Hey, I'm new to the group. Quick bio: I was always the kid who couldn't keep up in gym class, quit sports teams, etc. For years I (and everyone else) thought I was just a wimp. Then when I was 22, I was out trying (yet again) to become a runner and mentioned to my husband, "This is right about where my heart starts getting that stabbing pain when I try to exercise."
To my surprise, he gave me a wary look and said, "Your what starts to WHAT? Um, that is NOT normal, honey."
I didn't think much about it, and a few years later, when I was expecting our first baby, I experienced the "normal" dizziness of the first trimester. When I went in for a check-up around 22 weeks, I asked my midwife, "When is this dizziness and blacking out supposed to let up?" She gave me a funny look and asked me some questions, and I explained that I was unable to stand up for more than a minute or so before I began to black out. That I had to sit down in every aisle in the grocery store because otherwise I would faint. Etc. She sent me off with a referral to a cardiologist.
One echocardiogram and EKG later, I was diagnosed with mild mitral valve prolapse (MVP) with regurgitation. The cardiologist thought my symptoms all fit perfectly with the diagnosis and signs on the echo, and sent me off with a beta blocker prescription. Suddenly I could walk! And stand! Only for about 15 - 20 minutes at a time, but after nearly 20 weeks of being almost unable to move, it was wonderful.
Shortly after I delivered, my heart seemed to settle down, and I didn't have any problems (besides the normal exercise ones) until my second pregnancy, when the symptoms were worse. Beta blockers helped but not enough, and by the end of the pregnancy I had gained 45 lbs from my inability to move/stand/walk for 40 weeks.
After giving birth, it took me six months to be able to do simple things like unload the dishwasher without feeling winded. A year and a half postpartum, I finally feel good again. I've lost 25 of the 45 lbs, and I'm working on the rest.
I've also found a number of cardio exercises I can do without any pain in my heart, like walking hills on the treadmill or biking outdoors.
I'm fatter than I'd like to be, but I'm thinner than I was yesterday.
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