Living with Wolff Parkinson White syndrome
Hi, my name is Stacy and I am 19 years old. I was a very healthy child and was always very active and played netball every week. I remember having moments throughout my childhood where I would feel very odd and feel lightheaded and spaced out but we thought nothing of it.
In October 2006 (I was 16 years of age), I started to experience severe chest pain and was taken into A&E by my mum. I was in hospital for a few days and they investigated me for costochondritis (inflammation in the cartilage of the ribs joining to the sternum) and was monitored as the chest pain continued.
One day whilst in hospital I started to feel very drowsy and this was the start of my first proper Wolff Parkinson White syndrome (WPW) episode. My pulse went very high, my sats dropped and I started to lose consciousness and the doctors were called and stopped the episode. I was later on diagnosed with WPW. Luckily I did not have the condition too badly, although it still affected me regularly and interfered with my everyday life. I found stairs difficult and regularly had to leave class due to experiencing an episode. I then had ablation surgery in August 2007 for WPW.
After the surgery I did not experience any symptoms (palpitations, shaking, breathlessness, chest pain or dizziness) for a couple of months. I experienced chest pain again whilst on holiday with my school in November 2007. After this, I had a recurrence of old symptoms and I was later diagnosed with an atrial flutter. This only affected me in a minor way and I had a second ablation in February 2008. After this second operation I was finally cured, and apart from a few minor symptoms every now and again I am back to full fitness and I am now a student midwife at Kings College London University and run and dance happily every week 🙂
I want to send my support to all the other young people that have been diagnosed with a heart problem. I know how it feels to have frequent symptoms and how frightening it can be. I also know how alone you can feel and how tired you can get with the constant reminder of what condition you have, the constant tests and symptoms and the want to be normal and healthy. I also now know what it is like to be cured and that however bad your experience was, with the support of loved ones and the ability to remain strong in low times, you can still go on to achieve great things.
I thought that I would be too ill to start my midwifery course last September, but now I am doing 12 and a half hour shifts and still partying in between 🙂
I just want to send support out to you and your families and remind you that despite what condition you have, you can still achieve great things.