Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Back Home...with recovery on my mind.

WOW! If that doesn't sound like a country song I don't know what does....

First I want to say thank you all for your kind notes, prayers and well-wishes...AND a special thank you to my awesome daughter Jackie...for being the sweetest most beautiful guest blogger ever!!

Secondly, here's a bit of an update on what was found with my catheterization of the heart yesterday. First, I am a bit sore and I have to stay pretty inactive for the next few days. No lifting, stooping, bending, picking up anything over 5 pounds, no CROSSING my legs, no going upstairs...and no driving...none of that fun stuff. Really, seriously I think this is one of the hardest parts...there are days you wish you could just lay around and do nothing w/o any guilty feelings what so ever...but then when you get the chance (even though I would never wish this chance on anyone) you find yourself wanting to do EVERYTHING you can't do. Hmmmm I guess there is no making me happy! LOL:)

Now the results of the test were a bit surprising and then again, not so much, if that makes ANY sense! It was a great relief to know what has been going on and why...and that I am NOT going crazy or imagining any of this. First, I have 3 blockages...not one, as initially thought...and the major blockage is in a vein called the Ramus that intersects with the Left Anterior Descending artery (the big one)...this blockage is at 75 to 80% according to the 2 doctors I spoke with's not a major artery, but it can still cause some trouble. Also, b/c it does intersect with the L.A.D. and the narrowing or stenosis at or just below the intersection of these 2 arteries...makes it very difficult to stint and result in a great amount of success...PLUS unknown to any of us...I seem to have very tiny arteries and veins...whodda thunk? Secondly, I do have another blockage in the largest section of the L.A.D. which seems to be at best guess around 50 to 60%. There is also another small artery that is a part of the L.A.D. that has some blockage right at the opening of it and the main L.A.D. again...these 2 are very hard to stint. So, this is the plan. The doctors have started me on a statin and will increase the dosage over the next couple of this time I am taking 20mg...but they most likely will increase this amount to at least 40mg. They also started me on a beta-blocker, to slow my heart rate. I DO NOT have high blood pressure...but b/c of the 3 blockages and the fact that I have tiny arteries, they want to slow the heart rate down a bit to help it from having to "overwork" itself. It's kind of like the doctor said, with my family history, I need my roads to be major highways...but unfortunately I just have tiny back roads for my blood to travel, so they are trying to make that journey a little less taxing! Great analogy, eh? So, b/c they don't recommend stinting...this is the plan...I will continue to take 2 baby aspirin a day, take the statins, and beta on not stressing my heart too much for the next few weeks, eat low fat and heart healthy (which basically I've always tried to do) and then I check back in with the doctor on week 3. I will be evaluated, my blood levels will be checked and I will document if and when I have any more chest pains. If this all starts heading in a positive direction, meaning lessened or no more chest pains AND my LDL and Cholesterol continues to come down...then we will progress as aggressively for the next round. If it is found at anytime during this treatment that I am not heading toward a recovery, then we will be faced with by-pass surgery...but b/c I am so keenly aware right now, my doctors have really taken an aggressive approach, and I know what to do and not do...I really feel that this approach is going to be the choice of treatment that suits me very well at this time. My sweet nurse told me yesterday..."I know they are working very hard on finding a drug that can dissolve or do away with the existing plaque, so hopefully, this will happen very soon and you can take advantage of it". I hope so too, but until then...I am really being careful, pro-active and hopefully very mindful of how important it is to stay on top of this...and of course be faithful with taking my medications. I am not happy about the diagnosis...but I certainly am relieved to have figured it out, NOW we have a game plan...and we will follow that plan to a "T". If that plan doesn't work to my advantage...I am thankful that there is a plan B! But, I know I am in God's hands, he has held me steady throughout and he will continue to be here for me...always. I find comfort in knowing that he is guiding my journey...and he knows the path so much better than I look to Him for complete peace and guidance throughout this journey. Hey, I'm not done yet, I've got blogs to write...remember!! I was so grateful yesterday, when my doctor looked me straight in the eyes and said, "WE are going to attack this aggressively and I promise we will not sit on the sidelines and let what happen to your brother, mother and father happen to you!" I know he can't make promises...but I did love his attitude...and that is exactly the type of doctor I prayed for...and my prayers were answered. He also had a specialist (who I REALLY liked) come in and review my case, talk to me and lovin' hubbin' and put our minds at ease about the next steps. So let the HEALING journey begin!

