It’s been a while.
8 weeks ago I had an attack of something I now know to be SVT (or supraventricular tachycardia if you want the long winded version). I’ve had funny turns with my heart since I hit puberty but this time was different. It usually manifests itself as a quick burst of palpatations where, whilst REALLY uncomfortable, would calm down within ten minutes and leave me exhausted and anxious. This lasted four hours.
My heart went at 160-200bpm for four goddamn hours.
After an hour I was rushed away in an ambulance, taken straight into resuss and given a dose of adenosine. They stopped my heart and it felt like I was being ripped apart from the inside. I’m ashamed to say I screamed. I screamed and I cried and I thought I was going to die, in all honesty I nearly did. I’m lucky my body didn’t give up on me.
Afterwards, whilst I was sobbing in a hospital gown desperately trying to get my heart rate below 100bpm, it was explained to me that this was going to happen again. An underlying condition that could happen at any minute or any day. I can do things to help it. I can avoid caffeine, drink less alcohol, stay away from exercise, but no-one really knows what causes SVT. They told me to pack myself off in an ambulance if it lasted more than 5 minutes again and that was that. Beta blockers and look after yourself.
So derby started to scare me.
For at least 3 weeks I had regular panic attacks, landing me in hospital at one point, scared that I was going to die at any minute. That one wrong move would land me back in a bad with an IV stuck in the crook of my elbow. I entirely lost my nerve at life never mind the idea of skating and knowing my heart rate would raise through the exercise.
I became more and more depressed and anxious. Sad as it sounds my only real friends in Essex are those I’ve made skating. I didn’t see anyone bar my (wonderful and very supportive) partner. I only spoke to my friends back home online and I missed companionship. I soon realised I needed to put my skates back on.If i didn’t I was never going to get better and I was never going to live my life. It felt like skating was the hurdle I needed to beat to make myself better again.
So I got back on my wheels.
I’ve been back at training for three weeks now. I was scared that I would be back at “barely standing” stage again but actually I’ve improved. I’ve got a fire in my belly again and instead of feeling scared I feel empowered. I put on my new Seaside Sirens hoodie and I feel part of something I am so proud of and I can’t wait to be more of an asset too.
I am not going to let this condition end my life. I’m not going to hide from it and I’m damn well going to play derby one day and I’m going to kick ass at it. Bring it.