In January 2005 I had to have a minor surgery to biopsy a lump I found on my breast. In the recovery room I had horrific chest pain. The pulmonologist was called in to see me and he surmised that my blood pressure dropped causing an ischemic chest pain because of the compromised pulmonary artery. Nearly a year went by until summer 2006 when I developed some of the worst pain I had ever had. I thought it was just another flareup, but something told me it was more serious. I was also experiencing more fatigue and having blackout spells when I’d lift or stretch. I tried to wait it out, but I ended up going to the ER where, once again, I was told I needed to have an angiogram to check the stents. I realized the best thing to do was to try to find Dr. Rothman and ask him what to do.
A few days later I found Dr. Rothman after searching for him on the Internet. He told me he wanted to do the angiogram himself and wanted me to make arrangements to fly to Las Vegas where he was now practicing. In September I went to Las Vegas with Monica and met up with my mom. Dr. Rothman examined me and was not surprised by any of my symptoms. The angiogram revealed that my stents had nearly closed off completely. He said I was as ill as I had been when he first met me in San Diego. Apparently, the tissue in my vessels grew through the stent and closed them off. “You’re a tissue grower, “ Dr. Rothman told me. Amazingly, he managed to open the stents up using balloon angioplasty even more than he had initially six years before. The next day I could tell the difference in how I felt. The plan is for me to have angiograms every two years to check the stents and reopen them if need be.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Me and my new little companion, Abraham, named after Dr. Rothman
I'm finally upright again. I ended up being the later case yesterday as Dr. R had to do an angiogram on a baby. Apparently, babies can't fast as long as adults for procedures. They took me to the cath lab around 11:30 and let Monica follow me into the lab up until they started to intubate me. I asked them if they were going to make me curl up on one of the little pediatric tables and thanked them for sending me the pre-op packet that said I could bring my favorite bottle and stuffed toy.
I told them my favorite bottle came with salt and lime. The anesthesiologist injected something into my IV. Monica told me later what I said. Of course, I have no recollection. I only remember taking off my glasses and handing them to the nurse because I was feeling woozy. She said I asked her, "Is it normal to have yellow spots all over your face?" Then I said, "Wooah, what did they give me? I think it was LSD." I don't remember Monica kissing me or anything. I did wake up and felt them taking the ET tube out and coughing a lot. They said, "Everything went great." I thought that meant they didn't find anything. When I got to recovery Monica and my mom were there and they told me that both my stents were almost completely closed down, but Dr. R. managed to balloon them open again. In fact, they are now more open than they were when he initially put my stents in. In 2000 he opened my artery up to 8mm. At this angio it was closed to 2.8mm and now they are 9.2mm open. My mom and Monica got to see the film where he ballooned open the artery and saw all the blood rush into my lung where it hadn't gone before. I was only getting a little blood into the upper lobe and now I'm filling the lower lobe as well. I can't wait to see the film. Dr. R is going to send me my own copy. Hopefully, I can get it online to show you.
I have an interesting new haircut...ahem and my groin feels like it's been pummeled a bit with a sledge hammer. I took off the pressure dressing this afternoon. I had to spend the night in the hospital because I kept puking after the procedure. That is the worst part of all this. I hate to throw up. At 10:30 they called Dr. R who ordered some Phenergan IV and I was out for the night. I think my mom and Monica were relieved because they'd worry about my groin bleeding in the middle of the night and they'd have no way to get me back to the hospital except to call an ambulance.
I woke up at 6am and felt much better. I even managed to eat breakfast. Dr. R came in and released me this morning and I was out by 9am. He said I should be feeling much better, have less shortness of breath and be able to do much more. I am actually glad they found something to fix and I realize my lack of stamina and fatigue are not my imagination. The only bad thing is that I have to go have an angiogram every 2 years now because the tissue I grew in my stents is not typical and could be caused by my disease process. As Dr. R put it, I'm a "tissue grower." I think everyone was surprised the stents had closed down so much.
Thanks so much for all your kind words and support!
On Monday night before the procedure we went to see Cirque du Soleil's "LOVE." It was fantastic. If you get a chance, especially if you're a Beatles fan, go and see it.