To Tell or Not to Tell


My husband is gone right now, on an all expense paid vacation to an exotic locale. Which really isn't anything unusual in this household.

And, really, I'm okay with it. I've got the routine down pat at this point. The kids have their chores, I keep up on my things, and for those frustrations it sometimes feels like I can't talk about to anyone - you know, those ones I would normally talk out with my husband in bed at night? Well, I go hit things at the gym. That heavy bag, it's an amazing therapist.

But. There's always a but, right? There's always a monkey somewhere with a karmic wrench to throw into the works. I got one of those two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago my coach told me in no uncertain terms that I either go see my doctor for a breathing problem I'd been having in class, or I wouldn't be welcome back in class. They take near-fainting spells pretty seriously, I think it might be a liability issue.

So I did. I assumed I had asthma and had been avoiding the doctor's office because I didn't want it on my medical record. I mean, who would? I was fine, I wasn't dying or anything. Just having a hard time breathing sometimes. And with the horror stories I've heard of people getting stopped from overseas moves or other moves because of some silly medical diagnosis that really wasn't any big deal to speak of - well, you can see how I didn't want to deal with that kind of baggage if I didn't have to.

And I was very angry about being forced into making what I assumed was asthma into something official.

Except that it wasn't asthma. After several tests, my regular doctor informed me that I had heart issue that was causing her serious concern and referred me to a cardiologist. Along with the referral, I had several other recommendations to follow, based on the assumption that my issues were as serious as they looked - heart disease in a 36 year old female is generally not a good diagnosis to work from.

It was truly awful. I wasn't allowed to work out for a while, and when I was allowed to return to working out, it was with some rather severe limitations. I had to completely switch up my diet from the one I had been following. I had to walk around with heart monitors, checking my heart rate and my blood pressure many times a day. And my fingers began to feel like hamburger from testing my blood sugar levels at different times of the day, as well.

I was stressed beyond belief, not only because of a looming sentence from a medical problem that was potentially the end of the life our family had mapped out (we've got a move coming up to a place that a heart condition would disqualify us from in two seconds flat), the end of the one exercise program that has worked for me in 15 years, and the advent of my use of those day-by-day pill organizers - but also because there was no one I could really talk to about the knot in my gut that was getting larger by the day. I mean, a heart problem doesn't seem like the huge issue compared to some of the things other people I know are going through. I would just need to take some medicine and chill out. That's not such a big deal, right? Why should I be freaking out? And yet, inside I was.

The other problem I was having was whether or not to tell my husband. On the one hand, that's what married people do - they tell each other their problems. And it's probably not normal for a married person to not inform their spouse when a significant medical issue arises. On the other hand... I didn't want my husband worrying about me when he should have his head on his game. It's an issue military spouses try to figure out every day. To tell, or not to tell? This isn't a "normal" life, this can be life or death for them or the people they are with.

I decided to tell. Sort of. It was an, "Oh, by the way. This is no big deal, just the doctor who needs to CYA. Just so you know I'm getting some tests done. Totally routine," kind of telling, but I told. And apparently I was very convincing at it, because Air Force Guy didn't ask another question about how I was doing in regards to my heart issues (he's normally an easily freaked out guy with medical issues. Someday I'll tell the story of our first home-birth, he could have been the basis for a TV sit-com with his reactions to that one).

Last week the cardiologist evaluated me and lifted all my restrictions - apparently my heart problem wasn't a problem, it was normal for someone with my level of physical activity. I could not stop talking about how awesome I felt, how awesome it was to not only be told I'm fine, but that I'm really super healthy. And I think it finally dawned on AFG that I had completely sanitized the issue before passing it on to him.

And I also think he didn't like that feeling one bit. But, considering the amount of sanitization going on in the information that he passes along to me, I hope he understands why I did it.

I'm still not sure if it was the right thing to do, I'm just sure that I was very lucky in how this turned out.

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