Monday, February 23, 2009

Health Issues

This year has started off with a bang as far as health stuff is concerned. I had two issues pop up in January.

I found out right before I went on my work cruise (hmmm... I don't think I ever blogged about that!) that I have fibroids, which are benign tumors that grow in muscle layers of my uterus. My primary care doctor recommended I see a gynecologist about it because I have six of them and one in particular was kinda big (6.6 cm wide), or as she put it: "the size of a small grapefruit." My first question was "How could I have something that big inside me and NOT know it?" I found out that common symptoms are problems with urination and heavy/painful periods. Luckily, I have nothing like that happening.

After waiting a month for an appointment, I met with the gynecologist who said that the big fibroid is in the wall of my uterus vs. taking up space inside the uterus, so that's good. He said that he didn't recommend taking it out because cutting into my uterus would be more likely to lead to infertility than just leaving it in, especially if I have no symptoms and there's no reason to take it out. I was so relieved, I almost started crying while sitting in his office. The next step is I need to have another ultrasound done in six months, just to see how fast they're growing.

The other thing I've been concerned about all month, although at this point, I've just given up being stressed about it, is the chance that I could have ARVD, a genetic heart disease. Basically, if you have ARVD and your heart has an arrhythmia, it can cause you to die. The reason I even got tested for it was because it was declared the cause of death of my cousin Donna, who passed away last August. Her sister Robyne was diagnosed with it and was almost immediately put under the knife to have a defibrillator installed, which was rather alarming. The defibrillator acts like a pacemaker and zaps your heart if it has an arrhythmia to get it back on track.

After all this, we found out that ARVD was the cause of death listed on my grandmother's autopsy several years ago, but no one ever TOLD US to go get checked because it's a genetic disease! If someone had, my cousin Donna could possibly be alive today. But Robyne says, Donna has potentially saved all of us. I love Robyne's faith and optimism. It's inspiring.

So far, I've met with a cardiologist who has participated in studies related to ARVD, so I hope he'll be able to properly diagnose me. I have a cardiac MRI scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, so I get to spend 90 minutes in a tube, trying to remain very, very still. I'm going to take a CD of the MRI to my appointment with my cardiologist on Wednesday morning so he can then interpret it to see if I have the dreaded fatty tissue on my right ventricle. You've got to love modern technology!

If I have it, I want to just know so I can deal with it, but ideally, not having it would be better! My sister did her cardiac MRI last Friday and is meeting with her doctor on Thursday, so I'm anxious to find out her results too. To be honest, I would love to get back to any kind of exercise other than just walking. I miss hiking and have been afraid to do anything else, in case it inadvertently causes an arrhythmia! By Wednesday, I should know, so that will be a relief.


The_Vagabond said...

Good luck tomorrow! You're in my thoughts!

Seth Jaffee said...

Please don't die...