Wednesday, 16 October 2013

My angiogram and hopefully my angioplasty will take place next Tuesday October 22nd.  If they pull the catheter out of me without having done angioplasty there will be no lung transplant.  That hope and dream will be over.  If I am lucky blocked arteries will be ballooned and have stents inserted.  If that happens I might still have a chance for a transplant.  

I went to the Royal Vic yesterday for a "pre op".  The normal drawing of blood, an EKG, and most importantly a meeting and interview with Nurse Wendy.  She was up to speed on my situation and condition thanks to Dr. P., my cardiologist.  The Dr.,s who will be doing the procedures know my situation.  They will know this is my last and only hope to potentially get on the list and hopefully have a lung transplant.  They will know that I cannot have any surgery to fix the flow of blood to my heart.  This is it.  While the image is perhaps overly dramatic, there will be a moment next week, a catheter snaked into my heart, when I will know hope is still alive, at least until either Dr. P. or The Dr. inform me otherwise, probably sometime in November, or, the catheter comes out and does not go back in with balloons and stents, the dream will die and I will know that there will be no escaping my fate.

When I got out of the hospital last month I was in a dreadful mental state.  Some of the medications I was taking were leaving me in a bad state.  Massive doses of steroids, powerful synthetic opioids left my head spinning and my emotions were all over the map.  That has all passed.  No steroids and no more of the nasty mood changing shit.  I feel calm mostly now.  My anxiety level is fairly low.  While I am apprehensive about the angiogram and whether or not I will still have hope after next week, I am ok with everything as it stands.  My lack of concern or significant anxiety makes me think that I am not really facing things as they are.  I have probably blocked my feelings from surfacing, an old survival strategy that is always doomed to long term failure.  

The cats are good, Nicole is wonderful and I am trying.  

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The conclusive parts of my visit with Dr. P., the cardiologist, are that I did have a heart attack at some time, and that my heart is not up to the standard required for a lung transplant at the moment. That is the bad news.

The good news is that I am not quite finished yet as far as the transplant goes.  Dr. P. is sending me off to the Royal Victoria Hospital downtown for an angiogram where hopefully they will find clogged arteries that will then get busted up by the magic balloons and stents.  Shortly afterwards, Dr. P. will do another EKG and pronounce my heart fit for transplant and bounce me back to The Dr. who will then, finally, submit my application.

The Royal Vic called this morning to ask me to come in for blood tests, an EKG, and an information session about the angiogram which will happen at a later date which I know not yet.  Date set for October 15th.  They said it would take about 3 hours and that I should have someone there to act as a helper/advocate.  

So, I have gone from not having had a heart attack to having had one.  If angiogram and related procedures don't cure the problems my heart is having, the transplant is off for good.  There is no possibility of surgery to fix it.  I have not been worrying about this since The Dr. told me last week that my heart had a problem serious enough to take me out of consideration for a lung transplant.  This week, Dr. P. tells me there is a possible solution. I guess I will run with that for now.  

I let the transplant genie out of the bottle last March when I said I was interested in having my lungs replaced.  Sometimes I am sorry I did say yes.  Prior to that I was, as they say, fat, dumb and happy.  I was resigned to my fate and I think I was adapting quite well.  Since then the stress level has been ratcheted up continuously.  It feels like there is always something more to do, another test, something else to fix.  The whole idea of a lung transplant is scary to say the least.  Hell, the angiogram is terrifying enough.  

I continue to get better post hospital.  Pains that I had in my chest and side are gone now.  I have more energy than at any time since I got hospitalized.  I can breathe a little easier, I get tired a little bit less.  I have lost a step or two, but not too much that it is discouraging.  Stopping the prednisone was a good thing, for now at least.  I feel better emotionally as well, anxiety level is way down.  Our problems have not disappeared by any means but at least we are not letting anxiety kill us.  Getting help is hard.  

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Dr. P.'s office called yesterday and gave me an appointment for this morning, in about an hour.  The Dr. will decide if my heart can handle the rigors of a double lung transplant.  

Since The Dr. advised me last week that he needs this cardiologist to sign off on my heart I have been calm.  I have managed to stay in the moment and not think about it.  

Is my heart ok?  Did it get damaged last month?  Will The Dr. refer me to the thoracic surgeons at Notre Dame Hospital?  Is there still hope?  Stay tuned.