A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for February, 2016

Life updates

Posted by Pepper on February 24, 2016

It hit me with a smack. The realisation that we’ve reached the end of Feb. In a few days, we’ll spill over into March. Life goes by so fast! This year has been fairly good to me, making me hang on to the optimism I had in the beginning of the year.

What have I been up to? Not much really. A while ago, I consciously decided to slow down my life and from what I can see, the effects have been wonderful. Through some stroke of luck, both Mint and I were able to get some time off work at the same time. This has always been hard to accomplish in the past. It is a strange feeling to wake up and know you have the entire day to your disposal. I wake up with no real agenda. Initially, I told myself I would try and do more. Read and cook for example. Instead, I do neither. I sleep in, I wander around the house, I take long naps, I browse the internet for hours and in short, waste all my time. I stopped feeling guilty after a point and decided to allow myself to do exactly what I wanted, even if it meant being a sloth and nothing else.

It is also great to have the opportunity to relax and unwind together with Mint. We go for early morning movie shows, we go to food courts in malls to eat and satiate random cravings. We hang out and explore new places. One of our recent and highly cherished discoveries has been a little place in Bandra that serves absolutely brilliant Asian food. The dumplings are melt in your mouth, but most importantly, I’ve been overjoyed to discover the availability of good Ramen. Even the veggie version is perfect, and better than all the Ramen I got in the US. We visited the place twice in the same week and each time I sat back and lazily slurped on my delicious Ramen, I said a thank you to the universe for making my life pretty damn perfect.

In other news, we finally stopped dithering and registered for adoption. This has been a big move on our part. We are now officially PAPs, which stands for Prospective Adoptive Parents in Indian adoption parlance. Of course, it is a lengthy process. We have submitted a million documents and are yet to submit a million more. But the fact that we may be less than a year away from getting our baby girl in our hands is exciting and terrifying. There are still some roadblocks lying ahead on our personal front (which I plan to write about in a while), but I am hoping we are able to overcome those and go ahead with adoption the way we intended to. I think we should know for sure in the next few months. *Fingers crossed* If by chance  we find out that the door to adoption is closed for us, then we will think of having our own child (The heart rate is in control and I have been given all clearances by doctors! Yay!). But I am so glad we have made adoption our first choice.

Lastly, I finally managed to get myself to join a yoga class. I think it is the most amazing thing I am doing for myself right now. I start my day with an hour of yoga every morning, and I can’t stop marveling at how well balanced a work out it gives me. I absolutely love it. I can’t wait for the day where I can twist my body into pretzels the way other people around me in class can. Baby steps, I tell myself. My body is way too stiff. I can’t even come close to touching my toes with my hands. Freeing up my body and gaining flexibility will take me some time, but I know if I continue this class and remain dedicated and consistent, I am going to get there soon. I have already taken the most difficult step, which was to begin. The rest will follow. I already feel pretty damn great after the hour long yoga session in the morning.

Other than all of this, there are some uncertainties brewing in our life. I’m not sure where exactly we will be 6 months down the line. I can foresee some changes. But by now, I’ve learnt to take this in my stride. I will talk about it when I feel ready to. Right now, I’m happy to close my eyes and stay oblivious to all possible outcomes and scenarios. Besides, for all I know, we just might be able to avoid the changes completely, so no point thinking about them now. Living in the present is something I have learnt with great difficulty. And now that I have, I am not letting myself entertain thoughts of a different future. My present is quite perfect and I am happy to soak in it.

Anyway, that’s about all that has been going on in our lives. How have you been?

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Posted in The black hole | 36 Comments »

Slices of life

Posted by Pepper on February 9, 2016

You are bored out of your mind and have this desperate urge to let out the artist trapped in you. You are unsuccessful in your attempt to find a paper and a pen to scrawl. What do you do?

Simple. You rummage through your drawer and find a tube of foundation with a nozzle. You pick it up instantly and use it to draw a heart on your hand. Pleased with yourself, you run to your husband to show him your pretty heart.

Unfortunately, your husband doesn’t appreciate your heart. You should have known he is heartless. Hmph. He yells at you for wasting the expensive foundation that you forced him to buy for you when he was in the US, which you seem to have preserved so far for the right occasion. No matter how hard you try, your husband remains unconvinced when you tell him this was the right occasion to use it. You then abandon the plans you had of drawing a star, a moon and a sun with the said foundation. What a pity!

 
heart

 

You walk away and decide to self admire your creation. What a good foundation your heart has, you think to yourself. Hah! You decide to take a quick pic before you wash it away. What joy this was. Life should be all about dreamily drawing hearts on your hands, doesn’t matter what tools and instruments you use.

 

PS – This is an old post from the drafts.

Posted in Slices of life, Small joys | 4 Comments »

Hearty read..

Posted by Pepper on February 3, 2016

WARNING: LONG POST

It all started with me discovering that my heart rate was abnormally high. A normal resting heart beats between 60 to 100 times per minute. My average resting heart rate is 130. This condition is called Tachycardia. I haven’t really experienced breathlessness or any other symptom that typically accompanies the tachycardia. I did feel palpation every now and then. But most of it came when I was anxious, nervous or angry. I figured it was normal. The lack of other symptoms made it easy for me to ignore it all and move on.

I did read up about Tachycardia online, but I still didn’t think I had enough information about it. Is it something that I need to worry about? Does it need to be treated? What are the consequences of having long term Tachycardia? I kept promising myself I would see a cardiologist someday soon, but I never really did

When we were in Chennai this time, we decided to get done with our annual health check up. Because really, the tests were so much cheaper there! So one fine morning, we set out to the lab and got our blood work, chest x-ray and abdominal scans done. It was time for the ECG. As per the usual procedure, I was asked to lie down. The technician went on to attach all the wires onto me.