Another thing...I want to really stress here...this was not caused by anything I did or didn't do...I didn't really have high cholesterol for a person with no family history of heart disease...but b/c of my family history it was too high and so were my LDL levels! He did say that my heart muscle was in GREAT shape...that I had done the right things for it as far as the strength of that's just the fact that my gene pool is rather tainted/polluted and it most surely would have been to my advantage to have started watching this closer at an earlier age. I DID start watching it rather close at about 46 or so, I'm 51 now...and was told all was fine!! SO...LADIES and GENTS...get your doctor to give you in writing all your blood work and test results...tell them you want a copy of what they received from the testing facility. You keep those records, check your levels and such every year...and more if it is high. Don't let them tell you it's not too high...especially if you have a strong family history. You want your Cholesterol to be as far below 200 as it can want your LDL to be lower than 100...lower than 80 if there is a history in your family...and you want your HDL to be as high as you can get it! Listen to your body, listen to your inner-voice and make darn sure you have some idea of what your family history is...if that is possible...if not...just keep getting regular check ups and pursue what you know you need to do, even if the so-called professionals "poo-poo" your can SAVE your life!

Thanks again...for all your love, support and prayers...and just remember I'm HAVING to lay around and do nothing while people fetch things for me, cook for me, bring me magazines and movies...and I just sit or lay around. Honestly, it REALLY is hard for me to do...I'm not a very good patient...but I'm trying...cos after having to have both groins punctured yesterday...I'm not wanting to cause any problems with the wounds or experience any nasty side effects now! Please, pray for a complete and fast healing for me...for continued wisdom for me and my doctors...and for any concerns my sweet family may have for me...and I thank God for them so much, for always being so loving and spite of my sometimes over active imagination!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Hello, this is Jackie, Teresa's daughter, & I am writing on her behalf per her request. As we all know my mom had her angiogram early this morning. I received a phone call from my dad around 9:40 central time saying that the procedure went well and that the doctors got some "good information". My mom was still in her room and he had not seen her. The doctor confirmed the blockage, plaque, & shrinkage & will hopefully have a more thorough synopsis sometime today.

Unfortunately, that is all the info I have now, but I will be sure to keep you guys updated. I want to personally thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, & well wishes in this matter. I know my mom & our family appreciate all of the support out here in the wonderful world of blogging.

UPDATE 2: 11:00 am Central: I just received a call from my mom :-) She is doing ok, I think she is a sore, cloudy from the meds, & anxious because she has to lay flat on her back without moving for a couple more hours. She said that they had to try both legs to get the instrument inserted properly because her veins are very small, first the right and then success with the left side. Good news first, the LAD artery has only 20-25% blockage. However, due to her small veins it was discovered that some of her arteries are also very small. In one artery she has 75% blockage. Because it is so small the doctors are not sure how to approach it yet, so they are sending in a specialist. We should know within a few hours how the team of doctors are planning to approach fixing this artery.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This is NOT my friend...nor yours!!

Well, Folks...just an update on what has been going on around here...besides preparing plans for building a new home (yea, we are still finalizing the drawings, it seems to take a lot longer than I thought it should)...acquiring more land around the existing property we purchased earlier in the making our total of land owned around 7 acres. Yeah!! maybe I can have baby goats, chickens and a garden....ummmm...maybe?? Plus, trying to get ready to "think" about selling our current home...I have some things I must know how that is...right??

In the meantime I am dealing with this...Shocking to you...Probably...Shocking to me...Somewhat....Maddening to me...YES!

