through is like most of life's knock you off your feet experiences to me. It takes time and processing (like the grief process does) until we get fully back on track. Self forgiveness is an excellent place to start. By the way, nearly fainting on the toilet is not TMI for me. I did that once too. smile I have a cardiac defect that takes athletes out on the field when they collapse not knowing they have it. So many stories about athletes and the ramifications of covid. Thanks for sharing that. Let's do that 3D motto for December together. Keep posting. I can't wait to get on the other side of this chaos and celebrate with you that we made it.