Thursday, August 28, 2014
Well, today is 4 weeks since I had my double cardiac by-pass surgery. July 31st I went under the knife to re-route some plugged coronary arteries. At age 52 I was in trouble. Most of the issues was familial, but I do accept my part of an unhealthy lifestyle for contributing to the situation. The surgery went very well and I have experienced a supernatural recovery that only a great and mighty God can provide.
My sister came up from SC to help but she only stayed a few days once I got home as "man" issues happened at home and she had to leave to tend to them. Good thing I was doing so well. After my first night home I was back to doing the cooking and then added in dishes. As the days progressed I was better able to get in and out of bed and now it is old hat. I am moving great. Dressing myself, doing my own shower...back to my old self, minus the chest pain and shortness of breath with minimal activity like I had. It feels good to be able to get around without fear of having a heart attack due to the pain.
The chest incision has healed up nicely although the area is still stiff/tight feeling. I had my first sneeze last week and that was a shocker. Wow...it felt as if I had blown my chest apart, but once it was over with it was soon forgotten. A few more have come my way and it no longer bothers me.
People that I talk to on the phone or meet in the store are amazed at my progress and say i sound so strong. Not sure what they expected, but like I said, I have a great and mighty God looking out for me.
Making the necessary lifestyle changes is not easy. I had fallen back into the old ways after my mom died and once they are established, they are hard to break. Exercise has never been my friend. I use to blog about how much I hated it. I still do so my exercise program since coming home has not been consistent. I did, however; manage to walk a mile yesterday on the treadmill. The first time in about 2 years!!! I was proud of myself. Of course, I did not break any speed records doing it, but I was back to my old time. A mile in 30 minutes, so that was good. the good thing was that I was not winded or having any pain. It felt good to be able to do it without those issues following me. I did work up a sweat.
Like I said, home life is all back to normal. Believe me when I say I did not receive any pampering. DH was back to his old ways as soon as I was home. It was like I hadn't had surgery. He is doing the lifting that I can't do, but I even did all the laundry the other day. I do miss the driving. I hate the loss of independence that not driving brings. By the end of next week i should regain that ability. I see the surgeon on Friday the 5th of September and I expect he will release me to "regular" activity.
I did miss my mom through all of this. I really needed her but then again she was in the best place for her to be during all of this, working her magic in heaven on my behalf. Had she been alive she would have been worried sick and actually made herself sick over it, so it all worked out as planned.
A word to those who may read this and are in poor health or experiencing health issues. If your health insurance is not cooperating with you and your doctor for testing and diagnostic exams, please force the issue. Don't accept a "no." My insurance said I didn't need a cardiac catheterization. They said I was too young and that a stress test from 2 years ago was normal. Well, duh! I was having chest pain with minimal exertion. My family has a very strong history of heart disease an MI's. Also all my dad's side had by-pass surgery for blocked arteries as did my mom. My 42 year old brother died from a heart attack and insurance says I'm too young????? I have every risk factor except smoking. Give me a break...I'm too young!!!!! Who in their infinite wisdom decided I didn't need the cardiac cath??? So I fought for it. I was my own patient advocate. Stand up for yourself people!!!! If you think something is wrong you know best. Within a few seconds of injecting the dye during the procedure, the doc knew that I had at least 3 blockages that required surgery!!! So, thank you, I did know best!!!!!!!
Don't let a broken healthcare system dictate what medical services you should receive!!!!!!!
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Well, I had my cardiac catheterization done Friday the 25th. The procedure went well, a breeze really. They did provide me sedation but I was still awake during the whole thing. Unfortunately the outcome was not what I had expected or hoped/prayed for. The vessel disease is too severe for stents or angioplasty. I need by-pass surgery. I am still in shock at the news. Very sad to say the least. I am scheduled for triple, possibly quadruple by-pass surgery on the 31st. I will be admitted on the 30th to put me on intravenous insulin to get tight control of my blood sugars prior to the surgery. I am not happy about that but completely understand the need.
To be honest I do not really want this done but I have no choice. I could always take my chances but I know ultimately I could suffer a massive heart attack and that wouldn't be good. So, surgery it is.
