I remember having my first SVT attack like it was yesterday. To be honest, the only reason why I remember was because I was 15 years old waiting in the queue in Sainsbury's with my mum and Tom Hardy was behind me. I had a fan girl moment and he realised I knew who he was even though he had a bad disguise.
On the walk back from Sainsbury's, I couldn't stop talking about what had just happened. My mother had enough of me reciting the same story. "Nadira, I was right next to you," said mum. I accidently dropped my keys on the floor, I bent down and stood up and my heart started beating in a way I had never felt before. My heart was racing, I didn't know what it was. I have never had palpitations before. My hands were clammy and I was finding it hard to breath. My chest felt like I had 10 briefcases - I grabbed my chest tightly.
My mother called an ambulance. The paramedics came within minutes. Everything in the ambulance was a blur. My head was spinning. The worst thing for a 15-year-old girl going through puberty is having a male paramedic ripping your top open to put ECG stickers. The blue lights were on and I knew that something wasn't right. The only way to describe the pain was like having a heart attack. Anyone who knows me probably, thinks I'm being a tad dramatic but that was the only way I could describe it. The feeling was unbearable, all I wanted was the pain to stop.
As soon as we arrived at the hospital I went straight into resuscitation (resus), which was my first time. It felt like an episode out of Holby City. There was an army of doctors and nurses waiting and I had a blanket to cover my dignity. I had no idea what was going on. The cardiologist explained to me that I had an irregular rhythm. He said my heart tracing showed I was in SVT. He told me that SVT was a type of irregular heart rhythm. The next minute, the machines were beeping and my heart was racing at 265 beats per minute. The doctor said he had to administrate a drug called adenosine and that it would feel strange. At the same time, a nurse was putting crash pads on my chest. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced.
Any person with a heart condition will know how scary it is when adenosine is administrated, especially when the doctor is explaining the risk of your heart going to cardiac arrest. Having adenosine can only be described as your heart stopping for a few seconds and you are about to die. The sensation only lasts for a few seconds and luckily for me I only needed one unit - the drug worked and my chest instantly felt normal. At the time, I was relieved it was over. I was hoping that experience would be the last, but little did I know that SVT would become a nuisance for over the next 6 years.
I have been on various medications from beat blockers to steroids. The medication would make my blood pressure drop, cause me to feel very tried and weak. I had many heart surgeries. I have had so many hospital admissions that it's gotten to the point where I know most of the A&E staff from porters, receptionist to consultants. I even know most of the ambulance crews in North London and know when my favourite doctors are on shift. Hospitals have become my new second home.
Despite all the challenges and hurdles, I still lead a normal life. The last few months have been amazing, not only have I enjoyed a well-deserved break but my fourth heart procedure has worked. Even though I haven't had an attack in months, and could still experience another, I'm excited to begin my new journey.
SVT is simply a pain the arse. Sometimes I feel embarrassed when I have a SVT attack, because it happens most of the time. SVT can have serious consequences but it's important for any person dealing with a condition to listen to your body and know when to slow down.
Having SVT has made me appreciate the NHS. Not only do they give their all but they also work long hard hours with limited resources. I wouldn't achieve my goals without the support of my amazing cardiologist and the wonderful St Marys hospital A&E team especially Dr Serena, who encouraged me to have fun and do what I want.
To anyone who has just been diagnosed with a heart condition, don't let the countless hospital admissions stop you from doing what you want to do. I have achieved so much in the last few years that I didn't expect to. It takes time to find the right treatment plan, but patience and a good book to keep you company is the key.