Your Decision Your Heard

As of yesterday I just completed the 6-month MULTIFIT Cardiac Rehabilitation program with my health care provider Kaiser Northern California.  It was a lot of online classes about exercise, diet, and tracking my heart, which I was already doing to some degree before my heart attack.  Now I track my blood pressure on paper two to three times a day on a spreadsheet and have been doing for the past 8-months looking for trends.

I walk 1-hour every morning and ride my bicycle between 60 to 60-kilos every other day.  I was doing this before my heart attack as well.  I have had regular blood tests every year and went back and looked at my trends.

As my doctor said I have done everything right, but stuff happens and my healthy lifestyle and exercise is what saved my life with my cardiac arrest (widow maker) electrical short circuit I had.  Now with the dual-chamber pacer beating my heart for me 100% of the time, I am still searching for answers as to why this happened to me.

The lack of medical data is staggering, I have gone to the U.K. and other countries looking at their heart data trying to find answers.  Sadly what I have found is the U.S. system does not want us to get better as it is an industry that depends on us being sick.

I have gone through three cardiac doctors until I found one I can sit down, talk, and discuss how to deal with my condition and make it better.  My doctor gives me options and I decide based on my own research how to make me better.  Have to admit this has been a stressful process that none of us need.

What I have found is no one in the medical field will say or provide me with any real advice for fear of something happening to them, really sad.  I am happy my current doctor is on the edge with me and a straight talker just like me.  What I have found is if you don’t ask the medical staff can’t say no.  The squeaky wheel gets the oil.  I learned I am in charge of my heart and it is me to educate myself and be informed to make the right decision presented by my doctor on my treatment.


5 Comments

Yes we are in control but I always work with my doctors since they have the specialist knowledge, education and training

by Gemita - 2021-10-30 12:14:12

Hello Stache,

Thank you for your thoughtful post.  I am happy you are taking firm control of your life which is the way it should be.  You hold all the master keys for your continuing health and you certainly have good health despite what you have experienced.

Searching for answers?  Looking for causes?  Nothing wrong with that although there comes a time when any amount of searching still draws a blank and when it might be best to move on and accept what has happened.  Just lost a second dear friend to lung cancer.  Never smoked in his life and always seemed so healthy.  These things just happen sometimes.

I cannot believe your claim that the U.S. system doesn’t want any one to get better and that it is an industry that depends on you being sick.  I am in touch with many Americans and many of them have wonderful, caring doctors who want their patients to stay well.  Far from there being a lack of available medical data in the U.S., it seems to me that there is always a willingness to provide 'personal' medical data whenever requested.  My U.S. friends are always able to get their medical data by email or other means far faster than I have ever been able here in the U.K.

Yes my EP gives me advice, my treatment options and then says it is ultimately my decision which path I wish to follow since at the time of my pacemaker I was recommended an AV node ablation too some 6 weeks later.  I chose to trial the pacemaker alone and I am very pleased I did.

I note your ?LAD (widow maker artery) was involved in your cardiac arrest.  I am assuming since your history mentions two stents have been placed, that you have coronary artery disease?  If this is correct, that would certainly be a reason for your troubles?

Foll0w-Up

by Stache - 2021-10-30 12:56:52

I was fortunate to be taken to the number 1 heart hospital in California just four miles from my house.  The doctors there told me I was born with my heart condition and because of my good health habits, it prolong my one artery to collapse not that it was full of plack.  Looking back at my early family history I found I was born with a heart artery condition I was never told about.

I do communicate with my doctor by email all the time and I get all of my medical reports online the same as he does.  This is a good thing for me to review then ask any questions I have with him.  That is one part of the Kaiser HMO program I really like compared to other HMO programs.

It is a fact here in the U.S. the big drug companies are pushing their drugs, just watch our national TV every other commercial is pushing different prescription drugs.  I have discussed this with my doctor and they all tell me to ignore the commercials as it is all about the $$$.  It is a known fact some doctors do take kickbacks for prescribing certain drugs.  It's a shame but all $$$ driven by the drug companies.

