Life in a little house, overgrown with plants and lots of yarn

Location: Fairfax, Virginia

Recently turned 41 mom. I do graphic design by day and ignore my kids by night. What sane woman does anything different?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

We have results...

I'm sorry about waiting a week before posting, but here are my oooh so wonderful results from the echocardiogram.

I'm OFF the digoxin. My EF is now at 65%. That's astounding considering in October I was at 35%. This is the kind of change you want.

I didn't get a definite "your heart looks normal" from the doctor, but the tech says it was within normal range. I'm more than a little estatic.

Within the good news, my goals are now to keep going on losing weight (although I haven't actually lost any this month), and working out. I'm hoping my plateau will end soon.

I'm now at 9000 steps/day for a week, and with the exception of sinus problems, I'm really feeling great. This is good news!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


This morning, I finally had the echo. Basically, it's like a sonogram, where a technician images your heart from a probe. The technician was quite nice and explained things as he examined me.

When you get an echo, the first thing they do is have you remove all clothes from the waist up. I did this and then put on the paper gown. I moved to the table and laid down on my left side. This meant I was facing a wall, with the technician at my back. He then reached over me and placed the probe against my breastbone. I wasn't able to see much, but we talked while the exam happened. Basically, my EF is definitely up and my heart has reduced in size to a normal heart. This is very good news. I don't have the exact details, because I'll have to wait for the cardiologist to analyze the result, but at this point, I have a really good feeling about the results.

The technician said that sometimes, with heart failure, when you catch it tells you how much you can reverse it. He said it's possible we caught it early enough that I'll be normal. I'm definitely hoping that's true.

More to come as I find out the details.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Update from Doctor

Well, I was wrong about when I get the echo. It will be on the 29th, which is after my checkup. I am 15lbs lighter than I was on the last visit (officially), for which I'm very happy.

I'm working on losing more, but this week I've had some issues with getting the walking in. I had two days where I barely got in 2000 steps. It's depressing...but work is a huge priority right now, so I'm restarting the 8K/day week tomorrow. I promise not to beat myself up over this.

Healthwise, I'm doing good. Pulse/BP/Swelling all under control. It looks like I'm no longer retaining fluid. We're back to "bacterial cardiomyopathy" which is interesting. There's no proof of this, which concerns me, but at least it sounds like everything is still totally reversible.

After the Echo, I'll get the news on my EF and then, if the results are good, I'll be off both Digoxin and Lasik. This could be interesting. It'll definitely be up to me to keep my weight down then, so I'm really looking forward to keeping up with the exercise.

More later.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Walking Log

It's pretty late today, because I've just gotten home from a 1.2 mile walk in our neighborhood. Over the last two months, I've done some serious walking. I'm not at 10K a day yet, but I'm definitely getting close. Here's the stats, per week, for the last six weeks or so.

W/E 2/11/06 - 25,498
W/E 2/18/06 - 47,039
W/E 2/25/06 - 42,439
W/E 3/04/06 - 44,123
W/E 3/11/06 - 51,529
W/E 3/18/06 - 17,432 (So far)

My goal for this week is 8,000 steps a day. If I can do it, I'll try to do 8,500 each day to keep ahead of schedule. It looks like sometime in April, I'll be at 10,000 steps a day.

Tomorrow is my "bonus" knitting group meeting, and I'm looking forward to it. It would be very nice to go to the meeting and then get a nice long walk in.

The third mystery shawl is coming along nicely, and I will definitely have pictures of it when it's finished.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

More healthy updates

Well, It's a week before my return visit to the cardiologist. So it seems like time to update this too.

since November (actually January, if I'm truthful) I've gone from just over 4000 steps per day to 8-9000 steps per day. I'm not going to get to 10K per day before my appointment, but I'm getting closer. I think I'll go to the 15,000 steps per day to help lose more weight, but at this point, I'm just happy the walking is keeping me losing weight and feeling healthy.

On the weight loss front, I've lost about 15-20 pounds (it's flexible by the day) since November's appointment, which is just a bit under where I hoped I'd be. I wanted to have a good 20 pounds gone, but I think I'll be lucky to show a true 15 pounds at the doctors office. Add my daughter's playing with the scale, and I'm just on a guessing game anyway.

