Matters of the heart…

We all want to think our bodies are infallible…somewhat  immortal at times.  It’s why we constantly do stupid things to push the limits of what we should be able to do…jumping out of planes, triathalons…chili eating contests… ok, my stomach wouldn’t survive a good chili eating contest.  hee… However, we take for granted that it can handle the simple day-to-day stuff…like just surviving!  When my doctors told me back in 2011 that I only had 10% usage left of my kidneys, I felt sick… my body was failing and I was now going to have to take my life in my own hands.  I can’t rely on my body to just smoothly tick along anymore and I now had some very important decisions to make.  How scary is that? It was then, that I decided to try for the transplant.   And I’ve already been denied twice.  Each time, it was up to me to fight for my place on the list, and fight I did!

The first time was last summer, when the cardiologist found heart damage in his routine heart cath.  When he told me that he had to place two stents in my heart, I was told I might not be able to move forward with a transplant.  I fought it, and was told they would reconsider.  The second time was when they decided that b/c I had melanoma in the past, it was too dangerous a risk for me to be on the anti-rejection meds post transplant surgery.  (They lower the immune system and make cancer a higher risk).  I understand their argument, and yes, I can end up with cancer again at any time, whether it’s due to the anti-rejection meds or something else!  I could also be hit by a bus tomorrow, but it’s not going to stop me from planning my future!  I’d rather be proactive and try to fix what is broken now, rather than wait for something that may or may not happen.  Once again, I challenged them with a 2nd opinion (by a local oncologist) and wrote letters begging for my life.  It worked, and one month later, I was added to the list.  I think I’m getting the hang of this fighting thing… 😉

Now, for the third time, I’m faced with a possibility that this might slip through my fingers.  Last month, I had to peform a stress test on a treadmill, and my cardiologist found the results to be troublesome.  Turns out, there has been a significant amount of aggressive heart damage on the front part of my heart due to a possible heart attack!  Wait… WHAT???  I didn’t have a heart attack!  I never felt anything… no pain in my chest, no pain in my left arm… nothing.  Apparently, it’s quite common for diabetics to have “silent heart attacks” without any symptoms, so it’s not a surprise to him that I never felt anything.  Of course, he’s not sure that’s what happened, so we’re still going to do further testing to find out.  Right now, he’s trying to fix some issues with medication, however, he told me that if this doesn’t work, I’d have to get bypass surgery!  (yes, there are a ton of exclaimation points in this post…because it’s still a shock that I’m trying to absorb.  LOL!)

I do feel at time like I am watching someone else’s movie on Lifetime or something… it’s not what happens to someone like me!  This is the kind of stuff that happens to people MUCH older than me, not to someone in their 30’s still early in life.  The doctors all love pointing that out to me too…”you’re so young!”  “You’re one of the youngest in the clinic,”… and it’s blatantly obvious every time I walk into the dialysis center or the orientations.  I’ve got everyone beat by about 20 years!  I guess the good thing about my age is that I still have my mind and my agility, which allows me to care for myself independently w/out the help of medical assistants, which I’m sure a lot of the others need.

I have an appointment with my cardiologist today.  I’m hoping that he’ll be able to tell me what our game plan is.  I hate the unknown.  And right now, I’m struggling with how to plan just the next few months.  Can I travel?  What are my limitations?  What about work?  Is it smart for me to continue to try for promotions and big projects?  What will life post by-pass look like?  And, of course, will I still be eligible for the transplant?   Hopefully, he’ll have answers for me.  I do have faith that I’m in good hands.  Whatever happens is meant to happen!

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6 responses

  1. Keep of fighting girl! I have faith in you! Well, my dad had a bypass (5 way) and he’s back to normal. I am back to normal, if you’d think that’s even a state for me to be in, haha. The drugs kinda make you more aware of the sun, but I haven’t gone into the bubble yet! I think each individually can be managed, but that’s my 3rd and highly qualified opinion! 🙂

    1. Thanks Regan! That’s actually reassuring to know! I’m already albino from avoiding the sun, so that’s not a prob. Keep your medically credible opinions coming! 🙂 You are the one person I DO know that’s actually “been there, done that”!

  2. Roberta, It is terrible what have been through and what your are continuing to go through. You do, however, seem to be doing all the right things. Fighting, staying positive, and keeping in touch with loved ones. I am not only praying for your transplants I am also praying for your healing. Katherine

  3. I want to be there to give you a big hug. Let’s do it!

  4. Cyndi Hendrickson | Reply

    Wow! I didnt realize this was the Verta I knew way back when. You’re one tough cookie. Well, maybe I did know that. Keep up the fight. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things!

  5. Berta, you are such a brave girl and you are a fighter! I know that at times the world seems “out to get you” but you have all of us to love and support you! Hang in there and keep praying for God to help. Lots of love and prayers are sent your way!

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