I've been telling the doctors including a cardiologist, 2 ER cardio specialist and my primary doctor for nearly 3 years now...something is NOT right with my heart. Upon further evaluation 2 weeks ago...a Cardio Cat scan in which I initiated and my insurance so graciously refused to pay. As a result of this simple and painless procedure...a blockage & stenosis (narrowing) in my left anterior descending artery were found...if you look that one up you'll find its the one artery you don't want to have trouble with. So based on my family mother suffered a stroke at 52...a second stroke resulting in death at father had triple by-pass at 59....died peacefully in his sleep at 65 (he WAS a smoker, however). My brother had his first heart attack around the age of 50/51, underwent by pass at 52 and collapsed of a heart attack 3 months later at 52.(sadly, he was a smoker, too, not a good combination with negative family history). So with my families gene pool being somewhat contaminated I have wanted to stay proactive with my heart health...I thought I had been. Now, to be honest I've never been an exercise fanatic...but I do some treadmill activity, walking the dogs and I used to be faithful at "Curves" (I could kick myself for ending my membership) and I keep busy, plus I don't smoke, don't drink very often (occasional glass of wine or even a beer with a meal) and I'm not clinically overweight...but of course as women we always feel we could lose 10 pounds. I'm not in perfect physical condition like Jane Fonda or the likes...but I can hold my own...or I have been able to do so...until the last year or so. I thought I was just out of shape...or it was turning is not! I've had 2 nucleaur treadmill tests in the past 3 years...I was told both were negative for any complications (only to find out yesterday, that the EKG portion was positive, but b/c the nuclear part was ok; they assumed b/c I was a woman and women have false positives more often than men...that my EKG was a "false positive"...hmmmm I suspect they were wrong!) I have been somewhat vigilant in blood test along with checking cholesterol, LDL and HDL...over the past five years...all seemed to be fine. Menopause hits and we know that can raise at my last appointment in late July I was told all was fine...but YES I was in the throws of menopause. After talking with my G.P. we decided based on my age 51, my family history and the fact I have had atypical chest pains going on for about 3 years (I was told it was stress, menopause, anxiety and all types of other things during this time...told NOT to worry!)that we would opt to schedule the Cardiac CAT scan...mainly I believe b/c he thought I wouldn't rest until I had some substantial proof the things I have been experiencing were nothing to worry about other than anxiousness! I had the scan 2 weeks ago...and was told by my G.P. that the results came back unremarkable (I beg your pardon...I thought I WAS remarkable) in all arteries except the big further testing should be scheduled upon seeing a NEW cardiologist, thankfully his nurse was able to get me into a new cardiologist in less than 2 weeks...remarkable...hmmmm...I tend to think God played a big part in this. I saw the new cardio yesterday...he decided he didn't want to wait to see what developed (thank you Lord!)...he didn't want to do another battery of test(again Thank you Lord)...b/c I've basically done them all...So...he has scheduled me for a cardiac angiogram on Tuesday the 23rd to find out A) how much narrowing there is (at this time they say they think it is somewhere between 40 and 70%) and B) find out what and how much plaque is located above this narrowing...I could see the tiny white dot on the films...but hey...who knows with those's a little deceiving to the untrained eye...and I think even so for the trained eye! All the other arteries looked great...they were indeed unremarkable and in the cardiac world...that's suppose to be a good thing! He did hurt my feelings however, by labeling me with "CAD"...I don't like being labeled!! :)Anyway...he has put me on statins mainly b/c he felt my LDL was not at a good number...I had been told by my G.P. that they were within normal range but yesterday the cardiologist said they were not...they were above 100 at about 126...he said as a cardiologists he likes to see women my age at under 100 and b/c of my family history...he wants mine to be around 70 to 80 and he feels that this can only be accomplished "quickly" by statins...of course he feels diet and exercise will play a positive role once he figures out the game plan. He also increased my one baby aspirin to two a day...and has instructed me to relax...not exercise...take it easy...OH! and he so graciously wrote me a prescription for nitroglycerin he said..."just in case"....ok...I almost reached over and slugged him...but hey...I figured b/c he would be cutting a small incision in my groin and threading a catheter through my veins and heart...I better control my Irish temper and German hard headiness and be on my best behavior. So, of course I am a tad anxious...but I am also a believer in God's healing touch. I have asked God to be with me every step of the way (I know he always is)...he will guide me...he will comfort me...he will give me peace and strength...he will heal my heart!! I also know & pray he will guide the hands of my cardiologist/surgeon on Tuesday and he will give this man & all that are taking care of me great wisdom, discernment and perfect skills to help in the complete healing process of my heart. I'm not happy about this; but for me that's probably a good thing and a great motivator!! I know that I "heard" the little voice inside me loud and clear...I know who whispered those words to me...AND now I have finally been heard! I also have always heard that if you profess it you possess I profess "I am healed"...I profess..."I will be just fine"...and I profess "God is Good".

