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Medical Stuff is a Pain
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Medical stuff is a pain; to be more specific, heart issues are a pain. Open heart surgery is a pain. Fear is a pain.

OK, now that I have the pity party over with, here's the scoop: Yesterday's appointment with my cardiologist was fairly routine, until he arrived at the word "surgery". At that point my brain shut down and I have no idea what else he said.

I'm going back to see him in 3 months for a stress echocardiogram, and I'm going to bring a patient advocate with me this time, to help me ask the right questions and remember what the doctor says.

Surgery? Well, people with aortic stenosis go for decades without symptoms, no problem. But once symptoms appear? The statistics are not so good--50% are dead in two years, 75% in three. In other words, surgery becomes required, not optional.

What I'd like to know is what the outcome was for people who exercised, lost weight, ate right--in general, in good health. I bet many of those who died had other health issues, which worked against them. I wonder how to find out.

In some ways I'm more scared of the anesthetic than I am of the surgery itself. Hard to recover from it, even after the body is healing just fine.

Not sure what kind of surgery he was talking about. Valve replacement, I think. Right now I'm taking medications and exercising; in three months it should be much clearer how much shortness of breath and chest pain was due to being out of shape and how much the result of valvular insufficiency.

I'm in denial (Denial is not just a river in France). I expect to control this thing with exercise and supplements, and not require surgery. My great-grandmother had exactly the same problem, long before surgeons worked on the heart, and with care she lived into her 80's, active and alert. My belief/hope is that if she could do it, I can too.

Exercise? I'm a believer.

What I'd like to know is how do you occupy your brain while walking on a treadmill. Hard to read with the head bobbing up and down...maybe large print book? Time on the treadmill seems to go so slowly when I'm just staring at the time readout; and goes by quickly when there's something else interesting to occupy my mind.


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