May 31
3Sevens , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Chemo Damaged My Heart

I'm happy to find this site because it's where people like us can go and tell about our experience, and someone is listening and can understands and maybe able to help. In 2004 I was diagnose with stage one breast cancer and I had chemo every three weeks for six months and after I completed my chemo I had 38 weeks of radiation. I had to have a Muga Test to see if my heart was strong enough to withstand chemo and my Ejection Fraction at that time (2004) was 66% that is great, so my heart was in great condition for chemo.

In 2005 I started having shortness of breath but I didn't know what was going on and did not know how serious these symptons  were. The shortness of breath continued for for about 3 months until one day I could not get out of my car and  walk to my office at work, at that time I knew something was very serious wrong. I call my Oncologist he told me to go to ER, after a number of test they found fluid around my lungs, it was so much they had to drain it from my back with a very long thick needle. That is when the doctor told me I have Chronic Systolic Heart Failure and my Ejection Fraction was 30% and that the Chemotherapy had damaged my heart. I was put on a a special heart program and medication for a year with this diagonosis and my Ejection Fraction came back up to 45%. My Cardiologist said I will have to continue taking my medication for life.

In 2013 I retired and had to change cardiologist and my new cardiologist said I was doing so great my ejection fraction was at 50% and he was taking me off two medications. I was concerned because the cardiologist that diagnosed me in 2005 said that I will be on this medication for the rest of my life. I mention it to my new cardiologist he said "I don't see why you would need to stay on medication if you don't need it". In 2015 I notice half way in  my zomba class I wouild be out of breath. Went to see my cardiologist he said he is putting me back on one of my medications because my ejection fraction was 35% and told me to come back in one month. I did and my ejection fraction had drop to 20%. I lost faith in this cardiologist, so I found another cardiologist he said my heart was too weak and I could have a stroke or heart attack and I needed an defibrillator implant to monitor my heart and keep me alive. I had an defibrillator implant in March 2016 and I'm back on all of my medications. Still going to Curves working out but not zumba. I'm happy that I changed doctors when I saw things were not going right, and I'm happy with my new cardiologist. Never feel bad about changing doctors it could save your life.
  • julieb
    great that you kept up on it. my issue was full cardiac arrest from taking cipro for a uti.. i had taken it a long time ago with no problems. we gotta stay strong and on top of things.
  • Joysdesk
    I have found it is always in our best interest to get many opinions from medical professionals before settling on the treatment that one recommends. It has worked best for me in most cases and I have been through so many ailments, surgeries and accidents in my lifetime so I know what I am talking about. Cant trust just one doctor any more!
  • trvlgy2u
    Keep on keeping on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Trish Peterson
    Trish Peterson,
    I have a friend going through Chemo right now who has had a rapid heart rate to begin with. The oncologist said no she didn't have to see the cardiologist. I was with her and I insisted. My uncle died of chemo induced heart failure and my family Dr. died and through cpr was brought back to life twice! If you have chemo you should indeed be seeing a cardiologist!
  • Shanla
    YES, be your own advocate! With everything that happened to me, and, still is happening with me; I don't, even, really, trust any doctor, anymore. Some of my health conditions were caused by certain medications that doctors had put me on; and some made me believe that there are more quacks out there, than doctors. God is my doctor ... my healer. In a previous post, that I had written; I failed to mention that I had went in and saw my primary doctor, due to chest discomfort that I had ... just one hour BEFORE I had my heart attack. He had had an EKG done, and, of course, performed his definition of a physical ... then, gave me a clean bill of health, stating that nothing was wrong. In fact, he told me that I just had a case of anxiety. Mind you, I had driven myself to this appointment, and back home. About an hour later, I felt very hot, and nauseated; and my heart was feeling like it was doing flip flops, which was very painful, each time it flipped, and, then, flopped. One of my children called, during all of this; and, I only asked her if I could call her back later because I wasn't aware that I was having a heart attack. Why would I be? Had not my doctor just told me that my heart was just fine? Luckily, my daughter was worried because I had NEVER, EVER, not spoken to my children when they called. They came, first, before anything else that I was doing. My daughter called one of my girlfriends, when I hung up on her, who lived close by; and told her that something was wrong ... that she was worried about me. My girlfriend came, to my house, saw me running through my house, and said don't argue with me; we're going to the hospital. I didn't; I knew that something was wrong. Remember, neither myself, nor my