Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


Leave a comment

Treadmill Test : My experience

TMT-peak-ex-small

Went to the Hospital, along with Hubby,  for a Health check up last week. The package included Cardiac tests like ECG, 2D-Echo and Treadmill Test (TMT), Ultrasound scan of the Abdomen, Lipid profile, Bone Mass Density , Thyroid , Hepatitis B and C , Chem 20 etc.

After giving blood samples , we went for the Cardiac tests. ECG was taken and 2D-Echo was also done. I was not interested in doing the TMT because I was sure that I will fail the test. I am not a fan of any kind of exercise . Am too lazy to do any form of exercise and always find some excuse to skip doing any exercise. Whenever there is a need to walk real fast ,I feel some pain in the center of my chest. I always had this feeling that I have a weak heart, a heart that is unable to pump fast and hence I have this pain.

While I was getting up after the 2D-echo was completed , the technician tells me to go for the TMT. I looked at her and asked ‘should I go?’. She must have thought I am crazy. She nodded, I said Ok and walked out .

I had earlier read that TMT is recommended only after an ECG and 2D Echo are done to guage the condition of the heart. So, when the Technician recommended to go for the TMT without telling me about any hesitation or precaution , I assumed that things are normal. I came out and told hubby that I will do the TMT.

I went inside the TMT room and the Technician there quickly attached several probes all over my chest . These wires were connected to a flat rectangular device that was tightly strapped around my upper waist. Several wires from this device were connected to a Monitor next to the Tread Mill. A BP checking apparatus was strapped on my upper arm.

The Technician asked me if I have any pain in the knees. I shook my head and she then told me that the test will last approximately 8 minutes. 3 minutes at a slow speed, the next 3 minutes at a higher speed and the TreadMill would be slightly inclined and the last 2 minutes the speed would be further increased and further inclined. She also told me to tell her if I experienced any pain.

I start walking and felt quite comfortable for 6 minutes. I was ready for the last two minutes and was getting prepared to tell her to stop if required. I stopped looking at the time on the monitor and continued to walk. I did not experience any pain and I completed the 2 minutes too. The Treadmill was stopped abruptly and I was told to sit down on the chair next to the TreadMill. I did not like the way the TreadMill was stopped suddenly.I had always read that it is not correct to abruptly stop running or jogging and one has to gradually reduce the speed and then stop.

The moment I sat down I noticed that my heart was racing. Felt as though it would burst or it may stop. All the probes were still connected and the Technician was watching the monitor. I was scared and was angry with myself for going ahead with the test. What if I had a Heart attack now. Funny thing was that I didn’t feel my heart beating this fast while doing the last 2 minutes. It was only when I sat down, that the beating could be felt.

I was sitting and telling my heart to slow down …please slow down …. please be good and calm down …. I started taking long breaths hoping the heart will slow down quickly . Oh My God those three minutes of my heart racing was a scary experience.

Finally took a long breath and was able to smile. All the while I was telling the Technician that I had never exercised this hard.

I successfully completed the test and all the parameters were normal. Yayyy , I did it !! ūüôā

i__m_so_happy___by_satinchappals-d4z2qqz

So glad I don’t have to worry about my Heart any more. But I need to get back to my walking routine which I had stopped.

My conclusion : One can go ahead with the Treadmill Test without any hesitation as the Technician would know whether the person should go ahead or not. But it is advisable to have a Cardiologist around during the process.

Had read that there is an alternative method to stimulate the heart by injecting a medication, The patient would be in a resting state while the heart beat would increase and the parameters would then be monitored.  This method is used for those who are unable to walk on the Treadmill for various reasons.

 


Leave a comment

My experience with Meditation

image

There are a lot of people all over the world who are able to manage and control chronic illnesses with Meditation. Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Stress, Anxiety , Depression and Cancer too can be ‘managed’ well by including meditation as a part of your daily routine.

My curiosity about meditation and yoga began about 15 yrs ago.
I wanted to learn to meditate but didn’t know what it was all about.

I bought books on Meditation. All the books mentioned a wonderful experience and wrote about a lot of steps and discipline that are required to reach that blissful state. I got discouraged reading all this. I even feared it , thinking I would die during meditation , especially after reading about yogis who pass on during meditation . This is called ‘Samadhi’

I continued reading up on the Internet .

I came across various methods to meditate. Some of them are ..

