It wasn't until my first pregnancy that the effect of Pectus Excavatum got exasperated in my daily living. It had been my constant, elusive companion since birth, but it wasn't something that any medical practitioner would pay much attention to until my early thirties...in fact... no docter would even refer to it by name. "There's nothing wrong with you", would become, to me, the most unnerving verdict given amid many a medical investigation.
It was, in retrospect, the loneliest road I've ever walked.
"You have a supraventricular arrhythmia, it's nothing"
"You have constant reflux and heartburn because the lower esophageal sphincter is not closing, it's nothing"
"You have a fairly small hiatal hernia near you esophagus which is causing some discomfort...it's nothing"
"You ribcage is pressing against your heart and you're just feeling every heartbeat, it's nothing "
"The referred pain down your left arm and up you neck doesn't mean anything"
"Your SATS are fine, you can't be short of breath"
"You only have a cosmetic, esthetic, gaping cave in your chest wall ...if you were emosionally mature it would be nothing"
" You have anxiety disorder"
So what happened during my first pregnancy? I spent the last month on bed rest, before our baby was born at 36 weeks. Prior to bedrest, I had trouble driving to work without needing to pull over due to dizziness and breathlessness. At work the active therapy sessions I had with physically and mentally impaired children, caused the muscles in my upper and lower extremities to become completely stiff and I'd be gasping for air whilst fighting the lightheadedness.
At that time the involved specialists took my complaints seriously, but still could not find clear answers, with me lying in a hospital bed.
It is a pity life doesn't happen lying down all day, I dare say.
After recovering from a cesarean section, I realised that the symptoms didn't return to the "normal" that I was used to for all these years. My heart and my chest were bothering me a lot more and it left me struggling with anxiety again.
I found an electrophysiologist and a cardiothoracic surgeon on the internet. Then, in 2019 I had cardiac ablations done and found out I was pregnant again, after being scheduled for the Nuss procedure. I was 16 weeks pregnant at the time of the Nuss procesure. Though controversial maybe, for me, it was worth it because of the third trimester issues I had to face previously.
I had no breathing difficulties in my second pregnancy and was still gardening up until I gave birth. I was not feeling my heart pounding in my chest anymore. By the time our baby arrived, I had recovered enough from the surgery to be able to cope with the demands postpartum.
I consider myself extremely fortunate, thinking of how my lonely road at the end, crossed paths with a knowledgeable, capable surgeon and how it changed my quality of life in ways hard to explain.Back to Reports