Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Thank you!" and an Update

Thank you all for your care and concern. I so appreciate everyone who left a good thought or prayer. I have been home patiently waiting for a doctor appointment with my very busy cardiologist this week. In heart related problems you are advised not to wait, but to go to the emergency room. The problem is I have done this several times and unless you are in the middle of a coronary there really is nothing that they can do for you. The ER staff can only determine if you are having a heart attack and or try to make you comfortable, nothing more, so then you wait until you see your cardiologist. I did not want to go that route this time so I waited for my Dr. appointment this morning.(over strong advice of several of my loved ones)  I saw a physician's assistant who was one of the best "communicators" in the field of medicine that I have ever come in contact with. My husband was with me and we heard about new medications, and found out a few things about my personal situation that I had not heard before, so in that case, I was glad that I waited and saw this young man.
*Upon re-reading this I want to stress the important thing is this: If you are experiencing chest pain, what you think might be bad indigestion, pain in your right or left arm, heaviness in your chest, neck ache, jaw ache when combined with other symptoms GO,GO,GO to the ER. The only reason I waited this time is that I know what a heart attack feels like in my own body.




If I have learned one thing in the past 7 years it is to be your own advocate. Don't set around waiting for someone to "do the best thing" for you because it may not happen. I was looking at waiting 2 weeks for this test...me a patient that has had 4 heart attacks and just missed another one by  the "hair of her chinny, chin, chin"! So when the scheduling assistant said 2 weeks, I firmly said NO! They are trying to work me in Friday afternoon, so I am praying that this major test will happen, and that I won't have to wait until Monday. This is a cardiac catheterization, where a catheter is threaded up through your femoral (groin) artery into your heart and then a contrast material is injected. It shows blockages and defects etc. in the arteries.
I really don't know much yet about my problem, but part of my main focus in all of this is to find out what I can do to keep this from happening again. It has only been 8 months since the last blockage.
If this is all too much information, I will just say this. Know your own body. The symptoms of heart attacks in women are completely different than in men. When something is wrong don't let someone put you off or talk you out of what you know in your "gut".  I will do a post later about women and heart disease. The now #1 Killer of women...even above breast cancer.
So for now, hopefully, I'll be back home by the weekend, but maybe early next week.

*Once again I pulled this post to re-edit and hopefull clarify some of what I said. My friend, Jan from Summer Sundays asked a good question in her comment. "was this test something the doctor suggested or something that I felt like I needed"? Here is how I think I can best answer.
I have had this test done 4 other times, and upon numerous talks with my cardiologist he has admitted that this is the only test that will give a conclusive answer as to whether or not you have a blockage. Stress tests, nuclear tests, cat-scans etc. are all good indicators, but will not difinitively give an answer, only an angiogram (heart cath) unfortunately will show the artery and how the blood is flowing. The doctors cannot and will not do it unless they have a pretty conclusive idea that you indeed have a blockage. (Extremely expensive and an invasive surgical procedure.)
When I was saying "be your own advocate" I was talking of two things, #1, don't let someone talk you out of getting  a diagnoses, and #2 be sure you don't get lost in the shuffle of busy hospital schedules. The Physician's Asst. told me first thing, that this was what they needed to find out about what is going on with me, but I was handed off to someone who just "scheduled" and didn't know my history. Once I said that I would just go on to the hospital and go thru the ER, she looked at my chart and agreed that I shouldn't wait.
OK, sorry this has gotten so long.
Love to you all and please keep me in your prayers,
Debra

18 comments:

  1. Good advice and I hope all is well. Take care!

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  2. My Momma was fairly young to have a heart attack, too. She ended up having open heart surgery with several bypasses about 7 years ago. Now when she isn't feeling well she gets her little bumm bumm to the ER! Let them figure it out if she needs to be there or not. She's too panicky now to tell so we just say GO!

    I applaud you girlfriend. I had a doctor tell me one time I could never bear children. WHAT? I was 17 and he was a crack-pot. Be your OWN ADVOCATE like you say...

    Be well this day sweet friend. Prayers going up in your behalf.

    Love, Rebecca

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  3. You definitely will remain in my prayers. We defintely do need to know our bodies and our risks of heart disease and stroke.
    I hope your tests go well and that we hear from you very soon.
    Hugs,
    June

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  4. Dear Friend-

    I had no idea this was happening. You are in my prayers .

    I have had 3 catheterizations-

    There are medical answers for us all. You are right. We must be our own advocates or have someone who is-

    Keep a tight rein,

    Laura

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  5. Great post! My Grandmother had heart attacks over several days and it severly damaged her heart. This is great info. Thanks!
    Hugs, Lisa

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  6. Debra
    You will continue to be in my prayers. My brother just this past week had a stress test and an angieoplast (I know that can't be spelled correct, sorry), his second. It is so scary, but you're right if we know our bodies then we can be our own advocate! please continue to update us when you can and know we are all praying for you!
    My Best
    Gale

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  7. I thought about you so often today thinking this was Dr.'s appt. day. Did the ass't suggest you needed this test or do you feel like you do? Stay in touch & let us know what happens & if you need anything. Jan

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  8. Thanks for the good advice. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Have a nice weekend.
    Hugs,
    Pat (from Virginia)

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  9. Debra, you will be in my prayers, and I will make sure that all my prayer warrior friends know that there is a very special intention which requires their intercession.
    Be well, and rest in God's tender care.
    Love,
    Anne

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  10. We have no history of any heart problems in my family, but I'm constantly aware of what goes on inside and if something goes bump in the night, I research, research, research...such is the life of the single, uninsured 60ish woman...I stay active and pray for the best...good luck to you friend, I'll be saying a few good words for ya!

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  11. thank you for your frankness, valuable information. I am so glad you are advocating for yourself- take care of you!

    best wishesXX

    Karen

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  12. You have been in my prayers.
    Take care!
    Lee

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  13. Just now reading about this! Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Fortunately, I have not been through this, but J has. Once, many years ago, he was scheduled for a stress test. His cardiologist had been out of the country. J saw another, during that time, who scheduled the test. Just as he was about to begin the stress test...our good Dr Z, came riding to the rescue. An angio gram, one of many J has had, was immediately scheduled, right then and there. J said he heard the word stat. A 90% blockage was found, a stent placed and J's life was saved!

    Dr Z is our cardiologist and primary care physician. He knows us, like the back of his hand. He's the same age as I am. I don't know what we will do, when he retires.

    My cousin has/had an administrative position on the cardio floor of one of your fine hospitals, in that neck of the woods. She taught school 11 years, then went back to school for her nursing degrees. Many members of our family and friends have been patients in those facilities.

    Wishing you all the best!!

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  14. hey, debra.
    you're just trying to be sicker than me.....i'm just kidding;)

    bless your heart (oh. a pun), sweetie, having to go through all of this - the sad part to me is that it's nothing new to you!

    i'm going to be praying for you on friday (but i'm going to start now). i will be anxious for news after you have this test done.

    when you read this, do me a favor?
    send me an email with your mailing address (and last name:). While you're at it, give me your birthday.

    thanks, darlin'.
    jan

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  15. Hi! Just wanted to let you know that I have been thinking about you and wishing you well. Take care,
    Polly

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  16. Oh Debra, I'm so glad I checked in because I had no idea all this had just happened. I will be sure to check back soon.....Thank you for all the good information on heart issues and symptoms. You're in my thoughts.

    dulcy

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  17. All my best to you! I know how important it is to listen to your own body and to trust your gut. Take care of yourself. ~Mandy

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