Long one. Strap in.
We started last Thursday night, when I was too tired to go on: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/uta5q/iama_terminally_ill_43_year_old_husband_and/ Then, we found out my ICD was malfunctioning and got it fixed: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/uy25t/iama_the_43_year_old_terminally_ill_husband_and/
And because my heart appeared to be getting stronger, that brought us to yesterday. I went into the hospital to have an echocardiogram done. Much like an ultrasound, they examine my chest with a transducer and take measurements to determine how much blood my heart is pumping, which led to the tech saying: "What did they tell you your ejection fraction was?" I told him "It was 10%, then 20-30, then back to 20 for a long time." The tech then said "Well, I gotta tell you, I'm seeing it being much better here, but we'll wait for the doctor to look at it and determine the final numbers." That report hasn't come back yet. They then sent me to radiology, where I was injected with a radioactive tracer for another test. After sitting in a wheelchair for a while, I was taken for a cardiac stress test. It did not go well. I was given a drug that was supposed to stress my heart so they could take readings on how it performs. Some people have a reaction to this drug. I...am one of them. I began vomiting violently. Someone held me upright while another person put a basin in front of my mouth. The doctor started calling out times, and someone kept taking my blood pressure. I was not hearing good numbers, but was too busy trying to stay conscious, and vomiting constantly. Eventually, I think a year later, the doctor said "I'm going to give you the antidote now." WTF? The antidote...now???? After they put it in my IV, I stopped vomiting, but felt as well as you can imagine. Here are the results of that test: Protocol Lexiscan Time In Exercise Phase 30 S Max Heart Rate 97 BPM Max Predicted Heart Rate 177 BPM Max. Systolic BP 142 mmHg Max Diastolic BP 64 mmHg Max Work Load 10 Symptom: Negative - Hypotensive Response ECG: Negative Chronotropic Response: Abnormal Pretest Probability: Intermediate I have not one clue what any of it means. All I understand is "hypotensive" and "abnormal." So they took me back and almost immediately began the nuclear scan. Cool, I laid there, some huge machine made a lot of noise and moved around a lot, and then I was told to rest, don't be around pregnant women, small kids, the elderly, and not get angry, because no one would like it when I was angry (the last is my own embellishment.) These are the results of that test: 1. Left ventricular ejection fraction of 49%, just below normal limits. 2. No reversible perfusion defects identified to suggest stress-induced myocardial ischemia. 3. Small fixed apical defect which may relate to physiologic apical thinning versus myocardial scar. In case anybody missed it, my ejection fraction is now 49%. 49.2, to be exact. My heart has more than doubled it's function, * *and is now just below normal limits.**
I have spent the day speaking with my cardiologist, who confirms this is "a miracle." That it testifies to the viral nature of my heart damage, but it's healing now, after so much time, to be nigh impossible. They have reduced one of my cardiac meds, my carvedilol, by half. I have been told I can start light exercise. It was offered that my ICD could be removed if I wanted, because I don't need it anymore.
This will be my last post as thatdyingguy. Because I'm not. Despite coming to the end of my rope; of nearly letting go...in eight days, my life has been given back to me. I'm crying as I type this now. I still have CHF. That's not good. But...this. This! My son and daughters will keep their father. My wife will keep her husband. I no longer have to fear a loud noise, or eating something with cholesterol or caffeine. We're going to have a lobster dinner tonight (if my arteries clogged at all, I was told I would be dead. Period.) to celebrate. I am going to sleep tonight, not in fear of dying, but in hope of what tomorrow can bring. I troubled about spamming Reddit for the third time in a week. I was told by my friend Aubrey to post. That soooo many people were drawing hope from my story, that they would be blown away by what has happened. I hope you are, because I certainly am. Don't ever, ever, ever lose hope. Any of you.
Edit: to correct my spelling and punctuation because of tears in my eyes.
Edit 2, the Wrath of Khan: I had to go talk to friends and family all afternoon and am going to be going to dinner soon. I will try to get to everybody. I swear it. Also, I can't believe that right now, at this moment, I am ahead of MC Frontalot, who is one of my favorite rappers. Listen to his stuff! It is often mistaken for novelty music, but it is not. :)
Edit 3: Going to dinner! Back later or tomorrow, depending on how happy my wife is tonight.
Edit 4: The last you'll hear from thatdyingguy: A lot of people have drawn hope from my story, but it's still being written. I have CHF, which means my diet, my fluids, everything will have to be monitored for the rest of my life, and will likely be what kills me. Even though my heart has apparently been strong for some time, I am getting weaker. I don't know if that's because of the strain on my entire heart, or maybe the extra weight...I don't know. All I know is some days I can't get out of bed, I'm so weak. I have pain all the time, still, even with an increase in my ejection fraction. I am not well. I am still very,very sick. I may still die, and very soon. But I beat viral cardiomyopathy. And that's a fact. I wish I could answer the rest of you. But thatdyingguy is going away. Good luck to all of you. Love each other. Take care of each other. Look at each day and find something bright in it. Goodbye.