Half a year went by and I was still alive. It seemed I may not die afterall. At least not yet. This period of time was littered with health events that should have landed me in the emergency room. I was determined to avoid that outcome at all cost. (and I do mean at all cost)
However, after a bit of back-peddling with the cardiologist, I was back on track working to control my heart failure.
But heart failure has left its mark, and myrid other problems begun surfacing. One battle after the other. That had become our way of life.
You may or may not have noticed – my spelling and grammar had improved. The book has still not been conceived, but I grew closer and closer to realizing the book with each blog post I wrote.
Life does spring eternal
May 10, 2010 by brha99
By the spring of 2008, I was still alive. Imagine that. A doctor mistakenly thinking I would be dead by now. I guess the expiration date tattooed to my ass was incorrect. I am not saying that I am well. On the contrary. I am still very sick. But I am alive, and here we are, in the spring. It occurs to me that there is something poetic about that. Spring is renewal. It brings forth new crops, new animals, and apparently renewed hope for continued life for me. Denise and I talked. If I am getting better, maybe I should start taking some of the medicines again. Oh, and the defibrillator. What should we do about that? We went to see our cardiologist. He is so great. A few months ago I had ask him to turn off my defibrillator and take his drugs back. Now, I am asking for the reverse. He explained: my heart was able to rest while the pace maker was doing its thing. Now after some months, my heart is better able to take advantage of the therapy. My ejection fraction is once again readable. It stands now at 15%. Not good by any measure, but better than zero. He happily agreed to turn the defibrillator back on. We went through all the drugs he wanted for me. We talked about it, and went back and forth for a while. Finally, I had a list of drugs I would take. Drugs that would support my heart and not make me feel drugged up. So, once again, with a hopeful heart, we press on to greet the world.
DVT by any other name is still a blood clot
May 10, 2010 by brha99
Greeting the world is a lot tougher than it looks. Nothing about my ailments is under control. I do, however use a self-hypnosis exercise to help me deal with the stress, the anxiety and of course the pain. And it works good most of the time. Never the less, there are certain things that self hypnosis cannot control. Blood clots come to mind. Summer 2008 was upon us and my left leg is swollen, red, and painful. Very painful. Having had a few DVT’s ( if you will remember, Deep Vein Thrombosis – blood clot in my leg ) in the past, I immediately knew what it was, and what was going to happen. At least I thought I knew what would happen. Denise took me to the cardiologist. He looked at it, and ordered an ultrasound. That is one of the ways to identify a DVT. Sure enough. It’s another blood clot in my leg. But something was different this time. Something had the doctors whispering. The day before I was at the lab, getting my blood test that measures if the coumadin is working. It was. I was at theraputic levels of Coumadin and still developed a blood clot. Well, this is a problem. One which required the skills of a Hematologist. (blood doctor). They put me back on the Lovonox (shots in the stomach) and I awaited the appointment.
Hemotology/Oncology..Geeze just pick one
May 12, 2010 by brha99
I had been to the Hemotology office before. At the Air Force’s Wilford Hall Medical Center Hemotology was with Oncology (cancer). They call the office “Hemotology/Oncology”. Well, I don’t know about you, but that is a pretty scary place to go. Consequently, I was a little nervous. The waiting room was full of people. Most looked sickly. In my mind, I worked the room. Secretly scrutinizing each face, and guessing if the are here for Hemotology, or Oncology. About half way through the room, my name was called. With my portable oxygen strapped to my back, and cane firmly held by my hand, I can only think that the sick people I was scrutinizing were doing that right back at me. I sensed them staring as I was shaking rising from the chair. Yea, they were checking me out. Then I thought: maybe it was my remarkably nice ass they were all looking at…No. I looked like crap. The nurse brought me to an exam room. A few minutes later the doctor walked in. REALLY?? The doctor looked like a kid. If you are over 50 years old, aren’t the doctors getting younger? I am sure they are. Somehow he was able to confirm that my blood clot was there, despite having a therapeutic dose of coumadin in me. So, he came up with this plan. He would increase my Lovenox ( I hate that). He took an ultrasound of the blood clot that day. In two weeks, he would do another ultrasound of the blood clot. Plenty of time for the Lovenox to work. The clot might not be gone, but it should definitely shrink. Off I went. It was a hard two weeks. My stomach had puffs of black and blue marks all over it. It was sore too. The belt line on my pants rode on the strip of belly I needed for the shots. All in all, it was a very uncomfortable 2 weeks. I went back to the Hemotologist and he took the new ultrasound. Well, the results were completely unexpected. The clot had not changed at all. I felt a sinking feeling in my gut. Now what?
To bleed or not to bleed…What a choice!
May 13, 2010 by brha99
To clarify the situation; I had a blood clot in my left femoral vein (DVT) AND I had enough anti coagulant (blood thinner) in me to prevent clots. Hmmm. What do we make of the situation. The doctor says that “probably” (they never commit) the blood vessel was damaged over the years. Afterall I did have more that 5 blood clots in that same area. Each time I get a blood clot, damage is left behind. There were a couple of options. One option is to use a “Green Field Filter”. It’s definition comes to us today from “The free Dictionary” by Farlex.
An inferior vena cava filter, also IVC filter a type of vascular filter, is a medical device that is implanted into the inferior vena cava to prevent pulmonary emboli (PEs). Most filters are placed for the following reasons. Failure of anticoagulation; eg development of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary emboli (PE) despite adequate anticoagulation. Contraindications to anticoagulation; eg a patient at risk of PE who has another condition that puts them at risk of bleeding, such as a recent bleed into the brain, or a patient about to undergo major surgery Large clots in the vena cava or iliac veins Patients at high risk of having a PE
Now the problem with option 1, the filter, was this: my heart function sucks. I have a terrible time circulating blood when there are no obstructions. If I threw a clot, and the filter caught it, It would be devastating to me. It would dramatically slow circulation in a body that cannot afford to have the circulation slowed. The other option was to increase my INR. INR is an abbreviation used in a blood test. The INR measures the level of anti coagulation. Let me put it in perspective. A normal person, not on any medicines has an INR of around 1.0. People who have had heart attacks will usually be placed on blood thinners (Coumadin) to get their INR to around 2.0 The doctors want my INR to 3.0 to 3.5. Do you know what that means? When I graze against a wall and scratch myself, I bleed. A normal person may just get that white skinned scratch. I bleed. A lot. I get bruises with a whisper. If I get into a fender bender. A minor one where all parties would expect to walk away, I may die of internal bleeding. Having to live with an INR over 3.0 is restricting, and dangerous. Oh what choices we have.
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