Part 3: How'd I End Up In Boot Camp?!
"Oorah!" You can make it through Boot Camp. We are more than what afflicts us!
(Part 3 of 3)
A tornado picked you up of your short lived honeymoon. A whirlwind of information and elation of finding the right doctor or at least a path to one, lifted you up and over that high wall- just high enough that you felt the fall into the dirt. Face down. Aching from the forced exertion beyond your normal limits and here you are. You made it over the wall to see there are likely more to come. Welcome to MVD Boot Camp.
What is Boot Camp for? Learning to survive in many situations! It is for learning various useful skills. This is how I often tell others to view your first months or even first year of living with this dysfunction. It is not a disease where we have all the answers or many years of protocol set up to help manage this daily. Many of us vary a bit in presentation and what will work for us. This means to survive Boot Camp and move into best management, you MUST be an active participant in what is best for you. You must also be open to the fact, not much is black and white about this. New symptoms may arise. Your body may react one way and then shift again. You may have good days and whole spans of time that are symptom free (or almost) or you may have to face this will be poking at you every day. You will learn to roll with whatever arises and promptly use what you know to work or get help.
Just when you think you may have a grasp of one obstacle? It will be 5AM and the horn blaring in your ears! Up and "at 'em." Be sure there is likely more to tackle, but you will get better at it. I suppose like any differences physically in Boot Camp soldiers, some find it easier than others. One thing is for sure, this is an individual struggle. You are in it with others, fighting for the same cause as any chronic disease- quality of life. We find a lot of comfort in our fellow soldiers and offer one another a hand up when we can. At least the walls are struggled over with some brave company.
In any Boot Camp you will face some hard truths. You will find things that work and do not. If you thought you really knew yourself? Welcome to a deeper awareness that is only gained from being in the dirt. It is simply the beginning of being alert to the way you do things. Your view will be heightened. There will be lots of trial and error. Although opening our vessels and nitrates are often a main answer, traditional heart meds, curbing and understanding physical and emotional exertion, anti anxiety meds, pain control via nerve stimulation, counseling to ease life changes, meditation and holistic pathways may all be answers worth exploring as tools for your individual journey. You may find you need a few of these tools or some form of all of them. One person's way to get over a wall or symptom may not be yours.
Boot Camp demands all awareness of your body's reactions and an excellent communication with your family and friends, cardiologist, GP and Pharmacist. Whether they know it or not they are in Boot Camp with you and can assist you or hinder your management! Be sure to keep those in your squad who will be the best for your success.