Author Topic: Health Updates  (Read 12998 times)

Hopalong

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Re: Health Updates
« Reply #195 on: May 02, 2022, 11:08:37 PM »
[Thanks again, Light. It hit me that I have been feeling vaguely that I DESERVE bad news because I've been slothful and didn't do the right thing to maintain fitness. Glad I spotted it, will take it to my T.] Meanwhile, moved the following to a reply.

hugs
Hops

Amateur medical geek, I'll amuse myself by describing the chemical stress test:

First you get glued up with electrodes and have a fancy IV port stuck in the arm.
Then they take you to the cameras room, inject your IV with a radioactive isotope solution and you lie on the gurney while the cameras thingie -- it's a weird beige slab, not really a donut -- slowly rotates, swivels, rises and lowers and inches around your torso for 15 minutes, taking a boatload of images from many angles around the heart. These will be the "before stress" pictures/movies. Then you go sit in the waiting area while the glow-goo percolates through your circulatory system. You get really cold so they give you warm blankets.

Due to the very high number of electrical mitochondria in the heart, the largest amount of the glow-in-the-dark stuff will remain concentrated in the heart muscle a good while, while the rest slowly dissipates from the rest of the body and you read a good book. [There There by Tommy Orange...amazing. Shared it with a cool old guy in the waiting room and he was really happy to pull it up on Audible.]

After about 45 minutes, they take you to the stress room (just computers, a treadmill for doing it that way, and a gurney for the chemical version) and you get on the gurney for more waiting. What they're going to capture is blood flow, not direct images of artery innards or valves. Fifteen electrodes record blood flow volume in different areas of the heart in detail, so if there is an arterial obstruction, they'll spot the effect of it upstream or downstream, essentially. (If severe blockage showed, you'd be off for a cardiac catheterization soon. If less severe, maybe have one scheduled. If there's a big mystery, they might do a CCT -- cardiac computerized tomography scan. So if followup doesn't show a need for those, cool.)

Then the techs who wired you up in the stress room hover while a nurse explains risks blahblah and you sign permission to getastrokeorheartattackordiebutrarely). Nurse says "Here we go, workout in a tube!" and injects blue stuff (vasodilator) in the IV. The fancy EKGs run while it's going on. After about one second you are suddenly huffing and blowing and breathing harder than you ever have in your life, as though you're near the end of a marathon having never run a block since you were 10, and they cheer in-through-the-nose-out-through-the-mouth! and your heart goes really really fast and you huff so hard you think you're going to blow the N95 off your face and they all keep staring at you while over two or three minutes, it gradually subsides. I got one slight, familiar and brief chest pain during -- nothing strong at all. You can be left with a headache, some digestive upset or feel "weird all over". I had a little bit of all three but nothing remarkable. Then you do some more waiting room and hit the john and it's back to the not-a-donut room for another slow set of "after" images that will get glow-view of how the heart is looking post-stress. This time you have a set taken while on your stomach plus one again on your back. Then after another 45-60 minutes of waiting in your blankies they say bye-bye. Yay!

The warmth outdoors was awesome after the cold procedure rooms and I felt wonderful. Expecting good news Weds -- pretty optimistic I'm not in serious heart-trouble and there will eventually be a non-cardiac explanation for the chronic SOB/chest pain. They did seem interested in how hard I was huffing and blowing -- comme beluga. But maybe it's all JUST deconditioning and I'll be approved to begin a structured REconditioning program! That's the news I'm hoping for. Very glad this step in the inquiry is done, and super-grateful to the doc who listened. One of the nurses, a combat medic vet, told me the cardiol has an outstanding rep. He's muuy impressed by his breadth of knowledge. Given our med center, he likely has patients from all over the region. I like the research park, great design/layout of buildings, all set in woodsy green space with great parking.)

Pooches did pooch stuff, house is a wreck, I slept for four hours. Feel really good now though. Relieved and peaceful. Soon I hope I'll be miserably huffing up and down the street with maybe discomfort but without fear. Then the only obstacle will be discipline. I'll dig as deep as I can to find some. Cart before horse, until doc chat.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2022, 11:11:06 AM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Hopalong

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Re: Health Updates
« Reply #196 on: May 04, 2022, 04:11:01 PM »
If anybody's bored by tediously detailed medical stuff, I'm not hurt if you don't read!

Cardiologist is great. Overall, I just feel good that this doc is so clear, focused and ready to find answers. It was empowering to get the test done, although the results weren't precise (enough to ease my worries, anyway). The stress test was "one abnormality, not exactly normal, but I'd say 'low-risk'" was his description.

I had three choices: 1) Stop worrying about it and exercise anyway, watching for increased chest pain/SOB or shortness of breath. 2) Go on one or two of several Rx --nitro, diuretic, maybe a beta blocker (ugh, I hate lots of Rx) to see if they "make me feel better" -- which would be nice but not diagnostic. 3) Get a couple more tests (an Echo and a PET). The PET would prove definitively what the sole abnormality in the stress test could be (he thinks it might've just be a flawed image) and, more importantly, whether I have microvascular disease or blockage/s in the small vessels. I forget the fancy term for it.

We discussed and opted for #3, because it would be the most definitive, and knowing for sure what the deal is would be most helpful to me. I felt so relieved at his level of interest and empowered by forging ahead for clear information. I think it's going to be okay but it's not a Yes/No or black/white kind of situation quite yet. I'm okay with that because this is a good path. And with his rep, I'm in great hands.

Next tests are June and September, and I'll see him again in November. Progress!

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Hopalong

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Re: Health Updates
« Reply #197 on: May 06, 2022, 02:09:01 PM »
I've bored everyone into a coma, or y'all are experiencing SPRING!

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Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

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Re: Health Updates
« Reply #198 on: May 08, 2022, 05:35:35 AM »
Hi, Hops.  I think option 3 sounds like the best choice too.  Sounds like the doc had good news and I'm hoping there's more good news after to follow.

I was on the road yesterday for 4 hours, made 10 moss arrangements, spent 6 hours at a celebration of life then went back to lake house to choose finishes for newly installed hallway atat bottom of stairs....my wonderful BIL is amazing at this sort of thing.

I love working with him but he does math with me.....and math is not my strong suit.

Lighter

Hopalong

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Re: Health Updates
« Reply #199 on: May 08, 2022, 08:09:09 AM »
That's LIVING. You're just always doing it! I'm awed and awakened by y'all.

My T observed that Npooch (newpooch) might be actually good for me because I have to tend to her so much. It's true. Feels hectic but I can't space out ALL day, to get her outside every two hours, fed every four, etc. I'm up by 6am and getting to sleep better at night as I'm so tired.

I do worry about Pooch, who has basically retreated to a corner of the couch and still seems sad about all this. No aggression, but I'm feeling a lot of guilt. I may stick to "foster" status to ensure that Npooch is adopted before winter. My patio has been a lake for two days and it's the best place to let her out (steep stairs on other side). I can't imagine how to get her to pee outdoors in snow or real cold or ice.

Hmmm. Hope the summer proves we can make it as a 3-"person" family but if it doesn't, I won't give up on a senior addition. Just would love one housebroken.

Happy to hear a VESMB voice today, Lighter, and the sound of your progress.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."