Anne Helen Beery

Call me Anne. That’s Anne-spelled-with-an-E like my favorite heroine Anne Shirley

Middle name Helen. Just like my first heroine, Helen Keller. Surname Beery. Obviously from my Father’s side. He really loved my great-grandmother Beery, I hope that sometimes I emulate her. 

Anne Helen Beery, a nice heroic name don’t you think? Helps some days, when it’s hard, having a name you go by that feels heroic. Gives you strength.

More than two decades ago, on a Tuesday in February, I was at Primary Children’s Hospital for open-heart surgery to repair a hole between the top two chambers of my heart (an Atrial Septal Defect: ASD). Six weeks later at my check-up visit the surgery was officially declared a success. My heart was no longer swollen, my blood pressure was up, my lungs and chest cavity were clear of fluid. I celebrated by leaving the maroon armchair in my parents’ living room for activities besides a doctor visit.

Unbeknownst to my family, the doctors, or myself, there was a complication. Some sort of communication foul up resulting in heart beats and blood pressure irregularities. After eighteen months the diagnosis came: neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS for short). A syncopal episode means fainting from a lack of oxygen to the brain. So, that’s what happened: I blacked out. A lot.

Maybe I haven’t “done it all” with NCS but I’ve certainly done a lot. Neurological exams, heart exams, tilt table tests, medications, alternative therapies, salt tablets. I’ve been through junior high, and high school, and college; dealing with insurance and a lack of insurance; hearings for disability. I’ve gone through good friends and bad friends and idiots and saints. Through Western Medicine and Eastern Medicine. Despite all of that I do have a life and you can too.

Syncope Solutions is about just that: solutions for dealing with syncope. I hope it’s helpful to you.