Saturday, August 21, 2010

Answered Questions

SUNDAY, AUGUST 15, 2010 8:43 AM, MST
"You absolutely did the right thing by going to the hospital."  These were the first words I heard Friday from Dr. Heuser's nurse. My friend, Nancy from the Heart Association told me that my nurse at the hospital made the same exact statement immediately following my catherization last week (although I don't remember). These unsolicited comments from medical professionals drive home the point I try to reinforce whenever I get a chance:  listen to your body (it's talking to you but you need to sit still long enough to hear what it's telling you) and get medical advice if you have symptoms that persist or you get a nagging feeling that something just isn't right. I've read and heard far too many stories of women (especially) who had symptoms, didn't get medical attention, and the end result was tragic. I'm very passionate about this because there's no shame in going to your doctor or even the ER especially for cardiac patients. To get back on track.....

It looks like the mystery behind the cause of my symptoms is solved. Friday, Dr. Heuser's nurse (Karen) confirmed that all looks o.k. from a cardiac standpoint. She added that there is definitely one, and possibly two reasons for my extreme fatigue and weakness. 

The first possibility is that there is competitive blood flow between the mammery artery that Dr. Smolens peeled down and used as the bypass artery and the portion of the LAD that was bypassed. The latter is still open because I'm taking plavix (blood thinner) but may eventually close off leaving the mammery artery to take over completely. 

The second, and more definite answer, is that based on blood work from last week, I am anemic. My iron level pre-cath was below normal and it dipped even lower post-cath. Lack of iron equates to lack of oxygen which explains why I felt better on oxygen in the hospital! By the way, the extreme fatigue and weakness was one of the symptoms I had whenever I had a blockage which resulted in stress. This stress caused angina (chest pain) resulting from inflammation of the arteries and leading to spasms of the arteries. Are you beginning to see how all of the symptoms are connected? Given Karen's news, you can imagine how relieved I was because this is a much easier fix. So treatment includes taking prescribed iron pills and a multivitamin with iron. I'm also going in tomorrow for further blood work that will also help determine the exact cause of the iron deficiency. Karen said I'll be feeling better in one to two weeks, and I have a follow-up visit with her in four weeks.

Had I not gone into the hospital last weekend, I may still be sitting here with the symptoms worrying needlessly.

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