Mar 5
shentong , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

My unexpected new life...

6 years after chemo/radiation/hormone treatment of breast cancer, I felt i finally returned to my previous/"normal" self: Full time working, totally enjoying my (almost) daily brisk walking, minimal pills, physically and mentally feeling good, fostering kittens for the local community... "Life is good!" As I approach to my big bday coming in early Apr, my hubby and I scheduled a celebration cruise to New Zealand at that time...

Not so fast. 

Some unusual and funny "big lump in the throat" feeling after brief exertion last Oct prompted me to push for a stress test. As a medical professional myself I know it's abnormal and warrants some "rule-outs".  The result was far from my wished "laughable paranoia". A series of testing including angiogram confirmed "Chronic Total Occlusion of middle LAD x 4 cm", likely secondary to radiation therapy to my left breast ca.  Rather than stents, a bypass surgery was deemed to be best treatment option (for long term), and scheduled for Mar 14. 

Here I am, just when I thought I can restart my "new/normal" life, I need an open-heart surgery!  I will b trying to "get up and walk" on my big 50 bday instead of cruising in New Zealand... and that is if the surgery completes perfectly. 

After the initial shock, I gradually accepted the reality and start to prepare for my surgery. I surfed the net and found this community! I started to calm down, i believe I found a right place and a knowledgeable group to learn, share and to survive my new battle for life!

Thank you for reading! I'm looking forward to knowing you and learning from you!

