A powerful journey from living with an artificial heart to a heart transplant....

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kitchener Appointment

I had a regular follow-up appointment today in Kitchener. They are my local resource and one team that was part of saving my life. I always enjoy going to see them. They are very good to me and we have a lot of fun.

I have been having problems with shortness of breath since about January. The docs recently did a chest x-ray, echo and a breathing test. Chest x-ray and echo were good but the breathing test showed a slight thickening of the diffusion membrane of the lungs.... I hope I got that right.... The point is, that would explain the shortness of breath. It could be caused by one, or both, of two things. One. I have been on amiodarone for a while now and while it's a great drug, I'm told the only one right now, to handle arrythmias, it has many nasty side-affects.

I was very reluctant to go on it but the choice was either arrythmia or no arrythmia..... It's not a good feeling for those of you that haven't felt it. The most concerning part about having arrythmia was that with an LVAD I wouldn't feel how fast my heart was going and Ivan (my ICD) could fire when I wouldn't actually feel all that bad. So I chose no arrythmia.
The amiodarone could potentially contribute to the thickening of the membrane wall of my lungs. Although, I haven't been on it all that long, it was still a concern.

The second option that could cause the thickening is simple. Just plain old right-sided heart failure. My left side is fully supported with the LVAD but the right side is just working less. I still need that side. So the shortness of breath and thickening could be just the way it is right now.
My amiodarone was reduced by half and I'm not experiencing any arrythmias, good thing. If the thickening is from the drug, it will most likely clear after I'm off the drug. If it's just heart failure than my assumption would be that it would clear after I get my new heart.
That's what I know.

Everything else seems good. The doc was happy with my improvement in cardiac rehabilitation. I did a 6 minute walking test when I started and did 392 metres. A month later I walked about 480 metres in 6 minutes! That's a great improvement! My muscle test also showed improvement over the same time frame. I'm really happy with that.
There weren't any major concerns and I will just continue on as is.

1 comment:

  1. You are so beautiful and amazing Andrea, with a driving force that encourages everyone! There are many wonderful words that describe an individual, like you, with such a positive attitude! Too many to mention I'll say!! We are proud of you, your inspiration is uplifting and most of all we love you very much! love Mom & Dad C. xooxoox