IAmA 43yr old terminally ill father and husband...the final chapter.
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.
It's crazy. I want to take a vacation for a few days just to let it sink in. Thank you!
I love you, dad.
Okay I was good, but that made me tear up, glad this is where I get to make my first comment. Best of luck to your family!
An honorable place to put your first comment :)
Redditor since:2010-05-29 (2 years and 17 days)
I know , I always want to comment but its normally already been said, and even online and faceless I get nervous and begin to overthink about what I want to say, and then it's to late.. But just wait another couple of years and I'll have this down :)
I always want to comment but its normally already been said
If only more people were like you.
I really don't think thats his son/daughter. I really hope he doesn't go through Joubin's comment history.
Um, I'm not actually his son, but i sort of meant it as if I was, either way, I love this guy, and I'm very very happy for him. Sorry for any confusion guys.
Damn you and your onions. I wasn't looking to burst out into tears when I clicked that link. I envy you. I'm quite certain you savor life far more than I ever will. Congratulations.
My wife just read your post and said "I think that's true. We don't things for granted in this household. No shit."
I bet you'll be pleased to never have to type 'thatdyingguy' into reddit anymore, that living guy :)
it would almost be poetic (ironic?) if he had "remember me" clicked
i'm so happy to hear you'll be ok :)
have a great time tonight and enjoy life.
I will. Mmmm, seafood.
With that title, I came into this expecting news that you only had a day or so to live or something.
I'm glad I was wrong. Congratulations :)
Oh! I didn't think about it. I was thinking more like, thatdyingguy is going away, because I get to live.
Happy to hear the good news.
46 yo father and husband. Had my first physical in 4 years a couple of days ago. Dr. wants me to get a stress test. Still haven't called to schedule. Am calling right now.
Good. Take care of yourself and don't let stuff sit. Speaking of where you sit, get your prostate checked, too. :)
and eat raw tomatoes! - they're good for your prostate! :)
I bought some! Was planning on making BLTs tomorrow. Oh, God, bacon, how I've missed you.
please do enjoy, but try to go easy on the stuff man.
Get on top of that light exercise too! (as someone who lost a loved one to heart disease - I implore you to do your best to improve your lifestyle from a health perspective) - and also try not to stress.. try to remember to "let go" of those aggravations, and just go with the flow.
They told me I can start walking my dog about four days a week, maybe some light treadmill work. Don't know when they'll let me go back to weights.
such good news my friend. Enjoy this gift!
Thank you. I can't believe it. Still.
I troubled about spamming Reddit for the third time in a week.
Shit man, I don't think anybody's gonna mind that much!
Well, I got a shitload of downvotes with the second post...
Those folks have no heart... or at least not one as good as yours.
I would trust this guy's opinion. He's a doctor.
If you mean downvotes on the submission itself, it is probably vote fuzzing, and that isn't actually the amount of downvotes you got.
Oh, good. I'd hate to think that many people wish me dead. The number exceeded my ex-girlfriends by about 9.
Sorry to tell you this, but it only fuzzed the number by nine... and all of your ex-girlfriends are redditors.
(Joking aside, it can sometimes add thousands of false downvotes, I think it is supposed to prevent spambots or something)
jCrap! lol Thank you for making that clear. I'm new, so I take downvotes personally, still.
I was depressed after reading the first post but i continued to follow Your AMAs and I am very happy that i have, Congratulations. I Hope you live a long and happy life.
Thank you! Same to you!
You should also Change Your User Name to thatnotdyingguy
I was thinking of thatlivingguy
That works too!
Already got it, too!
Please give us a couple posts as you continue to recover. Stories like yours are the kinda spam (as you called it) we love, and the group support/caring is what makes this site so great =)
Don't mind me. Just sitting here crying over a stranger on the internet.
Aw, I keep making people cry. Don't do that! Go pet a puppy or something. Go over to r/awww. Wait, I always forget how many w's.
Long days and pleasant nights.
And may you have twice the number! Until we meet in the clearing at the end of the path.
have you read the new book in the series? also, guess what? you'll be around to see if he will drop another dark tower book.
Might I inquire as to what this is a reference to?
The Dark Tower series of books by Stephen King. I was afraid for a while that I would not get to read all of them, but Uncle Stevie wrote them for me. And recently, another in the same world. There are also a LOT of comic books of the Dark Tower.
Congratulations! Save these reddit posts in a word document, or something. It'll be amazing to look back at this time of your life and read how you were feeling. It'll probably be really sobering and moving to revisit the fear and joy in your own words.
Oh, yeah! That's a great idea. Thanks!
Thank you so much for doing this AMA. This touched me deeply! I wish you and your family all the best. Greetings from Germany! :')
Well, Haben Sie ein gutes Tag! Und danke!
What hit me the hardest about your first post was you being worried about not walking your daughters down the aisle. I lost my dad... And this miraculous update has me in tears picturing you (whatever you may look like) arm in arm with your daughters as brides.
Thank you for so much inspiration. I wish you health and happiness.
I am devastatingly handsome and the full wattage of my smile can make women spontaneously disrobe. It's not a problem at funerals, but church can get...complicated.
Am I an asshole for thinking this story is fake?
Not at all, as I've said, the cynicism comes with your log in...I sent initial verification to the mods and I posted (almost) all of my test results in the open today. So, trust that it really happened. It happened to me.
You have just captioned to reddit how precious human life is, how much your family actually matters. I am so happy for you that you still have your life to live, children and a wife to love. Please post updates, We wanna know how well you and your family bounce back together. Best condolences on recovering, NOW GET BACK TO LIFE!
