Sep 28, 2017

Life Update

I've gotten tons (ok, 2) questions about my health. Here are answers to some questions no one has asked.

1. What's going on?

If all goes as planned, in a few weeks, some guy (or maybe a bunch of folks in training -- please don't let me be your first patient!) is going to knock me out, cut open my chest, separate my rib cage, turn off my heart (no clue and have not googled), connect me to a heart lung machine, cut through my aorta (I think), remove a piece of my heart, and reverse each of those actions.  If it goes well, I will then wake up and be miserable. If it doesn't go well, see question #6.

It is also possible that, after a new round of tests, these geniuses will tell me that surgery is not needed. We shall see.

2. What is the point of the surgery?

The purpose of the surgery is to improve "quality of life."

A piece of my heart is too thick and is blocking some blood from going to my lungs. Not enough blood = not enough oxygen = getting short of breath and fatigue = impaired card making skills = even poorer photography skills. The latter two are unacceptable and I am willing to risk death to finally master where to put the sentiment on a card.

3. Will you live longer if you have this surgery?

The standard advice is that this surgery doesn't improve life expectancy. However, I get an email every time a medical journal posts an article on the topic. Really, I've gone that far down the rabbit hole.

Like most US voters, I tend to only read and remember stuff that I like, so yes, it improves life expectancy.

4. I thought you had this surgery in August. What happened?

I was supposed to have this surgery in August, but I cancelled the surgery. I wasn't confident that the medical team would take proper care of me after surgery (folks I spoke with who had this operation there recently were very unhappy with their post surgical care).

I also wasn't satisfied with the evaluation I got. It wasn't personal. For example, before I let anyone decide that I need an operation on my heart, I want someone, preferably Dr. Doug Ross, in a long white coat, to LISTEN to my heart and lungs with a stethoscope. And, if you do not listen to my heart and lungs, please do not describe the sound of them in my medical records. Also, the super smart specialist who wrote the book on my heart condition told Mike and me that "there isn't a single good cardiologist in the Washington DC area."

Big egos worry me. I mean, just the act of randomness would put a good cardiologist in DC on any given day.

So, as hard as it has been for both Mike and me to wait for the surgery, I am glad I did. Whether I'm right or wrong about cancelling, you shouldn't go into a major medical thing without confidence in your team.

5. Do you have confidence in your current team?

Absolutely!

**Shrugs**

Not really. I trust no one.

I'm in the freak out stage. Mike just suggested I find something good on Netflix and spend all day binge watching it. Apparently he has no idea what I do all day.

6. Have you made a will?

No, you may not have my Distress Oxide inks. I told Mike to keep them for wife #2.

7. Your joking is a pathetic attention-seeking attempt to quell your nerves. How are you really doing?

I'm pretty much a pathetic, attention-seeking, nervous mess. Otherwise, terrific.

MOOD WHEN DONE = I'm excited and a bit nervous. It's an adventure I'd rather not be on, but I'm beyond grateful for the opportunity to feel better and live longer. I've got an excellent medical team and good health insurance. I have Mike and my son and family and friends. If the surgery goes forward, I should feel better and live longer. If it doesn't go forward, I will spin around and celebrate and place a really big stamp order.

It's a win-win.

30 comments:

  1. Oh my! I was wondering how the medical stuff was going - thanks for the update! All WILL be well - it HAS to be - NO alternative. Lots of faith and trust (neither of which come naturally for you it sounds - HA!) - it's big stuff, yes, but you've got this. Heck, as you say, if all else fails, it's time for retail therapy! Never met you - only "know" you from your blog posts, but you've got this. Too spunky for the Good Lord to decide "Done!" yet! (hugs!) Good luck!

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    1. thanks, you are right, I don't have a tremendous faith or trust. wish I did!!!

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  2. was wondering. thanks for the update. you crack me up but underneath i feel your pain. hope you place a really big stamp order regardless. we are rooting for you!!

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    1. thanks. your idea sounds fabulous to me

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  3. Joan- whether you believe in the big guy or not, my prayers will be there for you. You are too onry :) not to do well!!! I won't say good luck but have a speedy recovery!!

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  4. Oh my, only you could have written this tale! You are such a smart woman and I'm gratefull that you've done all the research. Your doctors probably love you for being so well informed. Praying and hoping for the best possible outcome, and improved sentiment placing skills would be such a bonus. P.S. Are Distress Oxides really that fabulous?!!

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    1. thanks so much for your continuing kind words Diana. Yes Distress Oxide inks are the bomb because they provide perfect coverage on solid stamps. They stamp a little wet but dry within a few seconds. The first one I bought was dry and I hated them but a friend sent me one and I fell for them. I hope to get all of them in good time!