  • Staring at an object a little away from you. A flower or a candle should do.
  • Sitting with closed eyes and trying to concentrate on the gap between two consecutive thoughts.
  • Focusing on various parts of the body starting from top to the bottom while relaxing those parts of the body.
  • Gently focusing ¬†on the point between the eyebrows with closed eyes.
  • Chanting a mantra etc

I later came across various spiritual organizations that taught meditation. But, I was not ready to accept any Guru.

I continued reading and one day came across ‘Chakra meditation’.
This particular method appealed to me. I read about it several times and one day decided to try it out.I had read enough of theory and was confident and ready for some practicals :))
The experience I had was indescribable. I couldn’t discuss my experience with anyone.

During the process of  meditation all the chatter in my mind had stopped. Breathing was very slow and steady.  I was not able to feel my body, only  a part of the face, the throat, and the breath. It was as if the body had disappeared and expanded into a balloon , this balloon had a diameter of a few meters. There was a lot of energy in this balloon.It was a peaceful state and all was still , as though time was frozen.

This was my first experience. There was no way of knowing if all those who meditate have the same/similar/better experience.The experience was good and I was happy that I was able to ”meditate” without a Guru :))

Soon all was forgotten.

One day , a few years later , I learned that a course was being held by a spiritual organization , close to where I lived. I joined the course hoping to know more about meditation. They didn’t teach any meditation but I learned Pranayama and other rhythmic breathing techniques which are supposed to improve our health and¬†clarity in the mind.

Later on, I also did the Meditation course conducted by the same organisation. The experience was just ok . I ¬†was unable to sit for long periods with my spine erect during all those different kinds of meditation sessions. It was painful ūüôā

Once in a while, I would practice Pranayama followed by Meditation. Each time my experience was different.

I have now begun to meditate regularly. So glad that I had learnt to meditate .

Advantages of Meditation :Thoughts too create havoc in the body. Meditation helps in calming the mind which in turn helps the body to relax and heal.

  • Clarity in the mind.
  • A reduction in unnecessary thoughts which drain your energy.
  • One feels calm and peaceful within.
  • Better management of chronic illnesses.
  • Feel more energetic.
  • Deep Rest. It is said that 15 mins of deep meditation is equivalent to 4 hrs of deep sleep.
  • Improves the immune system.
  • Stress relief.
  • Reduction in Anxiety.
  • …and many more

I too had a lot of doubts about meditation dulling the mind. But NO , it helps you to be more efficient as all the clutter is out of your system and you feel more energetic.

image

Here is an easy method to make a beginning  :

  1. Sit in sukhasana (cross legged) on a mat on the floor.The spine should be erect.You can also sit on a chair or lean on a wall. You can use pillows/cushions to ensure your spine and head are upright.Place your open palms facing upward on your lap/knees .
  2. Gently close your eyes.
  3. Gently try to focus your eyes at the center of your eyebrows. Do not  apply any pressure while doing this.
  4. Start observing your breath going deep inside your lungs and also observe the air going out through your nose.
  5. Continue to observe your breath.
  6. If your mind wanders , try to gently push the thought away  and bring back your focus to your breath. You can even arrive at a solution to whatever that is bothering you and gently push the thought away.
  7. Continue to bring back your focus to your breath.
  8. Sit in this position for as long as you can.You can also set a timer for 15 mins. It is okay if you are unable to sit for 15 minutes initially. Do this for as long as you can.
  9. Slowly open your eyes while cupping them with your hands.

Initially the process seems irritating as you are unable to focus on your breath and the mind continues to wander. Regular practice will definitely help in focusing and thereby to reach a state of thoughtlessness and the benefits should follow.

The practice can be done anytime during the day. Ensure your stomach is not full , should be almost empty. The best time to meditate is before having breakfast , lunch or dinner.

Where can one learn to Meditate ? 

There are several organizations that conduct regular meditation courses all over the world. You can earn from more than one and choose the one that you are more comfortable with.Take your time to accept the process. There’s no hurry.

A lot of CDs and YouTube videos are available which can help you make a beginning. Once you learn the technique you no longer need any external aid and you will be able to meditate anywhere.

Your experiences are unique to you. We need not compare with others experiences. Just go ahead and enjoy the feeling.

Practicing any art form makes the mind stay calm. These are wonderful methods to calm your mind. Any hobby is good too.

I am enjoying writing these posts and it is definitely helping my mind to stay calm.

Benefits of Meditation have been proven scientifically.

~~Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthihi ~~