Cardiomyopathy, or “A strange thing happened to my heart.”

Warning:  Don’t read this if you are a hypochondriac in any way.  A virus snuck up on my heart and attacked it!  Seriously.  Now I have a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy and, because of the cardiomyopathy, I have heart failure.  Cardiomyopathy is an enlarged heart, meaning that my heart  can no longer pump blood well.  My heart stretched in order to adapt  to  try to pump  more blood.  As it stretches, it is less able to pump, and so it goes, weakening further.  Heart failure does NOT mean that my heart has failed, just that it is failing.  I like to just say my heart’s having a hard time doing what it needs to do.

A cardiac MRI showed that my heart is scarred from a virus and now both the left and the right ventricle are compromised.  For a while I was aysmptomatic, except for fatigue, aches and pains.  And who doesn’t have that??  Now I have some other complications, such as edema or swelling.  

Sometimes people get cardiomyopathy due to a heart attack or very high blood pressure.  In those cases, the left ventricle is usually compromised first, which in turn compromises the right ventricle over time.  In my case, it appears that the right ventricle is the most compromised, with the left ventricle moderately compromised.  

hmmm…things I’ve learned:  For all of those people out there who do too much ALL THE TIME, don’t assume your fatigue is due to normal wear and tear; fatigue isn’t always or only due to depression; and ladies, don’t let the doctors blame everything on peri-menopause.  Oh, and watch out for aches and pains,  significant weight gain or weight loss.  

More later on treatment and life the way it is now:)

Anyone else reading this with a heart or health story to share?

Coming soon:  How to be brave and other lessons I learned from my children and my husband.  

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One thought on “Cardiomyopathy, or “A strange thing happened to my heart.”

  1. Thank you so much for explaining… Do we know where the virus came from? Modern science is amazing. It’s great that the doctors and you can keep track of all the intricate changes–and I can’t wait to hear the reports about how your heart “remodels” itself! Love.

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