All of a sudden, I heard her telling me to relax and calm down. This confused me, because until then, I was fairly relaxed and calm. Turns out, the first shot of the ECG showed a very high heart rate and it made the technician believe it was caused by severe panic. I told her I wasn’t panicking at all. She said she would try again. Unfortunately, it showed the same thing a second time.

So instead of proceeding with the test again, she let me be for a few minutes, thinking that would calm me down. As for me, I kept wondering what was going on. She reappeared after 10 minutes and decided to do the final test. That one showed my resting heart rate as 142. The result of the ECG said “Severe tachycardia, otherwise normal ECG”. What does ‘otherwise normal’ mean, I asked? Is it normal or is it not? The technician seemed confused herself and told me it was best if I checked with a cardiologist.

I was not too keen to consult a cardiologist in Chennai. I preferred getting back to Mumbai and doing it. Mint however, seemed to have made up his mind. He was of the opinion that we shouldn’t waste time and that we should get it done in Chennai itself. Also, his dad knew a very senior cardiologist whose opinion is highly valued. So along with all our reports, off we went.

This cardiologist too was quite taken aback by my heart rate. He told me it wasn’t something I could ignore. Having such a high heart rate constantly is bound to wear out the heart too soon. Our first step, he said was to understand the cause. He wanted to know if my thyroid levels were normal. They were. I knew this since I had just done my blood work. So I needed to go through a few more tests.

He said if all those tests were clear and we successfully ruled out all possible ailments, then we would have to attribute it to me being a ‘Type A personality”. I would have to then make some lifestyle changes, learn to be more calm, practice breathing exercises and then reevaluate my condition in a few months. If none of that worked, then I would have to be put on life long drugs to keep the heart rate in control. This, he agreed was the very last option and hopefully we would never have to consider it. In the mean time, he told me it was important to make sure I don’t run.

All of this left me really concerned. In my head, I had expected the cardiologist to tell me all this was nothing. I could ignore it and get on with life. I certainly didn’t expect to be put through more tests. And I never considered the possibility of being put on heart meds! I promised myself I would do all I could to lower the heart rate naturally.

I had been asked to do two tests. The first test was a 2D Echo and a color doppler. Getting this done was fairly simple. This test tests the mechanical functioning of the heart. The second test was 24 hour Holter monitoring. This one got me all nervous. Electrodes attached to wires connecting to a heart monitor would be strapped on to my chest for 24 hours. This would give the doctors an accurate reading of my heart rate for a full day. They would know my heart rate when I am sleeping, when I am screaming (yes, the doc actually said that), or when I am stressed. This would test the electrical functioning of the heart.

Again, I wasn’t too keen on doing the tests in Chennai. But Mint rightly pointed out that I would keep pushing it once I got back to Mumbai. I didn’t want to be wearing the heart monitor in Chennai and Mint too agreed it made more sense to do that in Mumbai. But I did agree to get the echo and the doppler done there. So once again I found myself in a cardiac diagnostic center.

I got to consult another senior cardiologist here. During the Echo, I was trying to come to terms with the idea of having the technicians and docs prod my bare boobs with various scanning devices. Sigh. During one such prodding, the senior doc looked at my heart rate on the screen and asked me why it was so high. I laughed and told him I was waiting for him to tell me that. He told me my Echo looked okay on the whole, so why was the heart rate so high. “Why so much tension, ma? Relax!”. Ah, okay.

I was jubilant though because my echo results were normal. This doctor told me the same thing. To practice breathing exercises, make sure I don’t run or do any cardio work out till my heart rate is in control. I always thought that I SHOULD do cardio to lower my heart rate. And now two senior cardiologists were telling me to not go ahead with it till it was lowered. So how do I lower it? Apparently, the answer is yoga, meditation and no stress.

I had some nagging doubts in my head and decided to consult my gynecologist after I got back to Bombay. She said what I suspected. That she wasn’t entirely sure if it was a good idea for me to go through a pregnancy in future if my heart rate was so high. She did say it would be okay if I took heart meds at that time. Bah, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go through the risk of subjecting my unborn child to such deadly drugs right from the fetal stage. So maybe thinking of having our own child didn’t make sense. Atleast not any time soon. I don’t know why this was even bothering me so much. I wanted to adopt anyway. Why was I now wanting to have a child the moment I was told it would be hard for me to have one?

She could see I was visibly disturbed by all of this. She said we would deal with it when the time came. No point worrying about it now. For now, she suggested I get one more opinion from a cardiologist if I ever wanted to consider a pregnancy. Before letting me go, she decided to take one look at my current heart rate and strapped me to a monitor. This time, I was really panicking. The monitor showed 158! One reading even showed 163. Before I knew it, I had two nurses shaking me and asking me if I could breathe. This made me panic even more and it took me a long time to calm down. I kept telling myself the reading had been so erratic only because I had been panicking.

This has been a very long post, so I am going to share my remaining thoughts later. I am yet to do the Holter monitoring test. That one will give a steady reading for a good 24 hours. I also plan to meet a cardiologist again and figure out my plan. And while I am a little miffed that this is happening to me, I am also so relieved that I don’t have to deal with any major ailment. My echo is normal and that is enough reason to rejoice. The smaller issues, well, I’ll deal with them along the way.

Posted in Health | 62 Comments »

 
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