Monday, October 26, 2009

Winning an important battle

My heart is getting better. There is no need for an implantable defibrillator.

Oh, Happy Day! Really, few words describe the mix of relief and joy I am feeling. This song actually sprang into my head when I got the news Friday, and I'm not really a gospel guy. Click on the link and enjoy. Then come back and read the rest, OK? Thanks.

The test results show evidence that my heart muscle has improved since the last echo back in March when I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis. Back then, my heart was so weak that a cardiologist at Northwestern Medical Center wanted to install a defibrillator. I decided to try a pharmaceutical regiment, exercise, got serious about quitting smoking and other lifestyle changes. All that is paying off.

I am winning a battle, in a long war.

“I know they were talking about defibrillator and stuff like that, but at this point, you do not – I repeat - you do not need anything like that at this time.”

The cardiologist told me to keep with up with my heart medicines - carvedilol, lisinopril, hydralazine and hydrochlorot. He also said he would speak to the rest of my docs about reducing prednisone I am taking to control sarcoidosis.

I am excited. I know healing takes a while. I have tried hard not to give myself deadlines (One to two years! I can't help it!) and I still have a ways to go. But this is a significant development. I am excited about it and relieved. For the past eight months, I have been wondering whether sudden cardiac arrest would claim me and what it would do to my family. I thought long and hard about having the defibrillator installed. I came very close to asking for the procedure in August when I moved back to New Jersey.

However, I held off because I believe in the human body’s ability to heal and my ability to overcome. I believe that God helps those who help themselves. I am thankful to my family and friends for helping me get through these challenging times.

I’ve a ways go: Sarcoidosis is still affecting my heart and lungs. When - will - it go into remission? What will a CAT scan of my lungs, to be done in late November, reveal? What organs might it strike in the future?

What is the correct dosage of prednisone and methotrexate that will continue to control sarc without dangerous side effects?

Will I ever get off of these pharmaceuticals for good?

That is my ultimate goal.

I don't take this win for granted. It will fortify me for the challenges ahead, and I know they are plenty. I am ready for them.

But today, I celebrate winning a battle.

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