Thursday, October 15, 2009

And Finally Closing the Book...Hopefully...

So, it has been rather a roller coaster for me the past couple of months. Broken legs, illnesses, heart trouble...but I think that we (meaning me, John and my team of doctors) have finally gotten to the bottom of this mess, and we can put it more or less permanently behind us. (John would say I'm being too optimistic, and I would retort that he's turned into the world's biggest wet blanket) So here's the facts for those of you who don't know them (or only a few of them), in what I hope to be a shortened version of actual events. I say I hope, because we all know how much I babble. :P
Okay, the last time I posted anything was when I had what we thought was swine flu, and my general practitioner MD had discovered what was thought at the time to be mitral valve prolapse. Very shortly after that post, I landed in the hospital. My doctor was being cautious because he wasn't sure how easily I could get heart infections at that point, and I was having heart symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, ect. I spent four or five days there, and we learned some good things. (during this time, however, my poor husband got sick as well as both children with ear infections and such. He totally ditched all responsibility and went to stay with my mom. I don't blame him a bit. I wouldn't have lasted nearly as long as he did) I didn't have swine flu, I had a rare bacterial pneumonia. Of all ridiculousness. I don't have mitral valve prolapse, I have rheumatic fever (or rheumatoid, I can't remember the exact terminology) valvular disease. This is similar to MVP in a lot of ways, but it also has some added bonuses. More blood flow problems, not due to a valve weakening, as in MVP, but due to valve thickening. There are a couple of different ways that you can get valve thickening with this; growths or scar tissue. Growths are very very very dangerous, and scar tissue is only as dangerous as it's rate of thickening. If it builds up very quickly, very dangerous, and vica versa. The other bonus is that my heart is very susceptible to infection, so it was super good that I was hospitalized, even though it totally sucked at the time. There was a complication at the hospital, as well. The gave me a spinal tap to rule out bacterial meningitis, and the hole they made didn't close properly, so it leaked for a good long time. They gave me caffeine therapy at the hospital, which means that they put a liter of caffeine in me through and IV. That was an interesting experience indeed. I have never been so hyper and wired in my life! I know I drove my roommate bonkers for the one to two hours I was like that. Then, when they released me, I had to keep drinking copious amounts of caffeine, and stay laying flat for a full week, and in bed for a week after that, (although I could sit up), and then cautiously start moving around after that. They didn't want to rip the hole back open after we managed to close it. So I stayed at my mom's for almost a month, and was finally going to come home when Erik got croup. Like, 103 degrees fevers and having much difficulty breathing croup. So I ended up staying with mom for a few more days until Erik was well enough to come home and also well enough for me to take care of by myself. My poor mom! Anyway, during that time, I had a Dr.'s appointment with my general practitioner, and we discussed my heart stuff. Now, at this juncture, we don't have a whole heaping amount of data to go on. I had another appointment with my cardiologist in a couple of weeks at that point, where he was going to run some more tests, and then we would know a whole lot more. So, we went with worst case scenarios for the time being, and they were bleak. I won't go into details, but I spent the next couple of weeks trying to come to terms with those scenarios, in the case that they came true, I would be prepared. Happily, though, my appointment came, and all my Doc had for me after the tests was good news!! I pretty much don't have to change my lifestyle much at all. There are things we have to keep an eye on, like my heart valves (which don't have growths, but scar tissue, that is building very slowly, huzzah!), so I have to get tests done every six months for the next year, and then every year after that, and I have to be on daily antibiotics for the foreseeable future, and working out is now more important even than it was before (once I regain a bit more strength), and if I ever get strep again, I'm toast, but that's it. And my cardiologist says there's even a fifty-fifty chance I won't EVER have to do anything or worry about this again! The flip side of that coin is I will have to get valvular surgery of some kind at some point in the distant future. Which I can totally live with. Absolutely.

So, other things going on in my life? Jonni is doing so well at school that she's bored out of her mind. Erik is still not potty trained, and I'm starting to think I'll still be changing his diapers when he's thirty. John is okay, although the last couple of years have been rough enough to give him a bit of psychosis, for which he might need therapy in the immediate future (or he will be causing a reactionary psychosis in me, of the homicidal nature). I've read enough books to furnish a store, and I now have a legitimate caffeine addiction. I'm working on it though, and am down to half a liter a day. (I started at three to four liters a day. *shudder*) I'm starting to get seriously restless, which means I'm getting my strength back. Time to get back on the horse--or exercise bike, as the case may be. (although, wouldn't it be so super cool if I had a real horse to get back on?!) So, in short, life is normalizing, for which I am worshipfully grateful. I'll take monotonous over crisis any day. And since I now know that I'm going to get a very much more time than I thought to enjoy that, I'll be savoring every minute I can. At least until my kids spill yet another full glass of liquid everywhere, the cat pees on the couch again, and John keeps taking his shoes off in the middle of the floor to trip over. Ah, such bliss I cannot express.
The Almighty Liz