As of yesterday, it’s confirmed: I have a prolapse in my mitral valve. I’m sure those of you who are less medically inclined are wondering wtf that means, so I’ll simplify it for you. Here’s a simple diagram of the valves in the heart:
image from webmd.com
In a normal, healthy heart, the blood pumps from the upper chambers into the lower chambers, and the valves close completely, preventing any backflow. Something has caused some minor damage to my mitral valve, and instead of closing tightly, it pulls back, not sealing tightly, and allowing blood to back flow back into the upper chamber. This damage is most likely caused by the high blood pressure I’ve been dealing with (and not treating) for a while now, but it’s so minor that the only way to treat it right now is to continue to take the beta blockers I was prescribed and try to avoid caffeinated beverages.
But I know it runs deeper than that. I know that the mitral valve damage is caused by the high blood pressure, and I know that the high blood pressure is caused by my unchecked anxiety. And my anxiety remains unchecked because I choose to ignore it rather than deal with finding a decent therapist because really, who can you trust? I’ve been in and out of therapy since I was 15 and it’s been a string of mediocre therapists who break my trust or I can’t feel like I can talk to with maybe one or two good ones here and there. And the best therapist I ever had was in high school, a social worker at the local youth group who turned out – I found out as an adult who reconnected with him – to be a sexual predator who went for girls my age and younger, harassed them in bars, despite being nearly the same age as my mom.
Anyway, I digress. On the flip side, the chest ultrasound was pretty cool, and I got to hear the sound of the blood flowing through my heart, which was also pretty neat. And I also recognize that my condition could be a LOT worse, and I’m thankful that it isn’t. At the same time, though, I’m kind of bummed. Why can’t I not have faulty body parts? Why is one of the most important organs in my body now taking damage? Why can’t I just be healthy and have a normal functioning body?