My Experience

Starting Cardiac Rehab

I’ve tried to write this blog article a few times and my thoughts haven’t flowed together in a cohesive manner. Bare with me as I work this out in my head and through my writing. I am starting cardiac rehabilitation. Most people go to cardiac rehab for heart attacks or heart failure, so this referral didn’t come easily. As I’ve been working to get back into running post surgery, my heart rate has been a prevalent problem. Running has always been the activity that makes my heart rate spike but particularly now it’s important that my muscles are functioning properly.

As it was explained to me, when your body is deprived of what it needs, no organ or muscle can function at its best. Given that nobody’s heart rate is supposed to go in the range mine does, this needs to be addressed. I am not the average POTS patient. While many people have their heart rate spike as high as mine, I challenge my body to sustain that for a significant period of time. I function relatively well despite the circumstances. Unfortunately, relatively well isn’t great. My body still goes into the process of shutting down.

I refuse to stop running. My doctor’s and physical therapist’s have gone through a myriad of different exercises and activities that would be more practical but nothing speaks to me like running. Now, I will admit that I’m being stubborn. That being said, I’m not stubborn just to prove a point. I’m doing it because running helps me meet all of my physical, mental, and emotional needs. It hits all of the boxes at once. This allows me to struggle intensely for a short period of time for maximum gain. Other activities make me struggle and challenge me but only provide short term gain.

All of this is a math equation. Albeit the math equation is incredibly complicated and ever changing with my circumstances. I need to do what’s best for me and although nobody is happy that it’s running, they all agree running provides a significant benefit to my life. Due to that fact, they’re willing to help me reach my goals and part of that is participating in cardiac rehab. It’s important to note that safety is my top priority and that is the reason I’m doing this rehabilitation. I need my heart monitored while running and doing activities. This gives me a unique chance to explore my limits and find a medium with trained professionals who are there to help in an emergent situation.

There are times when the weight of my circumstances becomes clear and this is one of those times. It was not easy to find someone who was willing to take me for cardiac rehab. The complexity of my case is something that not many are willing to take on. Luckily, I have a great care team and together we found someone who would be an excellent fit for me. I start cardiac rehab tomorrow!

More than anything, I’m excited for this step. I think it’ll bring everyone peace of mind. There is some fear that the answer will be that running is not feasible but I’ll cross that bridge if I approach it. I need to do what is in the best interest of my body and if that’s exercising in a monitored room with EKG’s, blood pressure monitors, and pulse oximeters, so be it. I’m grateful I have the resources to make this work.

I hope that you’re having a great day. I hope that your day is filled with joy, positivity, and laughter. I hope you find peace, love, and happiness.

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