Note: I am not a medical doctor and nothing I say here should be taken as medical advice. If you have health-related questions consult a physician you trust.
Life comes at you fast. I am writing this post to try to come to terms with some events over the last few months, which have been rather difficult for me. I think that it would be healthy to try to express myself and channel my feelings through one of the things that I like most, education.
***I want to say something right away: listen to your doctor, but listen to what your body is telling you as well.***
I won’t bother you with the details, but for the last few months I have not been feeling quite like myself. I have been seeing a cardiologist for some time and I consulted him with my worries. After a couple of appointments, I realized that he was being dismissive. Why? Well, this is all he had to say:
“You are fine; lose some weight, you’ll feel better”.
That is sound advice and yes, I could afford to lose some weight and exercise is always good, but based on how I felt, I was sure that there was more to it than that.
So I changed cardiologists, and it was one of the best things I have ever done.
The new cardiologist listened to me; she worked me up with a variety of tests that culminated on a heart catheterization (On Christmas Eve 2013!) to image the blood vessels of my heart. Amusingly, I mentioned this imaging process (angiography) in another post.
Long story short, a couple of my coronaries were partially blocked, likely accounting for my symptoms. There was not any immediate danger (easier to see from the Dr.’s perspective than from mine) so it was decided to treat it medically at first.
In Puerto Rico we have a saying that roughly translated says: “It is one thing to summon the devil; it is a completely different thing to see him appear before you”.
Let me explain, the way this saying applies to what I am talking about is that at some level, logically, I knew I took those tests because of the possibility of heart disease. In reality though, you never really expect to have anything. Does this make sense? At an emotional level I was blindsided, I experienced what I like to call a “holy crap moment”.
Anyway, as they say, one thing led to another and all of this resulted in another catheterization in combination with another procedure, angioplasty, this time to put a couple of stents to open the compromised blood vessels. There is more to the story, but I will not go into that now.
As you may imagine, real or perceived, this was a close call and I am acting accordingly. I have already dropped ten pounds and my lipid profile is the best I have ever had. Remember our friends the statins?
Thank God I never had a heart attack, I am reasonably relieved (and somewhat calmer), and I am doing everything I am supposed to do to minimize the risk of anything else to happen. Also, as I said, I am not in any immediate danger (again, the doctor says it more convincingly than I…). Do I feel better? Physically, I’d say yes, although still tired; that should improve over time. Talk about a wake-up call!
One thing is for sure, this semester, my cardiovascular pharmacology lectures will have a personal touch.
To my believer friends, prayers welcome and appreciated!
To my agnostic friends, please send good thoughts my way!
To my atheist friends, please wish me a lot of luck!