I am on some restrictions for the cath. No lifting more than 4 pounds with my right hand for a week, no driving for at least 3 days and no repetitive motion. Oops, I've been typing all morning. Sorry, but I have things that need to be done. I am not allowed to put my hand in standing water so no doing the dishes, woohoo I guess.
My biggest concern is for my DH. He depends on me so much as he is not in good health either. For at least a month after surgery I will be restricted not to mention probably very weak. A lot will be expected of him. I can't drive for at least a month and no heavy lifting over 5 pounds.
So, I am asking a lot of my Spark friends. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Also include my DH that he will be able to face the challenge ahead of him. It will be more than he bargained for, although the marriage vows say in sickness and health, for better or worse, so this will be a test of that. One of my other concerns is that I am afraid the surgery will change me, who I am.
I will get back to all of you once I am able but I am not expecting that to be until sometime in August. So, just send prayer up. I appreciate all of you and love you all. You are some great people that I have never met, but feel as if I have.
Thank you for your continued support.
Susan aka "CAt"
Sunday, July 20, 2014
It has been several months since I logged into SP. DH fussed at me for spending too much time here so I lost interest. I was starting to go into a dark, deep place in my life, not dealing well with the loss of my mom last year and so his complaints just fueled the fire of giving up.
I finally went to the doc about my worsening depression and she listened and acknowledged I was in deep grief. She also prescribed a new anti-depressant which has worked wonders. Mentally I am feeling much better. Physically is another story. I have developed terrible chest pain with minimal exertion and after a month or so I decided to have it checked out. I went to a cardiologist and at first she recommended a stress test, then changed her mind and said a cardiac catheterization. then she said we'd wait and see. then by the end of the visit she went back to a cardiac cath. On top of all that my insurance was an issue as the local hospital was no longer in network and the out-of-pocket expenses would be way over what I could afford. So I had to do a lot of searching to find a hospital and doc in my network. It means traveling 86 miles away to get the procedure done. It was first scheduled for July 3rd, but I could never get an answer as to what my 25% co-insurance would be. All I wanted was an estimate. the hospital and insurance kept dodging my question. So I canceled the procedure as I wasn't going to commit myself to thousands of dollars in medical expenses until I knew what it would cost me. I spent days on the phone. Ridiculous!!!
I finally got an answer. the procedure is $17,330!!! Yikes !!!!!! The insurance company said they would pay the "allowable" charges and then I would be responsible for the 25% of those charges, not the whole $17,000. Okay. So I decided to have it done. I go on the 25th for my cath. I am not looking forward to it but with my family history of cardiac disease I need to get this checked out before I have a sudden cardiac death episode. I am not ready to die!!!
In the meantime the chest pain has left me doing little of nothing. I have to pace myself and do things slowly. Can't walk on the treadmill as I get the pains. Even walking in the grocery store is slow going. I often have to have DH do my chores.
eating has been an issue as I just started eating whatever I wanted. Of course not always the good stuff. Veggies got pushed aside and I hit the ice cream, candy, huge bowls of cereal. Measuring things went out the window. My A1C was high this time as I knew it would be. Managing my blood sugars has been almost impossible. It wasn't as bad as I expected but still worse than I would like.
DH has had his share of issues. the sleep clinic doc is trying hard to figure out his chronic daytime sleepiness and treat that. Nothing seems to be working. DH has not done much of anything this year. He has given up. He did nothing with the garden and only managed to get in some tomatoes. We usually have tons of fresh veggies but he just didn't get into it this year. We are still waiting on his disability. I finally called the lawyer and found out that he requested the administrative law judge hearing for November. I don't understand why he requested it so far away. The sooner the better in my opinion.
My furry children are doing okay. A few have had some health issues but overall are doing well. Boone, the dog, is spoiled rotten. We got a king size bed to accommodate his need for more space in the bed. Believe when I say he uses the entire extra 16" of bed too!!!!! He even likes to sleep under the covers. He thinks he is a human and we don't tell him any different!!!
So, after my cath I am hoping to feel better and be able to get back into the swing of things. Today I have done well with my eating. I am managing to get my water in and have gone back to plain water. i had been drinking plain, decaf unsweetened tea, but found it was causing me chronic nausea. Had to stop that.