I've started already!
Blatant mispost. /r/happy is that way -->.
Congratulations, good sir. Please check back in periodically and post further updates on how you are doing.
Now get outta here ya big galoot, and go spend some time with your family.
There's an r/happy? Man, there's a sub for everything. I am a galoot. How did you know?
Congrats, enjoy the new lease on life
I don't know if you're a Christian or anything, but praise God! :) if you're not(and even of you are), hooray for science!
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or a Mormon. We are Christians, despite what many believe.
I see the doctors calling it a miracle, but I read that your ICD had been malfunctioning. Is there any indication that this was what was holding you back?
No, it was actually caused by it. My heart getting stronger was making the ICD malfunction. That's why they ran the tests yesterday. Now they say I no longer need it and are willing to turn it off or remove it.
Ah, okay, I see now. I must've misunderstood that update. Well good, nice to see the human body beat the technology like that.
Has been a good set of updates to follow, probably the most interesting in a while. We better not see your username post again.
Nope! Don't know what to do with all that comment karma, tho. Can you buy a waffle iron, or a food processor with that stuff? Like on the old Wheel of Fortune?
You've may've already cashed them in for a working heart.
Ooooh, yeah, didn't think about that!
congrats and i hope you live a great and happy life
I have followed your three posts and its great to see the miracle that has happened. Had tears in my eyes reading the last paragraph.
I hope you have a great life buddy. Miracles can happen.
They really, really can. I thought it was bs, myself, but I guess I've been taught a lesson.
So awesome! Congratulations. Go get 'em.
I hope to. I hope to catch 'em all.
Nolongerthatdyingguy, I choose you!
LOL, it's super effective!
Please tell me you looked at the doc and said, in your best English peasant accent, "But I'm not dead yet!" follow by "I'm getting better," and "I think I'll go for a walk!"
Best wishes for your recovery and to continued health, friend. Enjoy your second life to its fullest. :)
Someone tried to hit me in the head with a club.
Congratulations. I remember your post and it made me feel for you and your family. Now you have good news and that's a great thing. I hope e erything continues to be positive for you.
I'm buying lottery tickets, that's for damn sure. If only someone hadn't won the Powerball on Wednesday!
Amercia! As Mitt spells it.
This is fantastic news! I wish you and your family nothing but the best. Good luck and enjoy the rest of your (hopefully very long) life.
Thank you, the doctor described as "normal...or near to normal lifespan."
I just want to say that as a 22 year old college student, working at my school's library and browsing the waves of Reddit... you actually made me tear up. Happily. While at work.
Right now, I'm a burly bearded guy who's shedding a manly tear at work.
Congratulations. I've read all of your updates and you, sir, are amazing. Congratulations on your new lease on life! NOW GO EAT SOME LOBSTER!
manly bro hug Thanks, man, I too share your burliness.
TIL just how naive people on reddit are...
You are an inspiration to the world. I hope this gets the attention it deserves. Keep on fightin' man.
I've heard inspiration before. I don't think it fits. I'm just a guy who got desperate in a situation he couldn't control and then got really, really lucky.
Thanks! I'm over the moon! I keep going from smiling to crying. Mostly crying anytime I talk to anyone and try to tell them the news.
Incredible, thank you for posting. Anybody who read that and didn't have tears in their eyes by the end isn't human.
So unbelievably happy for you and your family I nearly have to cry T___T , good luck and may the gods be with you.
Fuck yeah man!
This is probably one of the most amazing things I've read in weeks. I'm truly very happy for you. I'm glad you'll get to see your kids grow old. I'm glad your kids will get to see their dad grow old. It's really amazing how in 8 short days so many lives can get completely turned around for the better.
Enjoy the rest of your many many days. :]
Thank you. I'm a student of irony and I'm afraid it's getting ready to strike. I've been driving under the speed limit all day.
My heart goes out to you and your family
Thank you. We are all...beyond words right now.
You're a lucky guy. Cherish it.
Thank you. Believe me, I will.
Thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I have been going through a lot lately, and your story, along with the 23 year old kid with cancer's story, has really helped to put things in perspective for us. We may not have a lot, but we have our health and each other. Thank you for helping us realize this! Much love to you and your family.
I didnt read any of your previous ones because I am going through some stuff with my parents health, but reading this I just want to thank you for reminding me of hope. My dad did pull through when they thought he wouldn't, and am still waiting on my mom to hear back on her tests. I never did give up hope, but this showed me keeping hope is not futile, that amazing things can happen.
Enjoy your new lease on life. I am happy for you and your family.
I am sooo glad that people can take hope from my story. Thank you for your kind words and good luck to your Mom.
Good luck with the rest of your life. I hope your life will be long and joyful from now on!
I hope so, too. I paids muh dues!
Everything's just a little bit brighter today, isn't it?
It is. I was looking at the sky on the way to the store today, thinking that I'll be seeing the clouds a lot longer than I ever thought I would.
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.
Great, alittle angry and he becomes the incredible hulk. Damn those doctors are fuckin awesome.
Oh my god man, been keeping up with this story and the first post nearly made me cry. This however has brightened up my day, thank you so much for the update! :) And as you said, just shows that you should never lose hope, as you don't know what tomorrow will bring.
This is the greatest update I have ever read in my short time on Reddit. Congratulations! I hope your condition continues to improve by leaps and bounds. I'm happy for you and your family. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
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