Friday, February 22, 2013
Maybe there is one thing I can say about where I've been that might be helpful to some people. Heart disease is not the end. I'm living with it and thriving. I rarely think about it.
I'm writing this at age 81. More than 20 years ago I told my doctor I sometimes had chest pains that went away when I got up from my desk and drank some water. I thought they couldn't be heart disease, but my doctor sent me for a stress test anyway. I flunked. I was then diagnosed with partly blocked coronary arteries and started on medication.
A few weeks before I turned 65 I phoned my cardiologist to say I had a chest pain like I never had before. I made an appointment to see him that afternoon. When I got there he took an EKG and then said, "Leave your car here. My nurse will drive you to the hospital." I had my first angioplasty that evening. I had a stent about six weeks later (after I turned 65), then another angioplasty a few weeks after that, and a double bypass a few weeks after that. Then nothing for about 10 years, and then three more stents.
"Once a heart patient, always a heart patient." I see my cardiologist regularly, I'm tested regularly, I take a little medication for my heart and other medications for my other problems. Medical science knows how to manage heart disease. Science is actually saving us from our bad habits -- statistics show that while more people are getting heart disease, fewer people are dying from it. Of course I try to avoid bad habits. I exercise regularly, I evidently don't eat too much, and I take my medications regularly most of the time.
That's my story. I hope it encourages some heart patients to live life to the full.