Please keep me in your prayers as I undergo this catheterization. I think of all my Spark friends often and miss you all.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
try, try again!!!! That's the saying, right?
Well, yesterday I tried to ride a bike for the firs time in 34 years. I was delusional to think that I would get on and be able to ride like the wind. I was imagining going for a 3 mile ride my first attempt out.
Can you hear me laughing, because I am...hysterically!!!!!
DH nicely put the bikes together. he had me try getting on it while it was in the kitchen. That was a sight!!! I couldn't get my leg over the seat so after a few more adjustments I finally, with great difficulty, got my leg over the seat and straddled the bike.
I went and got prepared...put my helmet on, and tucked my pants legs into my socks. I was quite the fashion statement!!!!
I got outside and brought my bike off the porch onto the front yard. I straddled the bike and then couldn't get both feet up on the pedals. I tired and I tired, but no use. I just couldn't balance myself and get it together. DH was on and pedaling around the yard. I was envious because he made it look so easy. Yeah, right!!! I was short of breath and getting chest pains with my efforts. Finally, after multiple attempts I got my right leg on the pedal and I was doing it. WooHoo!!!!!!! I was pedaling down the driveway, a very short distance, but then the road loomed in front of me and I couldn't stop. Brakes? What brakes? I couldn't do all that stuff at one time. I was concentrating on staying on the bike, not using brakes!!!!
I headed for the road and saw a culvert on my left. As I zoomed by I thought my back wheel was going to hit the culvert and I knew I would fall over. So, I did what any person would do...I panicked!!!! Next thing I know I'm laying in a heap in the middle of the road. I got about 20' into the road before losing it. Thank goodness I had a helmet on. DH came riding up to me and I was laughing. (I was also peeing my pants). I was breathing heavy and just laughing. At least to my surprise I wasn't crying. I sat there for a few minutes to regroup and I was finally able to get myself up. One of my rules...let me do it by myself!!! If I can't do it, I'll let you know.
I did call it quits for the day. DH took a very brief ride down the road. He didn't get far and returned home huffing and puffing. The bikes returned safely to the front porch for the rest of the day.
I did decide that the two-wheeled contraption was not going to win out over me. I will conquer that device. Today when I get home from having my hair done I will try riding again, this time on the lawn. I'll have a softer landing if I wipe out again!!!!
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
So the challenge on Sparkcoach today was to write an encouraging letter to myself. Sparkcoach commented on how we give advice to others and are so compassionate and understanding but when dealing with ourselves we are hard and unforgiving. this is so true, for me anyway. I am awful to myself. I am mean and undermining. Totally unfeeling and self-defeating.
So, here's my letter to myself....
I know you have been having a difficult time lately. It seems like you are not making any progress and are traveling backwards. You beat yourself up because of your perfectionist attitude. Remember, none of us are perfect. We can only do the best we can each day.
When you make a plan and don't stick to it you call yourself, "stupid," or ask, "Why did you bother? You knew you couldn't do it." You wouldn't tell that to a friend so why say it to yourself? You are deserving of praise for your attempts and positive steps that you do manage. Don't focus on the negative. Give yourself a pat on the back instead of a punch in the face. You have given yourself so many black eyes you look like a raccoon!!!!
As long as you don't give up you don't fail!!! No one said this journey would be easy. Some days may be smooth and others rough, just like the sea. At times the water is as still and then it is rough. If you're in a row boat you may have to fight a little more to get your boat to go in the direction you want. Keep rowing!!!! Don't put the oars down and give up. Just keep trying a little harder each time.
Remember to ask yourself, " why you are doing this?" "What do you want to accomplish?" Set your eyes on the prize. One step at a time. Put one foot in front of the other. That's the way you cover a lot of ground...one step at a time.
You ARE worth it. Never forget that. You are important. You have a family to care for, even if it is a furry family. they depend on you as does your DH. They all need you well and at your best.
Strive to put God first in your day. Remember to run to God, not away from Him. He can work miracles and can bring clarity to any situation. When you feel as if you are in the dark go to Him. He will light your way.
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