Well, at least I *have* a heart…
Posted August 30, 2013on:
I saw the cardiologist on Wednesday,
Unfortunately, the meds were not doing the job he hoped they would.
We talked for a bit, and the current plan is that after Yom Kippur, I will be having an angiogram, which will involve injecting dye into my system so that they can observe my heart functions. This is to determine exactly what is going on. The possibilities are that there is serious valve damage, or that I have heart disease (defined, in this case, as clogged arteries), or that the genetic defect is the only thing wrong.
Depending on what they find, I will have a few choices. If there is nothing other than the genetic issue, we can either continue the medical therapy, I can have an ablation (where they basically induce a minor heart attack by injecting alcohol into the defective part of the cell wall to kill the cells), or I can have open heart surgery, where they can actually cut away the defect. If there are other issues, the choices narrow to abalation or open heart surgery. At the moment, if that is the case, I am leaning toward the open heart surgery. The ablation can only take care of the one issue. If they do the open heart surgery, they will be able to fix whatever additional issues there are. Further, while ablation works in about 85% of the cases it’s used for, it merely ameliorates the symptoms; it won’t lower my chances of suddenly dropping dead from this thing.
Am I looking forward to the next few weeks? Nope. Am I scared? You’d better believe it. It’s very likely they will find other issues; heart disease runs in both sides of my family. My father had several heart attacks, many of my uncles did, too. Further, on Mom’s side of the family, my great-uncle Eddie, dropped dead out of a clear blue sky after being Charlie Knickerbocker in a parade.
Further, unless the results are much better when I see the cardiologist on the 18th, he wants to move fast. The reason for this is that the deterioration to this point was over a relatively short period of time (about a year), He’s already told me that, while it will make a major improvement, he cannot guarantee that I will get my full health back. Of course, he has never worked with someone with my stubborn gene before (and I come by that very honestly – from both sides of my family).
So, for the next three weeks, it is my plan to try to drop as much weight as I can, given that I can’t really go walking right now. Dr. S. notes that I am far from the worst candidate he has sent for surgery. We both know, however, that the weight and my blood pressure don’t exactly make me the ideal candidate.
All of that said, I could use a little help here. I am not freaking out overly much, but – being very much a layperson – I do not even know what I don’t know. So, if any of you have questions that you think I should be asking the cardiologist and, when I get one, the surgeon, please feel free to let me know what they are. I am compiling a list. I will also be doing as much reading on the issues I have over the next few weeks. My friend, Nancy, came up with a couple of questions already, about valves and what kind they will use, and about how long recovery will take, so those are covered, and have been added t my list of questions.
Again, this IS scary. But I am hoping for the best, as always. And – more importantly – I am fighting for it.