  • Dottieann
    Hi There, Did you have the surgery or are you waiting to have it...where are you having it. are you a nurse...I am sorry about all your troubles and wishing and praying for you with this new adventure to come...keep your faith and stay positive and most of all trust God.. Dottie
  • arnieandcaroline13
    Shengton my name is Arnold Cabral my email address is we could communicate better take care remember go God's Speed.
  • THALE9
    Shentong hang in there! You are such a strong woman who has already endured and survived so much! Keep up your spirits and know that you are not alone. Many prayers and blessings!
  • isosa
    You have already proven how strong you are. You have what it takes to survive this too unlike some of us who give up and decide to help the ripper instead of fighting. God Bless!
    Hi Shentong, Keep the faith and the strength, I am an ex-pat New Zealander living in Austin, TX and have to confirm the fact that missing the trip to NZ is a TOTAL bummer but the fact that the option appears to be a possibility for next year or the year after should not be lost on you. I'm a stroke survivor who has all of the usual challenges associated with surviving stroke, e.g. hemiparesis, spasticity, mobility challenges, etc. but you cannot focus on the things you're challenged by. I think its far more productive to acknowledge the things you can do and move forward on that basis. Sending you my thoughts and good vibes for a successful surgery and a full recovery. kiwisfly
  • shirleymom
    You have already been through the worst! I had six bypasses in 2004 and I am still here 13 years later! Heart surgery is easier than people think. Just listen to your doctors and ask LOTS of questions. New Zealand will be there next year, and all those sights and people will be there waiting for you! Good luck to you. AND 50 is just a number. I turned 70 last year -- same age as Cher!
  • Infobug
    New Zealand is here right now, this is 2017 and the age of the internet. Find yourself some pretty pictures of OZ. chat it up on an interest group, and surf real estate down under through realtor's website. It's closer (and more real) than you think...just keep the optimism flowing...sign me 72 and learning to be a late-life nerd even though the stroke laid me low for 6 months of hospitalization.
  • AHAASAKatie
    Thank you so much for sharing! Looking forward to hearing more about your surgery and recovery! Best, Katie
  • sdcrumley1
    All of you clearly have me by far in your struggles. I am encouraged by your stories and my faith in God who has always been there for me when I hit rock bottom and did not know what I was going to do next to take care of myself (have always had multiple minor health problems). Now I have reached a more serious level of health problems at what I thought was too early of an age 55! I tried to come off all of my disability meds at docs advice safely in a hospital (the wrong one)!!!! I believe that was the beginning of all my current health problems. Two times they let my blood pressure get life and death level before giving me a blood pressure pill (They almost killed me and when I talked to the CEO and told him that another CEO had been there twice the day I was so sick and never offered to call my assigned doctor even though the doctor had left clear orders to do so. I began to slur my speech and run into the wall. Finally took BP was 188/111! They wrote the bill off after they verified my nightmare I went through. This thing they missed was my blood would not stop clotting when hey tried to clear me medically! That was end of 2014.On 8-7-15, I woke with moderate pain in my right side and called the ambulance because I live by myself. I went to same hospital because they at least had all my records and surely this would be helpful...NOT!!! They kept me all day and there was literally no one at all left in the ER, not even a medical person, just me. They had told me I had pneumonia, gallstones, and a kidney stone still in kidney (no problems there as I have a long history of those). I begged them not to send me home because I was afraid they had missed something on the CT I insisted they do because of all my medical history. Gave me RX for pneumonia. Four days later on 8-11-15 I awoke abruptly screaming at 3am and for a few minutes I could not move or get out of bed due to the severe pain again in my right side (deep inside). I finally was able to reach the phone on nightstand to call the ambulance back and returned to same hospital only this time I was giving the orders. I told them that I had warned them not to send me home and this time I wanted the Patient Advocate of whom I was familiar with. She send the charge nurse and he wanted to scold me for calling around. I informed him I would do whatever it took to advocate for my life! He had to admit me because my blood/oxygen level was life threatening and my armband read so. Ok 4 days in they were going to send me home again after doing some heart tests and a tests to draw fluid off the outside of my right lung as the results said no infection there. It was the weekend and new staff was on when all of a sudden a new nurse came in smiling and telling me I was going home! I burst into tears and told her they all promised me that would not happen until I felt comfortable. She did not know what to do so she went for help. In the meantime I saw the unit director's extension on a white board on the wall. I called her and she sent the floor charge nurse who really listened to my story and within minutes they had a wheel chair in my room and hauled me back down to the CT Scan only this time they used the contrast (finally I had found the thing I was afraid as going to kill me if they dismissed me again...a blood clot in my right lung)! They immediately began to jump into action, took me off certain meds and began a blood thinner Eliquis. I am going to shorten the rest of this story for your sake. I was bounced off multiple doctors they first had to stop my hemorrhaging after taking me off a hormone I was taking (15 days and was become anemic). My Gyn was out of country saw his colleague. Nurse gave me a depo shot and within 2 days it stopped. They did ultrasound and found 10 fibroid tumors (which I knew I had just not the #), Endometrium was very thick so they did a biopsy which was negative. Meantime I have Home Health coming into my home checking me weekly except for the weeks I had doctor appts. I was about to be dropped from home health with still no answers to new symptoms I began to have: severe blackout dizzy spells with nausea. I told the Director that I still believed that I would die in my apartment alone and no one would know until too late. She tried contacting the hospital, but as usual I had to fast forward the process. I went to see another cardiologist other than the one that I had just found out by ordering my records saw me in the hospital (well read the tests the technicians completed). After reading that report, I thought I was at death's door (pulmonary artery hypertension, regurgitation of blood from both sides valves). New cardiologist said all was fine considering my disability (was rear ended by a kid on a cell phone one year after a cervical fusion and I was aware of multiple discs in neck and lumbar degenerating. I had to be written out because I could not walk much with my right leg (polyradiculopathy of multiple nerves in the upper lumbar per Emory University). I left there feeling dumb founded. I decided to go back to Emory to see the Director of Cardiology of Emory Clinic. He looked at previous tests and did a new EKG. He said"you have some minor heart problems, nothing really to do, basically you are a boring heart patient" and laughed! I laughed too because Emory had never failed me in the past in any area and was once again dumb founded. The diagnosis I found in my heart records from the new cardiology records said I have Left Diastolic Dysfunction, Mild Phase. There are four phases and everything I read of reputable sights including The AHA, listed all my symptoms to a tee and all said left untreated, leads to heart failure in the final stage. Now I was told by Emory to see a Pulmonary Specialist and made the appt. in Columbus where I live. All tests have been completed and the nurses told me that the doctor had pushed my apt out because he had seen my records and does not feel there is anything to treat although he handed me an Asthmanex Inhaler on first visit without even saying he thought I had asthma. I see him next week and I expect to be kicked to the curb again. There is only one specialist I haven't seen and that is the hematologist and I don't hardly have enough fight in me to go through any more tests, not to mention the money. My one old doctor who has been seeing me for many years for high cholesterol and monitoring my liver function as well as glucose because the previous Endocrinologist had me on Metformin. He took me of and increased my cholesterol meds which were very low dose. He is the only doctor out of all the medical arena who had enough care and sense enough to tell me that you don't have blood clots in my upper legs where I had been hurting, but in the lower legs. He examined me on the table and said I had Greater Trochanteris Bursitis In both hips. He scheduled me for Physical Therapy which I chose to go back to where my disability began treatment (Hughston Orthopedic Sports Clinic) because they have so many of my medical history there as well. I asked my Orthopedic Surgeon's secretary to please advise the PT dept. not to mess up my spine by manipulating my hips which I an live with right now as I thought the pain was blood clots and not one medical person cared enough to correct least I hope they knew that was wrong. This same doctor that discovered the error is taking me off Eliquis one every other day until bottle is empty. Please pray for me that I don't have another serious blood clot. I pray for everyone in the world who is suffering or doesn't know the Lord (our savior), including all of our enemies...I pray for peace in the world and no more hatred and division. But our Bible history which is completely factual tells us that we must love one another and forgive one another to be forgiven by Him. I hope that my story may help someone and I am open to hear more stories and experiences of relevance or not. God Bless you all!
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