Wow that’s so interesting!
Rachel Rieger

Hi Rachel, thanks for your response. I’m sorry about the auto-immune issues – I’m sure that makes the reassurance part more difficult.

One of my triggers was the sudden death of my father from a heart attack aged only 47, so I’ve spent much of my life anticipating the same fate. It’s pretty bad as there are definitely cardiovascular issues that run in my family and yet I have trained myself to ignore life-threatening symptoms! So it’s always in the back of my mind, ‘what if…’

But, I have a few things on my side. My mother’s genes for a start. No heart issues there. That’s half! Also environmental factors. I can control my own lifestyle, so I try somewhat to eat reasonably and exercise. I don’t smoke (my dad smoked like a chimney, though he was always trying to give up 😕).

Also, about five years ago I had a bout of severe palpitations which were really alarming – even to my GP, and so (thanks to my work’s private medical insurance) I had every heart examination going, from an echocardiogram to a 24 hour holter monitor to a cardiac MRI scan with contrast dye injection. And you know what... Yes I have a weird thing with ectopic beats (which whilst uncomfortable, are not life threatening – I had 4,100 in a day whereas normal would be about 50), I can tell you categorically that at that point, when I was 32, my heart was absolutely beautiful. An incredible, intricate working machine! It was really quite something to see it beating away, keeping me alive. I felt guilty and ridiculous for slagging it off. It’s perfect. So I decided to have faith, believe in the results, trust in this top cardiologist, and trust in my heart. And that’s been keeping me going ever since.

I know that the only way I can sustain this belief long-term is to continue to lead as healthy a lifestyle I can (whilst thoroughly enjoying myself) as it’s the only thing I have control over. I also try to really embrace the now just in case! I try to appreciate every day. And to be honest, even if I did die suddenly, personally I would be okay with it. Life has been wonderful. I’ve been incredibly lucky. I’d just miss everyone, and feel upset for my lovely daughter.

Goodness, I have rambled on for ages! I have no idea if that answers your question! Please feel free to let me know more about your situation if you feel comfortable sharing, and thanks so much for reading! X

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