I am happy my cardiac arrest happened in a major city where there is better care.  As in my case, I had a team of cardiac doctors the saved me and laid out a course of treatment I can now live with.  That does not happen in smaller or rural towns in America.

You are right I am still seeking answers to why this happened to me and I am not sure if I will ever accept it.  However, I like many have had my up and downs of depression over it.  But I know I have to keep living for my family and keep my chin up as difficult as it is at times.  It's okay to fail but never to quit.  Cheers

It's a journey.....you've just begun

by ar_vin - 2021-10-30 13:24:32

But just be aware that unfortunately for *most* medical conditions, there's no answer why it happened. I walked in your shoes for a six month period where I sought a cause, an answer and a "fix" or resolution for my condition. I was diagnosed with sick sinus syndrome after I experienced episodes of very low heart rates completely out of the blue. For over 20+ years prior to my diagnosis I'd been hiking or running in the hills six days most weeks year round and I've always been very careful with what I eat.

The medical system has a unique way of dealing with conditions given the biological complexiy of the human body and significant variability between individuals. It's not like diagnosing a mechanical/electrical system like a car or even a software system. Many of us being trained as engineers like to find root causes for problems that we encounter. The medical system cannot work that way in the face of the sheer complexity. Doctors are trained to find a way to address the condition with medications or devices or suggested lifestyle modifications. Moreover the economic system does not compensate the physician to find root causes.

Furthermore, many treatments are known to work but the mechanism of action is not clear even several decades of the existence and use of these treatments.

You're doing everything right by seeking answers, educating yourself and using what you learn to help manage your condition. Just be aware that there might no answers to some of the questions you have.

It's easy to come up with conspiracy theories to explain aspects of the medical industrial complex that we here in the US have created. But as you have found, you can find competent empathetic care if you seek it out. It just takes some effort.

And......be very careful to find competent experts to listen to and not be swayed by all the noise on "social media". We do live in very interesting times!

Welcome to the club you never asked to belong to! Lots of very good people here who share their hard gained experiences. Hopefully you'll stick around and help others.

 

 

 

 

 

What caused my bradycardia , Doctor ?

by IAN MC - 2021-10-30 14:18:20

I bet everyone of us has wanted the answer to that question but as ar_vin says , doctors simply don't have the answer,   I guess we are all where we are , so even if we did have the answer it wouldn't help us that much !

Stache:  If you want to escape all those TV ads, you could always emigrate. There are only 2 countries in the world which allow the advertising of prescription drugs directly to  the public..... U.S.A. and New Zealand .

The rest of the world takes the view that the  public demanding drugs from their doctors is not a good idea , particularly  if the drugs are not medically necessary.   It also takes the view that  it would rather the Pharmaceutical Industry spent the bulk of its cash on research and development than on marketing.  ........  and then there are the issues of side-effects and contra-indications. Need  I go on ?  

On this particular issue I really do think that the rest of the world has got it right.

Ian

Why?

by AgentX86 - 2021-10-30 20:06:21

You'll never know and if you did it wouldn't help. You're here, the same as all of the rest of us.  How we proceed may be different.  That's the key to a full recovery (physically and mentally), how do you proceed.

The medical system doesn't want to keep you ill.  That's so much bullshit.  The body is so complicated and diseases equally so, that it's impossible to understand all "why's".  It's easier to understand "what".  It took centuries to know why aspirin worked but it did. We know more about how drugs work now than at any other time.  This understanding has saved uncounted lives and I'm sure you're one. I sure am.

I'm not sure what you mean by "cardiac arrest (widow maker) electrical short circuit". As Gemita said, the "widowmaker" is a blocked left anterior descending (LAD) artery. Your comment indicates that it was something electrical (likely SI or AV related). In any case, who knows?

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