I ask of each of you two things....First I do ask for continued prayers for my family and myself during this time, along with wisdom, discernment and skillful hands for my doctors and nurses in the actual procedure and in handling my case...skillfully, wisely and proactively. Secondly...I ask all of you to PLEASE educate yourself about heart disease in is the #1 KILLER of both MEN & WOMEN in the U.S. today. I think b/c C.A.D. can sneak up on you without much fanfare...the same goes for high blood pressure, you are left with a false feeling of security regarding your heart health. So, ladies and gents...even if you think you are too young to have this problem...don't let that stop you from having your cholesterol checked along with your LDL, HDL, and triglycerides...listen to your body...if something feels "off"...insists on action from your physician...don't give up...if you don't get the answers from the first doctor move on to another! I really believe and know that we all have to be our own advocates when it comes to our health. Sadly, doctors, nurses and hospitals are overworked these days...and things just get set aside. Don't let that be your health...TAKE ACTION...don't think you are too young...believe me you WILL hear that, too...ahhh! don't worry about're a're too're too're too active....folks...I heard all of these things...but the "push" or the "voice" that kept resonating in my head...was "family history". I plan on changing that history...I plan on taking aggressive action against this disease....and I plan on living a very long healthy life!

Just in case you are wondering what Coronary Artery Disease is... How Does Coronary Artery Disease Develop?
Your coronary arteries are hollow tubes. Inside, they are smooth and elastic, allowing blood to flow freely.
Before your teen years, fat can start to deposit in the blood vessel walls. As you get older, the fat builds up. This causes injury to your blood vessel walls. In an attempt to heal itself, the cells release chemicals that make the walls sticky.

Then, other substances such as inflammatory cells, proteins and calcium that travel in your bloodstream start sticking to the vessel walls. The fat and other substances combine to form a material called plaque. The plaque builds up and narrows the artery (atherosclerosis).

Many of the plaque deposits are hard on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside. The hard surface can crack or tear, exposing the soft, fatty inside. When this happens, platelets (disc-shaped particles in the blood that aid clotting) come to the area, and blood clots form around the plaque. This causes the artery to narrow even more.

Over time, the inside of the arteries develop plaques of different sizes. Many of the plaque deposits are hard on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside. The hard surface can crack or tear, exposing the soft, fatty inside. When this happens, platelets (disc-shaped particles in the blood that aid clotting) come to the area, and blood clots form around the plaque. This causes the artery to narrow even more. Sometimes, the blood clot breaks apart by itself, and blood supply is restored.

Over time a narrowed coronary artery may develop new blood vessels that go around the blockage to get blood to the heart. However, during times of increased exertion or stress, the new arteries may not be able to supply enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Prayers for our friends...

Just pausing for a moment to ask for continued prayers for all our families, friends and fellow Americans being affected by this horrible "act of nature" called IKE!!

I know sometimes we become complacent with all the media and hype going on 24/7...but folks this one is serious. As all hurricanes are...but this one seems to not only have built up strength in the Gulf...but the swath is so vast and the projected surges that lead and follow this hurricane are of great concern.

I just pulled this picture up off the Internet of a rescue in High Plains, TX earlier today! All this to say...this is actually before the hurricane with this kind of surge happening before...I can't imagine how bad it will get the closer the hurricane gets to landfall...the effects could be much worse after it hits with all the projected surges that follow a storm of this size.

I know there are many prayerful folks out here in blog I am asking for continued prayers for all our friends...with prayer and with God...miracles happen!

Blessings to all...and God's mercies on all His creations.