Sunday, December 21

Learning to Trust My Intuition

The last few weeks have been crammed with doctors appointments- what fun! I went to see yet another cardiologist and two other physicians who specialize in implanting defibrillators. All of them have recommended that I have the device put in, but they don't do much else to convince me that it's a good idea.
Between the first and second specialist, I had called my main cardiologist and asked her to give me a realistic percentage of how much greater my risk for sudden death is compared with the average population. She responded by saying that I have a 2-5% greater chance per year of having my heart go into irregular rhythm which can lead to sudden death without a defibrillator. Well, after hearing that, I was pretty much convinced that I didn't need the device put in my body, and I have to say that I felt such a sense of relief and joy, that the next few days I felt very positive and happy. I haven't felt this way in months, and I was grateful that I finally felt like I was moving on.
Then on Friday I went to the second specialist and he said that my chances of surviving over the next five years without the defibrillator was 80%, and if I did have it the number would increase to 85%. He also said that the device helped those with clogged arteries a bit more than someone with Cardiomyopathy and an otherwise healthy heart. Okay, at this point wouldn't you think that he would say that he did not recommend the surgery? I really felt that this doctor, the most conservative one at this facility, would say that it wasn't necessary at this time. Sadly, that wasn't the case. He said that he did recommend it, and he went so far as to say that it would be a shame that someone as young as myself would have their life cut short because I didn't go ahead with this. What?! Then he said that I would be an excellent candidate for a heart transplant should my injection fraction go down more (it's currently at 30% and a normal person is about 60%). Now, there I am sitting in his office trying to be calm and to remember that this is only his opinion and that he knows what he is talking about, but the more he spoke the more my neck became stiff and painful. My stomach also began to knot up. As much as I tried, I was not taking all of this very well. The straw that broke the camels back was when he pulled out the defibrillator in order to show me what it looked like, and I could not believe how stinking big it was? I mean, seriously people!
It may seem like I am being overly dramatic about all of this, but the thought of putting this foreign body inside of myself does not sit well with me at all. In fact, my mood plunged dramatically after the visit, and once again I felt the dark cloud of depression and frustration move over me again. I felt the same way when all of the doctors were telling me to go on heart meds, and in the end I gave in and my body rejected them. Is this my body's way of telling me that this is a bad idea? I am torn between listening to the "experts" and listening to my heart (intuition)- what if I make the wrong choice? What about all of those people that think I should move forward with this? What about what I WANT TO DO?
As you can tell, I am still a bit frustrated about the whole thing, but thankfully I have some tools that I can use to navigate through all of it: talking about it, praying, meditating,being still and allowing the answer to come, and finally I can really listen to what my body is telling me. The only area of uncertainty is the fact that I am not sure if my intuition is clouded by my fears and other peoples opinions, or if it is clear as a bell and I am afraid to follow it. All I know is that when I thought I wasn't going to go through with this I was thrilled, and now I am in turmoil again- that says a lot if you ask me.


  1. I cannot imagine what you are feeling. My husband took medication starting in 1986 for irregular rhythm. He took the medicine for four years and then just stopped taking it. He was fine when he stopped taking it. Then in 2003 he was having trouble with clogged artery's and had surgery, noted below:

    Angioplasty and angioplasty with vascular stenting are minimally invasive procedures performed to improve blood flow in the body's arteries and veins.

    In the angioplasty procedure, imaging techniques are used to guide a balloon-tipped catheter, a long, thin plastic tube, into an artery or vein and advance it to where the vessel is narrow or blocked. The balloon is then inflated to open the vessel, deflated and removed.

    In vascular stenting, which may be performed with angioplasty, a small wire mesh tube called a stent is permanently placed in the newly opened artery or vein to help it remain open. There are two types of stents: bare stents (wire mesh) and covered stents (also commonly called stent grafts).

    The doctor stated that placing the stent in was like cutting his little finger off, he did not place the stent in and recommended my husband continue on medicines. Exactly a year later they went in again and the doctor was pleased with the decrease in the clogged arteries. The only reason they considered surgery was because my husband was having so much trouble breathing and his COPD meds did not seem to help him out.

    So the decision was to continue on medications. My husband is doing fine aside from his COPD, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The medications are working. His breathing problems have decreased since he had a Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion on November 11, 2008. He was gradually loosing his balance, falling down more often and it hurt to raise his arms up. The doctor recommended the surgery and so he had it. We are pleased with the outcome.

    I hope this gives you a little information about another individual. My husband is now 64 years old.

    I hope and pray everything works out for you. Keep the faith and continue praying. You will be added to my prayer list.


  2. Thank you Viv for sharing your husbands experience with his heart issue- I also so appreciate your kind words and your prayers- they go a long way!

  3. Sometime in life, we will have many different patches of dark times, I guess in the end of the day, faith plays a very important part in staying strong. Even with the advance medical technology, one would have to bear with the psychological fear.
    Recently, I thought I suffered a mild stroke, but it turn out to be just a ligament tear. Lot of things goes around in my mind during those minutes.

  4. This is not an easy situation, give yourself time, things will get clearer eventually. You're doing all your research. They haven't figured out why you have Cardiomyopathy have they? which type of Cardiomyopathy do you have?