Boy, has 2016 been some kind of year! It’s been the year of political changes, more than time-811026_1920the country’s share of celebrity death’s, personal health issues for me as well as within my family – so ready for a MUCH better 2017!

2016 for me started out the 1st day of January with the news that my mom suffered a ‘mini-stroke’, so of course my natural instincts led me to literally stop what I was doing here and drive 6-1/2 hours to where she resides to care for her and get her well. I eventually ended up staying there through March, 2016. Thankfully she quickly recovered from that and is doing just fine. Because I cared for her 10 hours per day as well as me trying to continue to work my job as a transcriptionist, that in turn caused stress to my body which created a new diagnosis (along with my other health issues) called PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) or heart flutters.  That is a very unnerving feeling when you literally feel your heart beating so fast, as though it is wanting to ‘leap’ out of your chest! Thanks to my wonderful cardiologists here at Emory that they were able to pinpoint which type of heart flutters (not severe) I was experiencing and how to alleviate it. Along with the heart flutters/palpitations and further inquiry into my condition, it was discovered (according to the docs) that I suffered from anxiety…… another diagnosis to be added to my many issues.  I do have to admit that because I’m older, have experienced menopause and other life stressors, I do believe I was a bit anxious.  That diagnosis in turn subjected me to take an antianxiety medication called sertraline. In the past, I was very adamant about taking any type of anxiety/depression medications because of their side effects, but after some convincing by my primary care physician, I reluctantly decided to take it. Surprisingly, it worked very well for me!  Things that got me very uptight, didn’t even seem to matter. I actually was more alert, especially with paying attention to detail (my job as a transcriptionist) and other domestic things.  Only thing though, through my research, I discovered on my own that taking any SSRI/antianxiety medication was extremely detrimental to my glaucoma. Needless to say, I had no choice but to stop taking sertraline. (sigh)

Now by this time, it’s 6 months into 2016 and here we go with several celebrities just literally suddenly dying, either by way of heart issues, drug overdoses or something, as well as all the political hype/news of electing a new POTUS. The post-election outcome? Well, let’s just say it was startling to most in this country. It too led to people literally becoming sick, having to seek care at a hospital and/or doctor’s office!

Because I love the body’s anatomy so much, how things work in the body, the heart as well as other organs, I had taken part in a cardiac research study (which is still ongoing). One of the things I truly learned from that study was a technique in learning different types of relaxation – breathing techniques and heart relaxation.  This has been key for me in relieving the anxiety, no need for any antianxiety medication!  It is a technique I can utilize every day, 5-6 times per day. Who would’ve thought that a cardiac research study – a study of how your heart reacts to situations post a heart attack – would relieve a problem with anxiety?  That’s one of the reasons I love medicine!

It’s the eve of New Year’s Eve at the writing of this blog – praying that these last 48 hours of 2016 will just be quiet, calm and go away without any more shocking news headlines.

2017 here I come!!! I’m so looking forward to you! I’ve already made just a few small changes going into 2017 – new place of worship, change of mindset, taking measures to becoming educated and working in a new career change (still in healthcare) despite my many diagnoses – it’s all in that change of mindset and believing for better health as well as looking forward to new things as I feel I still have so much more to contribute in this world in making a difference! I’m looking forward to more peace, less drama, believing in better health and more happiness and laughter in 2017!

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