girlfriend, realized that I was having a heart attack. On the way, we ran into a bad car accident, and had to detour (a policeman made us), which added another two blocks, to our getting to the hospital. My girlfriend dropped me off, at the emergency entrance; and went to park her car ... we were laughing, and joking, because there was a sign that said No Parking. When I went inside, there was a long line ... my chest was hurting so bad, I knew that I didn't want to get in it. I went up to the security guard, to tell him so; and asked if there was anyone else, that could help me? The next thing that I knew, he started yelling, grabbed me, and put me in a wheelchair, running, pushing me pass all of those people, telling them to get out of the way ... screaming that I was having a heart attack, and asking for someone to come help him. Then, I just remember colored lights flashing, and opening my eyes, to see my girlfriend crying, looking at me. The next incident, with my NEW Primary Physician, was when I felt a small lump in my right breast. The doctor, also, felt it, later, at my appointment, that I had requested. He told me that it was nothing to worry about ... just some fatty tissue. I felt like it was growing; each time, that I felt it ... so, 6 months later, I demanded that I wanted an x-ray, or something. A mammogram was scheduled ... breast cancer, was the diagnosis. Devastating; especially, since, deep down, I felt that it could have been caught when it was a very tiny lump, if not for that doctor, who insisted that I just had some fatty tissue. NO, I do not trust doctors, anymore. I say follow your instinct; then, make sure that YOU follow up on it, and make something happen. Get a second opinion, ASAP! Are you aware that you can request a second opinion, through your insurance; and they pay for it? I say that if it is an issue that you feel very strongly about ... like the issue with the Cardiologist whom, obviously, was really helping you, when he put you ON those meds, and stated that you had to be on them for life ... that when another doctor, YEARS later (and you know that things had only improved when you were placed on the meds, in the first place), the second stupid Cardiologist that should have figured that it was BECAUSE of those meds, why you were doing so well in the first place ... RUN! See other Cardiologists! I would have, even, paid out of pocket, to see that previous Cardiologist ... and tell him what the other one wanted to do, BEFORE allowing him to do so. I am so sorry that things for you had only gotten worse; and that you had to leave your Zumba class. Prayerfully, your health will start improving, again. Prayers going up for you. God got you.
  • Bobcat
    The call for independence... "Consider The Journey In Blade of Grass... It Take Place Beneath the Surface... And the Road He Travel Upon Call the... Least Resistant!..." © Thank for sharing...
  • 3Sevens
    Hi Shanla, I did not go into all the details, but the same thing happen to me as you said happen to you. I went to my primary doctor and told him my symptoms shortness of breath and I could barely walk or stand and he examined me and I had an EKG he said everything was good and sent me home. When we got home the phone was ringing my husband answer it was my oncologist told me to go straight to ER that they were expecting me. Our conditions are very serious and we need doctors that care about their patients and know what they are doing. Yes I had a excellent cardiologist from 2005 to 2012 but he retired and I retired and my insurance changed to Medicare so I had to get all new doctors. All my doctor's are specialist and I did not have to see my primary doctor during that time until I started with Medicare. I have the Medicare Advantage plan which allows me to have medical insurance with Humana and there are some good doctors you just have to let them know you take your health very serious and the two of you are in this together "and if you are not feeling a good doctor and patient relationship get another doctor". The internet is a big help I can go to my insurance company online and they have a list of all doctors in there plan and a little background information on them. Thanks for sharing your additional information, but don't give up on the professional help there are some good doctors.
  • Bevrly
    So sorry to hear of your problems. I know what you are going through as my husband had a stroke in 1990 and a few years later he got Alzheimers. It was some hard years and he passed away 7 years ago. I am on my own and 85 years old. I go to the YMCA 3 days a week and work out on 8 machines and do 1 hour of Aqua Zumba which I really like. The machines not so much. I am still able to mow my lawn and do all of my housework and gardening. I also am still a Stroke Peer Visitor and also go to the Stroke Support meetings once a month. I consider myself a lucky person to be in good health. I did have a TIA in 2003 but no after effects from it. Beverly
  • NE
    Well, thank you for sharing this information.. I am now seeing a cardiologist for congestive heart failure.. Now I am glad to know if I feel like the doctor is not doing right, I am going to select a different doctor.
  • 3Sevens
    Hi Bevrly,'s great that you can do all that you do at 85 years old, you are inspiring and keep enjoying the things you like to do. I also do water-aerobics and it feels so good to get in the water and workout.
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