Let’s face it. No one wants to receive bad news, but life has a mind of it’s own. As Forrest Gump quoted his mama, “Life’s like a box of chocolates…you just never know what your going to get!”
I received not-so-good news from my cardiologist this past Wednesday, and here it is already Sunday. I wanted to write about it earlier, but I was still attempting to “wrap my head” around the information I was given.
Others have received worse, but there have been others who have received better I told myself. Thus, the “pity party,” at least for several hours, but not for days. There was no hop-in-the-bed-pull-the-covers-over-the head drama…just a few hours and then it was back to the work at hand. Helping other women living with, or at risk of, heart disease.
My issue(s) involve both my lungs and my heart. The heart and lungs work together, kind of like a marriage…a partnership. When one is not functioning properly, the other suffers. Well, if my previous marriages (3 to be exact) were indicative of how well my lungs and heart were going to work together, I was definitely screwed!!!!
I have Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH) and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH), which is “double the trouble!” There is NO cure for these, and the patient, in this case, me, will only get worse.
The bright light in this very dark tunnel however, is that with some medications, PPH and PAH can be stabilized giving the patient not only a better quality of life, but a prolonged life expectancy.
For approximately 4 years, Nifedipine held my Pulmonary Hypertension at bay, keeping me stabilized. Then one day, I noticed that I was out of breath doing things that I normally was not out of breath doing. This lead to a stress echo, leading to a right and a left catheterization.
Having access to my health records online, I retrieved them soon after, printed them out, wrote questions and concerns near those issues I had, and took them with me to last week’s appointment. I got, as always, straight-forward answers from my cardiologist but with compassion, hope and empathy. There are questions that you want answers to, but sometimes, those answers can sting.
My last question was a doozie! I asked what my “life expectancy” was with PPH/PAH, not to mention the heart conditions that I also had? For the record, there is NO “set” answer for this. There are suppositions, but my life will undoubtedly be shortened. I was given a new med, after the first one following the procedures did not work, which after the first few pills, had not lowered my blood pressure, which was an expectation due to lowering of my already low blood pressure being one of the side effects. However, it did create cases of “heartburn,” with the final pill resulting in a four hour painful experience of heartburn and chest pressure – two down and ? to go??
I know it’s a “crap shoot” of sorts when trying new meds, but you see, I’ve NEVER been a gambler, so this process is exceptionally hard for me. I never liked Vegas and the gambling….I like the concept of handing someone money and then they give me something tangible in return…sadly, with my heart/lung issues, it’s not going to be that cut and dry.
So, I now await the next new med, continue doing those activities that I can do, even if it means pushing myself. I already eat right, exercise, am a non-smoker, non-diabetic, not obese, have never experienced high blood pressure, so for me, and for many others, it comes down to this…
Trust my/your cardiologist, or any other physicians dealing with my/your PPH/PAH, that they are doing everything in their power to give you and I the best quality of life, as well as to prolong my/your life.
More importantly, know that your life is in God’s Plan, in God’s Hands, in God’s Timing….then relax and enjoy every day for what it is…a PRESENT from God!!!!!!!