It was July 2019, I was 36 and healthy with bundles of energy. I was a workaholic. During this month I had caught a flu which at the time I thought would pass after a week or so. Two weeks later, it was still there, so off to the doctor for antibiotics to take for a week. This was the last time I visited my GP for months, as I hardly see my doctor.
Fast forward to mid-November, and I still couldn’t rid the cold or flu, and my cough was continuous by then. It felt like a mild cold, so being stubborn as I was, I refused to see my doctor.
From December through to March I worked night shift and during this time also had to deal with the stresses at home during the day. Then we had the COVID-19 pandemic and I became an essential worker. I had to work through-out the lockdown and I noticed that my health was starting to deteriorate. I became more fatigued. I had a continuous cough, could feel my heart beating, started to get cramps, shortness of breath, but these felt like flu symptoms, so I ignored the signs.
It wasn’t until mid-July 2020, while speaking with a co-worker, that she begged me to see my GP, and to do a
COVID-19 test. I agreed and the first week of August I had it done. The COVID test came back negative. I now wanted to get in to see my GP, to see what was going on with me. He was fully booked for days so I had to check in to the medical department and was seen by a different doctor. I was looked over, ordered to do a chest x-ray and have bloodwork drawn as he heard crackles in my lungs. I was given an asthma inhaler and sent on my way. The Chest x-ray showed that I had an enlarged heart. The blood tests confirmed that I had blood clots, and my kidney and liver function were not good. I also had high level of cardiac enzymes, so I received a call from the doctor that evening and he advised me to get to ED at the hospital immediately.
Thinking I had a cold/ chest infection I went to check in. Once I was seen in the ER, the doctor decided to do another chest x-ray and a CT scan of the chest. After the CT scan, 20 minutes later they put me on a heart monitor and the doctor explained that my lungs were congested with fluid, but she was more concerned about the right side of my heart. It was strained and my heart overall was large. I was put into the heart ward that night and the next morning was seen by a very kind cardiologist. During that examination I was told that I had a heart murmur, and the vein in my neck was at a dangerous level. My Electrocardiogram was worrying, and when the doctor did an echocardiogram, he looked at me and said, “This is serious.” Long story short, I ended up staying in the hospital for almost three weeks. The left side of my heart was regurgitating blood back into itself, causing fluid in my lungs; one of my heart valves was severely damaged. But their main concern was that I had very high levels of Troponin and it was getting higher on a daily basis. I was transferred to another hospital for 4 days to do an MRI scan, which found that my left side of my heart had inflammation, so Myocarditis was part of the problem. The next day I went to do a heart biopsy through my right neck blood vessel 5 samples were taken. I was discharged with heart medication and blood thinners with orders to rest for the next 6 months with visits to cardiac ward every 3 weeks. All my tests were coming came back negative.
I went back to work and in November 2020 did not take my medications for one week . This put me in a similar position to what was before I was diagnosed. I again was put back into the hospital for 4 days. Once out, I was very careful not to miss my meds again.
It was 2021 now and again my condition was reoccurring which again led to a two week stay in the same hospital with the same cardiologist. All tests were again done, and my heart is still enlarged with high levels of Troponin, and still inflammation in the heart muscle.
I am currently still on my heart medication with blood thinners, but now I have a rheumatologist on my case too, as I may have an autoimmune dysfunction, meaning my immune system is attacking my heart muscle as its still thinks the viral infection is still there, even though it’s gone.
Overall, I’m glad my body reacted like it did or else I wouldn’t be here to tell my story.
Unfortunately, I still have a fair way to go, but living with this condition has opened my eyes to a second chance, and to be wise on better living choices. Although my case is a mysterious one and for me being so young. I urge everyone if a loved one experiences flu like symptoms or chest pain breathlessness sore shoulders cramps get them checked out. Myocarditis can be silent but deadly. Some people will show symptoms, and others may not. Thank you for reading my story and I hope it helps others avoid the problems I have had to deal with.