Well, I’ve been ordered not to bicycle any significant distance. So now I simply walk 45 minutes to an hour every day. More boring, but it gets me outside.
As I reported in “Atrial Fibrillation” I have been told to wear a heart monitor (holter monitor) 24/7 for two weeks. I have one day left. It’s amazing technology. Whenever I have a “symptom” (ordinarily dizziness, woozyness, difficulty breathing), I press the SYMPTOM button on the device and it records a few seconds of history of my heart. It also monitors my heart and records any time that it thinks things are not right. Whenever I have recorded symptoms or if none, whenever it tells me to, I dial a number and transmit the recorded information to the business which specializes in this. There is always a specialist on the phone who could help me if I were having real cardio problems.
My cardiologist logs on every day and monitors my symptoms. Last week, after 4 days of monitoring, the cardio nurse called and told me not to do any very strenuous activity including long bike rides. She also had me make an appointment with a pacemaker specialist. I have that Monday.
The monitor has shown that I definitely have afib and that it is pretty constant. It also has shown that I have episodes of racing heart (tachycardia) and slow heart rate (bradycardia). This means that they cannot just give me drugs to slow down the tachycardia. The drugs could make my heart go far too slow. Maybe the solution would be a pacemaker to keep my heart from going too slow and drugs to keep it from going too fast. This is not decided or recommended yet.
This week I also had a few symptoms of light pain or heaviness in the chest. The monitor did not show anything going on. This made the cardiologist concerned that I might be having little heart attacks but they later decided that it was probably a form of heart burn. None-the-less, I am now scheduled for a cardio stress test on the 9th. Lucky me. The carcinoid cancer symptom of acid stomach has been recurring more lately than at any time since I had the chemoembolization last August. This worries me a little. The blood tests that I have every two months do not show an upward trend in gastrin in my blood, but with carcinoid, we can get symptoms without the blood tests reflecting more activity. It’s actually pretty common. No one has been able to explain that to me in a way that I could understand.
On the link between carcinoid tumor and atrial fibrillation, my oncologist still thinks it’s possible but my cardiologist does not think so. It’s likely the treatments would be the same either way.
All of this troubles Laurie and me a great deal of course. Pema Chodron, a famous America Buddhist nun and prolific writer, advises us to embrace our feelings, not avoid them. I work daily on meditation to help maintain a sense of serenity. Not being a Buddha myself, it does not always work but it helps. Laurie is also a rock in these times. I know this is very difficult for her but she keeps moving forward and being her practical self.
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