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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Did I ever tell you about ...

Not sure if I ever mentioned in detail my experience with these faux heart attacks I've been having lately.

They're not heart attacks, but sure feel like them -- or so I've been told. I become sweaty and exhausted, chest is compressed and my chest and left arm are in extreme pain. Not quite as bad as after my surgery but damned close.

The heart and the stomach/esophagus are fed by the same network of arteries, so what affects one of these smooth-muscle tissues feeds the other. Since they're faux heart attacks and possibly be caused by something I eat, I tend to call them fart attacks. Gotta laugh at something, right?

They began toward the end of last year, when I really thought I was having a heart attack. It's what sent me to Florida Heart Group and Dr. James Miner. But after cardiac catheterization and other tests, I was cleared -- no heart attack.

Dr. Miner suggested my problems might be related to my cancer surgery. Dr. Philip Styne, the gastroenterologist in Orlando, didn't disagree. He said the attacks might be caused by esophageal spasms.

So the docs prescribed a couple of drugs in case another faux heart attack hits. They seem to hit almost nightly now, some more severe than others.

Some I believe are caused by my schedule -- and the fact that I tend to snack at night when I get off work. Others I just can't explain. They hit at night, during the day, once or twice at work.

Thankfully I have the meds and they really work. One, called Nulev, dissolves under my tongue and is supposed to help with such spasms. It works off and on. The nitro-based drug seems more consistent and reliable. Between the two I've avoided most of the really bad attacks. Those occur about once a week and I just can't manage them.

I tend to think these attacks may be caused by one of the two elements that have stymied my docs since August, when I had CT and PET scans with inconclusive results. The CT scan detected what might be a cyst in my chest. I think it is this cyst that is pressing on an artery that feeds both my heart and esophagus/stomach, especially after I eat, when the stomach -- kind of in my chest because of the surgery -- is bloated.

I've been scheduled for another round of CT and PET scans in early December. Perhaps then the docs will get a handle on what is causing the fart attacks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping and praying that it's nothing serious.