Hello, my name is Peggy. For me finding out I had MVP was a great weight lifted off my shoulders, as odd as that may sound.
About three years ago [this page was written in early 1999] I had my first encounter with MVP and didnít know it. It was diagnosed as a panic attack. I was driving home from Orlando to Miami. It was a dark, rainy night, about 1:00 a.m. and there was no one on the roads. I only saw an occasional car.
I began to feel really strange. I could tell my heart was beating fast, and I felt like there were bugs crawling up my legs. I started to get these "waves" of tingling rushing up from my ankles to my thighs. I felt like I wanted to stop the car and get out and run around it a couple times - that this would stop the tingling. But, since it was a cold rainy night, I did not do this. I was only 5 miles from the next rest area where I could stop and get a cup of coffee. I never made it.
The symptoms quickly got more intense. I found myself feeling sort of faint, and I felt like my head was full of pressure, like it could explode. My throat became extremely dry. My teeth started chattering and I could not get them to stop. I was trembling. I just didnít feel right. I knew something really horrible was going on. My first thought was either a stroke or a heart attack. Since I was only 38 and had not become familiar with the symptoms of either of these attacks it was only a guessing game. Nonetheless, I knew something was wrong.
I pulled over and called 911 from my cell phone. The EMTís quickly arrived. When they got there they took my blood pressure and found it to be 210/180. They put me in the ambulance and took me to nearest hospital which was a 45 minute ride from where we were.
By the time we got to the hospital most of the symptoms had disappeared. The ER doctor took 2 minutes to look me over, and quickly told me I had an "anxiety reaction" (I had explained to him that I had just had a very emotional weekend during which my grandfather had to move to a nursing home). He prescribed Xanax and sent me on my way.
After that incident I was fine until I had another "panic attack" while driving. I had most of the same symptoms I had on the first occasion. When this happened a third time I certainly thought it was all in my head. I just knew I didnít feel well, and was afraid to drive.
I went to see my primary care physician and he agreed with the diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. This threw me back. I could not imagine why, after all these years of being so headstrong and goal oriented, my mind could suddenly start playing these nasty little tricks on me.
Over the next couple of years my panic attacks turned into a general anxiety disorder, where I felt some level of anxiety on a daily basis. It affected every aspect of my life. Since my major panic attacks had happened while driving, I began to have a phobia about driving. Most of the time I could make it to the local grocery store and did okay within a 5 mile radius from home, but on occasion even this was not possible and I would end up turning around and coming right back home.
All the things I used to love to do quickly became an impossibility. I used to love to visit the local Parrot Jungle and watch the birds. I used to love to drive, as it was a very relaxing thing for me to do. Before this illness I loved to shop, going to the malls with my sisters, or friends and even this became a distant memory. I had become a prisoner in my own home.
Over the three years I had the anxiety disorder it changed in its symptoms. If any of you have read the multitude of symptoms that come along with MVP syndrome - I have had them all. They have not all necessarily come at the same time, but have evolved from a having just a few to have most of them at the same time.
I started to become so despondent because of the symptoms and thinking that I was now a "nut case" and not the person I used to be that it caused my mind to go places I did not want it to go. I would wake up in the middle of the night with the most horrible nightmares, screaming out loud. I would have good days, where I felt "normal" again. These days were few, but they did come. I would look forward to them. It was a refreshing time, where I felt I could see some light coming in from the darkness that surrounded me. But then the other days were so dark. I could not function. If I could explain the way I felt in just a few words, I would have to say it was like I was standing on the very edge of a cliff and all it would take is the smallest breeze to come along and blow me over into the ravine below, knowing that if I ever got there, there would be no turning back. My sanity would be totally gone. I was certainly on the verge of literally loosing my mind.
I made several trips to my doctor each time explaining the different types of symptoms I was having, telling him that they are very real. Each time I would get the "anxiety" talk, and how chemicals in my body may be a little off. At first I didnít buy it, but after hearing this for three years I started believing it. What could be done for this? Am I going to end up in a mental institution, I wondered. No! I had to hang on with every ounce of strength I could muster.
About the same time I started having this disorder, I had started going back to church after having been away for several years. I quickly gained a the belief that this was an emotional/chemical imbalance in me and figured the only way I was going to get healed of this was to have faith in the one who created me to begin with. Anyway, I had my pastor and others praying for me, and of course I prayed as well.
After awhile, I couldnít understand why after all the prayers that were going up to God my anxiety continued, and at times felt like it was even getting worse. But, I did not give up. We all just continued to be diligent in our prayers. I remember asking God "Well God, If you canít heal me, at least let me understand why this is going on so I can deal with it" I just couldnít believe I was going crazy.
God has answered my/our prayers. In August of 1999 I learned I had mitral valve prolapse, confirmed by an echocardiogram. I was fortunate enough to visit a cardiologist who recognized all my symptoms and tested me for MVP. He said that certainly the symptoms I explained to him were typical of those with MVP.
I quickly came home and logged on to the Internet. I found out there are thousands of people out there who have been suffering the same symptoms I have. I would talk to people on forums and such, and I knew them all so well. We had everything in common.
So, here I am, finally understanding what is going on. I have not only MVP, but MVPS with all the symptoms. In the three months since learning of this, my symptoms have, for the most part, disappeared. It is truly Godís grace. I needed only to understand and to be reassured that I was not going crazy, that there is a name and a reason for what was going on with me. The only thing that remains are migraine headaches, and a small problem driving longer distances.
It used to be when my heart would start racing at 130 to 140 beats per minute I would get scared, not knowing what is going on. Now when it happens, I know that usually within a half hour or so, it will be gone. So I just sit back, relax, and wait. The fear of the unknown no longer causes me to end up in a full blown panic attack.
I certainly hope that this site will help others understand the disease (if it can be called that) much better, and help them to not be afraid of the symptoms.
I am slowly getting my life back, and I do give praise to God. He has replaced the fear and depression with joy and peace.
If you are dealing with this disease alone, without the help of God, you are fighting a battle that you can not win on your own. I would like to encourage you to seek him out. Learn how he can help heal you - for he can and he will.
As in my case, it may not be an "instant" miracle, but he is faithful and he loves us so much. If you donít know Jesus Christ, please click on my HOME button above. When you get to my home page, please click on the sentence "Is there life after death / Do you want to know your future".