Takotsubo

It was a day like any other day – until it wasn’t.

Rocking the elliptical to A Hard Day’s Night, I suddenly stopped. Did some invisible vice just clamp on to my chest? The Beatles still blared in my headset, I started to pump again . . . nope . . . can’t breathe. Off the machine . . . slowly out the club door into the sweltering day. I watched my feet in slow motion as the sun magnified everything. Sweat dripped through my pores. The elephant sitting on my chest was an unbelievable load. Takotsubo? The heart blows out in the shape of a Japanese octopus trap. Really? And everything slowed down to match the thick soup of summer’s oppressive heat. If you’re a woman who lives with stress, or has lived through stress, you should know the word: Takotsubo. I didn’t. Until I did.

octopus seeks its prey
eight suctioned tentacles grab and twist
latch on to suck out life

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It’s haibun Monday at dVerse Poet’s Pub where Toni is tending bar. She asks us to write a haibun (one paragraph of prose followed by a haiku) that relates to hot hot hot — perhaps a memory from a hot summer day. This is my memory. My experience. I urge all readers to read about Takotsubo, sometimes called Broken Heart Syndrome. It is real and frightening. In most cases, women completely recover with no lasting damage to the heart. I am, fortunately, one of those women, although it took three months. We must all learn to handle stress in our lives. It is a matter of life and death. Photo on left is a Japanese octopus catcher. Xray on right  shows the left portion of the heart blown out like a takotsubo….the heart does not pump efficiently. Take care of yourself out there!