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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A great big sigh of relief

After my first visit with Dr. Phillip Styne since an endoscopy in January, I have one word: Whew!

That's because Dr. Styne affirmed Dr. Miner's observation that my chest pains were, indeed, caused by spasms to my esophagus. He said the nitroglycerin-based meds I'm on do relax smooth-muscle tissue such as a heart -- its most common destination -- and the esophagus.

With that behind us, along with a brief amount of schmoozing, we agreed I won't have to see Dr. Styne for four months, and I most likely will not need another endoscopy until January, a year after the previous one.

In other words, my body finally is healing as it should. Before all this began, the docs said it would be a long road and would take a year or two for me to heal. They were not wrong.

With the expertise of my medical team, Dr. John Pfeiffer, Dr. Styne, Dr. David Diamond, Dr Lee Zehngebot, Dr Joe Boyer and many other docs and nurses and techs and assistants, I'm pretty much back from the brink.

In September 2007, I wouldn't have believed it. The news was so grim, the odds so low and external factors in the tank, I wasn't hopeful at all.

But today, I must say my optimism is back. I might even think about buying some stock. Well, that one I'd have to think about.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bloody Well Right (with apologies to Supertramp)

Wednesday was a watershed day for me in a couple of ways.

First, it was the first time since my cancer diagnosis that I made a blood donation. I hope the people who receive my donation use it in good health.

Second, it was sort of an affirmation that I am healthy. I received the blood center's seal of approval to prove it -- they took my blood, after all.

Not long ago, if you had certain cancers and were treated with either chemo or radiation, you had to wait five years before donating blood -- if you lived that long.

Today it's just a year.

So in another eight weeks I'll go to work early when the bloodmobile shows up at the Sentinel and make another donation. I've always liked giving blood -- besides helping others, I just always feel physically better afterward.

And I encourage you to make a donation if medically able. Call the blood center nearest you to see if you and your particular medical issues would keep you from donating. If they do, perhaps a year from now you'll be better able to make a donation.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Changing meds, soon changing docs

I saw Dr. James Miner, my cardiologist, today.

The visit was to check out the chest pains I've had the past few months. They're the same one that led me to Dr. Miner in December -- the ones that led to my catheterization. My EKG looked normal to the doc, and said the pains are more likely caused by my digestive system than my heart. That's a good thing for sure.

He did add a med and told me to drop another. Now I'm taking nitroglycerine tabs twice a day, but no longer taking hydrochorathalazide, or whatever it's called. This should ease the pains, since nitro works with the arteries of the esophagus and stomach just as it does with the heart. It also drops blood pressure, thus the change in BP meds.

Sadly, Dr. Miner also told me he's leaving the practice he's been with since 1990. He said he's moving over to a practice in The Villages up near Lady Lake -- a vast senior development that straddles three counties. While parts of Florida's population are declining, people still are moving into The Villages.

He plans to commute. Ouch.

I'll see Dr. Miner again on June 1, but that likely would be the last time as doctor and patient. He's a good guy and I'm sorry my time as his patient has been so brief -- though not needing a cardiologist until this time certainly isn't a bad thing.

I plan this weekend to toast Dr. Miner at breakfast -- a cup of juice, wheat bread smeared with heart-friendly spread, egg white omelette and a cup of oatmeal.

Cheers, Doc!