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  5. What a great post. Retail therapy is definitely in order. Get it now so you have plenty of stuff to play with as soon as you are in recovery. I'll be following. I hope you will give your fans updates.

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    1. I'd rather wait and buy stuff afterwards. I don't think I'll be stamping for quite some time and will enjoy putting stuff in and out of my shopping cart! HA. Total distraction. I will update. Thanks

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  6. Thank you for the update. I am glad you waited. You must have good doctors. After my traumatic experience last Fall with my hip surgery and infection, I am terrified by medical procedures. I trust no one. It was the worst 5 months of my 62 year old life. Now I need a heart ablation, and keep putting it off. Wish we could recuperate together! Wishing you the very best, always.

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    1. I am so sorry this happened to you. I share your beliefs. The less medical intervention the better, but sometimes we need it. My local cardiologist was not happy that I cancelled the surgery. I didn't tell him in advance, just did it. I don't regret it. I am not convinced I need the surgery but will feel much better after I get a second opinion. I hope you are able to get the ablation or at least not suffer if you do not have it. Best of luck!!

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  7. Gosh, I so admire you, Joan, and so am sending a cyber hug and best wishes for a speedy recovery with lots of fun shopping when you feel like it. I had hip surgery this summer and am so much better for it. I had great nursing and after care and I bet you will too.

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    1. so glad your hip surgery went so well. hugs

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  8. Joan, I wish you ALL the best. Whether you do the surgery or cancel. It is terrifying to give control over to somebody who is going to spend hours with you while you are out and totally not able to tell them how you want things done.

    It sounds like you have done all the research and are ready, kind of, sort of. As ready as can be. I will be watching this space for your comments on surgery and recovery. I'm sure it will be worth reading!

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    1. You got it -- ready kind of sort of! One foot in front of the other and I will listen to the docs. Thanks so much

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  9. I think you are pretty amazing to maintain your wonderful sense of humor throughout all your medical struggles. I wish you all the best in whatever your choice will be - you are more informed than most out there. Giant hugs to you.

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  10. Joan, hang in there!! Sending you every about good thought, and please keep us posted so we can send extra targeted thoughts at the exact right time. I'm Cynthia in Chicago.... met you years ago when I was visiting D.C. for work and you had a stamp sale! Love your blog and HANG IN THERE! Easier said than done but if you need a little craft shopping therapy to pull you through, I say go for it!

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    1. wow that was so long ago!!! HA. Thanks for the support. a little craft shopping therapy goes a long way

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  11. Hi Joan, I was one of the winners of your giveaway. I hope the second round of tests will show you don’t need the surgery. Whatever you decide to do, you know your body the best. You will be in my thoughts. Fondly, Cheryl

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    1. Thanks Cheryl. We will see how it goes!

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  12. I'm glad you are confident in your team and that you have good health care insurance. We are many who admire your design work and your writing and your humanity, we are all rooting for you.

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  13. Joan, thank you for the health update. I love your "win-win" conclusion and your sense of humor! And Dr. Doug Ross - did he switch specialties since 1994? (I have been watching "ER" on PopTV (cable) on the weekends lately - Doug left for Seattle,Carol just had the twins, Carter & Lucy just got attacked by the crazy patient.)

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  14. As a veteran of serious medical problems and solutions, I think you are going about this so well. You have taken time to be involved in the process and decisions armed with information and good sense. That takes guts when you are scared, I know. For me, humor helped but so did focusing on achieving the "calm" inside (hard, I know). For some it is prayer, others simply sit on the beach (either mentally or physically, lol) and still others, use art to free their tension. I wish you that peace. You have done what you can to create the best outcome. Now, you can sit back and let things unfold. Make your today worthy of being a part of your life. Sending all positive and comforting thoughts your way...

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  15. Still not sure if you're having the surgery? If I'm on pins and needles I can imagine how it must be for you. I just want you to feel better. Most of my shopping is done when I don't have the time or the inclination to stamp, so please indulge yourself and enjoy. If anyone ever needed it... Like you say -- in and out of the cart. The shopping is as much fun as receiving the goods. I'm thinking positive thoughts for you, Joan!

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  16. Joan,
    You are always in my thoughts.

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  17. Wishing you well -- and a healthy heart -- so you can go on creating and blogging!

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  18. You have been on my mind - thank you for posting an update. I'll pray for the best possible outcome and a big stamp order regardless. I totally agree about feeling confident with your medical team. That guy sounded like a putz.

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