I Hate Dialysis Message Board

Off-Topic => Other Severe Medical Conditions => Topic started by: Paul on January 29, 2019, 01:34:18 PM

Title: Squeek Squeek Yarrrrgggggggh!
Post by: Paul on January 29, 2019, 01:34:18 PM
(Please note: this post is mostly about the artery into my heart being blocked with a lump of calcium where it enters the heart, which is why I put this thread here. However it does have its origins in dialysis and a hoped for transplant, so I won't object if a moderator disagrees with my choice of board and moves it.)

Recently had an operation (procedure?) to unblock an artery into my heart. The reason they gave to try and convince me to have it was that my poor heartsies may go phhht if I didn't have the operation.  However what convinced me that I needed the operation was the fact that they would not even consider me for the transplant list until after I had the operation (apparently an incredibly high risk my heartsies would go phhht during a transplant without the operation). This was a scary operation to start with, about 1 in 100 people die during it, and a further 1 in 100 suffer a life changing complication (such as heart attack, stroke, etc.), so a 1 in 50 chance of something really bad happening. Not good odds. But I really, really, really want a new secondhand kidney. To make matters worse, half way through the operation (local anesthetic, so I was awake) they decided to make me a guinea pig for a new process. Not "untested", it has been used since the middle of last year, but new to this hospital, and the first time the surgeon working on me had ever used it (!).

The operation involved running a wire into my artery up to my heart. Originally the plan was to balloon the artery where it entered my heart or put in a stent, or both. However when the doctor got in there he decided to use the new process called Shockwave Ballooning. As far as I can tell, this involves sending out sound waves to cause a series of mini earthquakes near to my heart to break up the blockage (sort of do to the blockage what the San Andreas is threatening to do to much of California). They were nervous enough about it that defibrillator pads were stuck to my body before they started, so they could simply scream "clear" and press a button to instantly shock me if the earthquakes caused my heart to stop doing what hearts are supposed to do. Believe me, I was scared on that table.

Fortunately it all went perfectly. My heart managed to keep beating throughout the earthquake (probably shouldn't have worried as I have been told, by a doctor, that I have a very strong heart, but when they are sticking defibrillator pads to you it is hard to remember that). The doctor was amazed at how effective the shockwave thingie was, throughout the operation I could hear him telling his number two of this, and pointing out how clear it was getting (the final report states it has cleared 100% of the blockage). Then after the operation he told me how pleased he was with the new process. And then before discharging me from hospital the following day he again told me how impressed he was with the new process and suggested I looked it up on the Internet when I got home (I did, but the website offered me an animation of the process, and I decided I didn't want to watch that).

The worst part was a "stress test" they did before starting the Shockwave. I don't know what it was but it felt like a major heart attack. There was a moving  cylindrical X-ray camera on a curved arm moving about over me during the operation (so that the doctors could see what was going on inside me while working). At the start I thought this looked like a mechanical robot giraffe looking down on me. However when the stress test started, my mind turned it into an evil robot dragon coming to attack me. With the discomfort of the stress test and the dragon I panicked, it was all I could do to stop myself jumping up and running out of the operating theatre.

There is also the fact that I now have two more medications to take. One because of the operation, and one to stop the side effects of the other medication. That brings my total medication list up to 15. Or 16 if you include the heparin/fragmin they use on dialysis.

But the good news is that I am currently 100% clear of rocks in the main heart artery. And if I pass another examination in three months (IE if nothing goes wrong or slides back) they doctor will give the all clear to the transplant team, and I'll hopefully get on the list at last.

Title: Re: Squeek Squeek Yarrrrgggggggh!
Post by: kickingandscreaming on January 29, 2019, 03:16:54 PM
Congratulations on still being alive!  You dodged a bullet.
Title: Re: Squeek Squeek Yarrrrgggggggh!
Post by: Simon Dog on January 29, 2019, 05:16:22 PM
My xplant center required a cardiac eval.   I ended up sending my MD ae email "I have experimentally verified the accuracy of your conclusion I could survive a transplant".
Title: Re: Squeek Squeek Yarrrrgggggggh!
Post by: Charlie B53 on January 31, 2019, 04:10:02 AM

I have read of how a sonic procedure is used to break up kidney stones and the pieces can pass out with the urine stream.  But I would want to know a whole lot more before thinking about using it to break up calcium deposits in the blood stream.

Where do the pieces go?

Could these pieces cause a problem elsewhere, in the lungs, vessels feeding the heart, the Brain?  I would be afraid they could cause restrictions elsewhere sort of like a small clot.

Very scary time laying there unable to anything but worry.

I have had a couple of those chemical stress tests.  It is amazing how fast my heart beat was just laying there doing nothing!

So much so I broke out in a sweat as if I had been running quite a distance at speed!

I haven't seen my Cardiologist in years, and not really looking forward to it again as I don't doubt she is going to want current tests again, just to see if I would survive her tortures.

She can be quite the sadistic wench.   And that is putting it mildly.
Title: Re: Squeek Squeek Yarrrrgggggggh!
Post by: Paul on January 31, 2019, 01:46:53 PM
Where do the pieces go?

Could these pieces cause a problem elsewhere, in the lungs, vessels feeding the heart, the Brain?  I would be afraid they could cause restrictions elsewhere sort of like a small clot.

Yes, that has worried me a bit, but  couldn't find any info online.
Title: Re: Squeek Squeek Yarrrrgggggggh!
Post by: Marilee on March 19, 2019, 07:30:34 PM
Wow, Paul!
I sure hope that your heart actually feels better now (more oxygen, better circulation?) to make such an ordeal worthwhile. Keep on swinging! :boxing;