Wednesday, September 24, 2008
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 yesterday...it'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. artery...so 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 weeks...at 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 blockers...work 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 me...so 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 muscle...it'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 be...you 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 concerns...it 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 supportive...in spite of my sometimes over active imagination!
firstname.lastname@example.org LivingTheLife at 6:04:00 PM