You could have a heart tumor and not even know it.
When I was 39 years old I had an experience that changed my life. I had a heart tumor. For one thing I didn't even know that heart tumors existed or that you could actually survive one. I knew about blood clots to your heart and such but a tumor, never.
It all started when I started having trouble breathing and was having shortness of breath everyday. I started taking benadryl which seemed to help but the problem was still recurring and getting worse. I was a smoker, so I started thinking that I had emphysema or lung cancer or something horrid like that. I went to the doctor and they did an EKG which seemed to look normal and sent me on my way with an inhaler because they diagnosed me with asthma. I went home.
The problem still continued and got worse, I started having very bad back aches and shoulder pain and also developed pain in my side just under my ribs so I went to the doctor once again. My pain level was increasing very quickly. This time they ran some tests and said that my gallbladder was bad and had to be removed, but that the surgery was going to be in a few days. I pleaded with them to keep me in the hospital. I was having fainting spells, I was in pain, I couldn't breath, but reluctantly, I went home. That night I collapsed at my home and my son called 911, my eyes were sunken in, my face was blue. I wasn't breathing correctly. I didn't know it then and neither did the doctors but I had a huge tumor blocking the airflow to my lungs.
Finally when I got to the hospital there was a cardiologist specialist that recognized the symptoms that others had missed. I was diagnosed with a Myxoma which is a heart tumor in the left ventricle and probably had been there since I was born. The doctor told me that most people are born with heart tumors the size of small pearls and most of the time they do not grow, in my case it grew very large. The doctor said that it was the largest tumor he had seen in a person that was still breathing. At this point I knew that I was close to death but I didn't realize how close. I had open heart surgery the next morning and the tumor was removed successfully and the color came back to my cheeks and when I woke up from surgery I felt better than I had in a very long time. I didn't care about the horrid recovery that was next, I just knew that the tumor was gone and that I was alive. Thanks to a very skilled cardiologist whom I think was an angel sent there that night.
Signs of a Myxoma
Of course the reason that Myxoma's are so hard to diagnose is that they mimic other illness's so that it makes it hard to pinpoint the tumor. If you have symptoms that I will mention below, do not settle just for an EKG, but ask for an electrocardiogram, and an ultrasound. These are really the only way to pinpoint a tumor or blood clot and doctors are reluctant to do it if they have a crowded emergency room. So be persistent, this is your health that you are concerned with, be stubborn and ask a lot of questions.
Signs and symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- back ache in neck and shoulders (pain like your back is on fire)
- a cough that will not go away
I hope that I have been of some help to others out there who did not know about these tumors. Yes they are rare but it did happen to me and it can happen to anyone. I get checked every year and so far the tumor has not grown back. If they grow back they tend to grow back within the first 4 years, and now it has been 7 years for me. I have a heart murmur because of my surgery but other than that by the grace of God go I .