The good news is I'm down at least one dress size (almost 2) and the older clothes that I do still wear fit very loosely. That's the best indicator of weight loss, as far as I'm concerned.

If I'm consistent, I'll end up at a much better position healthwise, which is definitely the goal.

Oh, and food-wise? Absolutely no fast food since I went into the hospital in October. (wait, do I have to count the 3 or so french fries I took from my daughter?) Otherwise, I'm really on the 5-a-day plan, with at least two pieces of fruit for breakfast and veggies for most meals. I'm getting pretty close to vegetarian in food outlook, with Indian food being my primary food source.

I think I'm doing pretty well, health-wise and I'm looking forward to hearing good news next week.

PS. Knitting is going well. Finished 2 more clapotis this last few months, numerous scarves and hats for christmas, a raglan for my 2-year-old and I'm working on the Mystery Shawl-along 3, which is on Clue 1. I'm making two of them simultaneously, with one in Jaggerspun Zephyr (mushroom) and one in Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud (stream).

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

cardiomyopathy, an update

Had my followup visit with the cardiologist today. Based on this visit, everything is looking pretty good. My pulse and pressure are doing very well, and my blood levels of cholesterol are wonderful. I need to work on increasing my HDL, but everything else is at the good level.

Dr. Singh thinks that I most likely have reversible cardiomyopathy, and that there's a strong possibility in six months that I will be off all medication. I go back in 4 months for an echocardiogram, but otherwise, until then, I just follow the treatment plan I've been following now and continue to work on getting better.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A new start?

Here's what's happened in the last few months....

I started not sleeping and waking up gasping for breath the last few months, since somewhere in August. September was getting particularly bad, as I'd do this even two to three times a week. I thought it was congestion and my anemia kicking up, so I started taking an iron supplement again and drinking more water. My brother got remarried October 8 at the Rennaissance Faire in Crownsville, MD. I was walking and doing ok, but breathing was definitely compromised.

Since we'd found a doctor I liked, I decided to go to her Monday night, thinking that I'd just be diagnosed with bronchitis. That wasn't what happened. I arrived at the Urgent Care office about 20 minutes before they closed. After describing my symptoms and their persistence, things apparently started to click. This is a great urgent care office, as they have an xray machine and an ekg machine. I was hooked up to the ekg just moments later. I wish I knew then what I know now, but basically, there were some questions with my ekg. It appeared that I had a heart attack.

I was transferred to the hospital by amublance, still not knowing that everyone thought I'd had a heart attack. Because I'm overweight, I often get people making assumptions, and they often annoy me. I had a bit of a tussle with the resident in emergency, but he convinced me to have a cardiac catheterization done.

Here's the outcome: I'm currently in congestive heart failure. Somewhere along the line, my heart started getting larger, as my blood wasn't being pumped well enough. Then even though that wasn't working as well as it could, my lungs began filling with fluid that was being poorly pumped from my heart.

I left the hospital Friday afternoon, after four days of sitting around waiting for any information I could get. I'm still feeling uninformed, but I'm looking for information all over the web. I need to find a cardiologist, and will still be seeing the cardiologist from the hospital for a while.

Since being in the hospital (a total of five days), I've lost about 15 pounds, almost all of it fluid. I'm working on my diet pretty seriously, and if this works, I'll probably finally be a reasonably sized woman. Funny it takes what is essentially a death sentence to do this.

The bad news? CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) has a few bits of bad news, besides requiring a serious lifestyle alteration. 1% of CHF patients die in the first year, 50% in the first five years and another 25% by 10 years. I have read of people who've lasted 15 and 20 years, and even know some of them personally, so I'll have to hope I'm one of them. I'd like to stay around long enough to see grandkids. I'd like to be here to see my son get married. I'm hoping I can keep things light, but I needed to say this part now. I'm scared. I want to stay alive. I had planned on it.

Now I have to work at it, with much more intensity than ever before. Wish me luck.