Now that my health scares have fallen to the back of my mind, I wanted to share with the class some of the troubles I faced this semester – other than the confusion as to how to relate the records management ideas to data base management…
Last year (August), my heart was re-damaged by a severe infection and allergic reaction to a medication. I put off my concern and allowed my regular doctor to treat the symptoms until this August when I finally went to see my cardiologist. I have heart failure (had for 15+ years and my heart had improved to the point where I had normal heart function). The damage to my heart was caused by chemotherapy and radiation from 1990-92. I had right ventricular cardiomyopathy. The right side of the heart is responsible for pumping blood into the lungs to be oxygenated. Heart function is measured by the ejection fraction, which is the proportion of blood that is moved from one chamber of the heart to wherever it is supposed to go. So like I said – I had a normal ejection fraction about 8 years following my original diagnosis of heart failure. This was significant to me because the doctors basically gave me back a ‘normal’ life expectation. I could now imagine living beyond my fifties – maybe even into the mid-sixties.
I knew last year that my heart had suffered damage and I was in active heart failure again. I did nothing about it. Then August this year, I finally made an appointment to see my cardiologist. The echo showed that my ejection fraction was very low (so very damaged). My heart was now suffering from left ventricular cardiomyopathy. The left side of your heart is responsible for sending oxygenated blood out to your body. My left ventricle was dilated – so much larger than it should be – so when it pumped – it only ejects a small percentage of the blood it has.
I like metaphors. A small water ballon – will empty almost all its contents if one lets go it it without tying it off. A dilated water ballon – let’s consider a party balloon – blown up many times and them filled with water – if you let that balloon go without tying, it may not ‘eject’ the majority of its contents. It will not be enthusiastic about it at all.
So. Maybe I can fix it he said. I have changed my diet, lost weight (and continue to), and determined the amount of exercise I can do – and I am doing it. Stress be gone. I got some work to do!
Oh – and I had a lump growing on my rib – found it in June. It was biopsied (CT assisted lung biopsy – good times – good times…). It is not cancer. That is good. The doctor says I probably cracked a rib sometime ago – so cool. That is a good thing.