behind those cryptic IG stories & kicking coffee (part 1)
over the past four weeks I’ve been in and out of Mt Sinai‘s 34th Street medical building at least 5 times. Since I’ve been so open about it on social media, i felt it would be appropriate to give the background, too, since people have expressed interest or asked me what’s going on. Here, part 1 of 2 behind what’s going on, listening to your body and KNOWING your body, that weird 90s pager-esque device that was attached to me for 24 hours, and kicking my coffee habit.
It started with (what I now know) were palpitations a few weeks back. But at the time (I was sitting at my computer at work), and I felt like my heart was beating out of my chest. When i stood up to “shake it off”, i felt light headed and off balance. I went to get some water and it didn’t subside. I got hot and took off my leather jacket, and that’s when i rally knew something was wrong. Originally i was going to walk myself to the ER but thought better of venturing outside alone with such a strange sensation overcoming my body. My amazing colleague came with me (seriously, get yourself a work fam like mine!).
Despite the 5,292,829 forms they asked me to fill out upon arrival (good thing it wasn’t a “real” emergency?!?!) exacerbating my palpitations, they sent me into an exam room where I paced back and forth taking deep breaths to calm myself down.
Eventually a nurse arrived and they took my vitals. Then the doc came in to discuss with me. My blood pressure: perfect 120/80. No way, check it again! And it was the same.
then my heart rate. “It’s actually a little low!”
so i’m like, “Um, how low? Like it’s gojng to stop beating low or I’m an athlete low?”
It was 56 BPM - totally normal for my profile. Again, I was like no way. My heart is beating out of control.
Dr. Rice was so determined to reassure me that I was fine. She asked if i wanted to do bloodwork and check my thyroid. We did a million tests including blood work. I’d have the results by the end of the week. I loved Dr. Rice so much that I scheduled a follow up physical appointment so we could review my bloodwork in person that following Monday.
All the while, I was sitting going over and over in my head what could have happened up until that point.
The night before I had dinner with my aunt and uncle in NJ. Nothing more than the usual couple glasses of red wine.
The next morning, my usual coffee intake.
Or was it?
I recall drinking, quite fast, a mug of coffee so that i could finish the pot and make a fresh one with which to fill my coffee tumbler for the commute. I hadn’t had any water that morning in a rush to get out (usually i have a glass of warm lemon water at the least).
I took breakfast to go, only problem was I couldn’t eat it on the go. I hadn’t had time to peel my hard boiled eggs so I didn’t eat them until after arriving in NYC. About 20-30 ounces of (strong) coffee, no water, no food, later.
When the “incident” happened I remember receiving an “urgent” deadline at work and making my mental to-do list:
-book flights for triathlon
-book flight for Napa wedding
-plan upcoming weekends (DC or NY?)
-make more dress appointments
-START WEDDING PLANNING!!!
My heart is literally pounding as I recall this! And then, I got a phone call from the dress showroom where I tried on a wedding gown that weekend prior.
It was all just too much and I gave myself an anxiety attack. I immediately swore off coffee.
It goes without saying that I skipped the Barrys class I was scheduled for. The following day I took it easy with a low impact/low intensity self guided cycling session. Clearly no one was interested in what i was doing. Except Mom who took this picture :)
I therapy shopped at Whole Foods and bought $50 worth of teas. I made it through a weekend of activity without coffee! My first non-coffee fueled run ever. And you know what? It was amazing. I didn’t feel “anxious”. I floated through. I’ve since discovered my love for matcha honey lattes, beet lattes (Gregory’s famous, below!), and making my own tea infusions and lattes in the morning. Note: i never said i was kicking caffeine. I said i was kicking coffee. Your body processes coffee (especially bad, cheap drip coffee) differently and it’s VERY dehydrating and frankly, i was drinking far too much of itast forward to my follow up with Dr Rice. My bloodwork came back perfect. Not one concern. But that weekend, the palpitations came back when I was in bed on Sunday night. So what the hell was going on?
Since I have a race at the end of April, I wanted to be absolutely sure my heart was healthy and stable to get into open water for the triathlon. Dr. rice understood and recommended I see Dr. Raschko, head of cardiology for Mt. Sinai. I scheduled an appointment for that week.
To be continued!