angina pain

February 21, 2015 at 2:17 am (angina, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

for the past 3 days i have been suffering with angina attacks.  it has been relentless with only short breaks of relief. angina feels like having a heart attack.  the pain is unmistakable if you know what it is.  one feature of the defibrillator i like is when i have this pain i know it isn’t a heart attack since the defib doesn’t go off.  i have tried all the relaxation exercises i know and try meditation.  at least they help me lean in to the pain and accept it rather than rail against it.  when you lean in to the pain it feels very different.  it’s like taking a warm shower rather than a cold one.

the new battery doesn’t make my heart failure healed, it helps it keep beating.  the beating is joy to me, i often stop and just listen to the beating.  it’s a beautiful sound.  i hope to keep hearing it for quite some time to come.

this is just a diagram to show you where you can expect to have this pain.  if you do please get checked immediately!!


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let’s put the congestion back in congestive!

November 12, 2012 at 2:20 am (angina, defibrillator, end stage congestive heart failure, gratitude, heart failure and exhaustion, how does it feel to die, living with dying, symptoms of pulmonary edema, sypmtoms of pumonary hypertension) (, , , , , , )

after our trip to the coast i came back with an additional 13 pounds of fluid in my body.  i feel like a balloon that has been inflated beyond capacity. tie a string to my toe and put me in a parade! of course i would never fly with all that extra weight. not like i am gonna blow away here anytime soon.  day after day, one reason or another i have not taken the meds to help.  the fluid pill makes me itch from the inside out. it feels like i could just scratch my skin off to get to where the darn itching is.  my dr. has even given me meds to counteract this effect. there are other times i itch like this and it is just the combination of meds i take along with the disease.  all that can be done to help has been. this is just a case of it is what it is.  last night after a great day out i decided to bite the bullet and take the fluid pill. it is much stronger than the lasix which is the first prescription most get.  this will leave my skin dry and even cause some joint pain but i will be able to breathe better.  so here i am this morning 5 lbs lighter. this means, and i already knew this, that i will need to go through this one more time to get back to what is normal for me.

i am not talking about this just to be complaining. there is actually something very nice, for me at least, about this.  friday night i got together with a friend who also has some of the same heart issues as i do.  so that is not good for her and i hate it for her.  she has two boys who are still young and now a new granddaughter.  she has had enough loss in her life to deal with.  all of this aside we went out friday night and it was just fun.  neither of us had to feel like we were holding someone else up or taking too long to walk.  when you are out with someone who doesn’t have any health problems they are walking much faster than we can. sometimes there is the look back to see what happened to you and other times people get to the table and realize they are alone.  most of the time we all just laugh so no feelings are hurt.  going out with someone who can’t walk any faster than you means you both get there at the same time and you both understand.  no apologies are needed.  a whole evening of not feeling like i am slowing down anyone else.  i was exhausted by the time i got home but felt so great at the same time.

not looking forward to taking another pill but i know how fortunate i am that there is a pill.  it has come to pass that i know how my grandmother felt.  she used to talk about how much the world had changed since she was a girl and when i think about how much has changed since i have been alive.  things that use everyday like the microwave have been developed in my lifetime.  medicine has really changed, what is being done with robotic surgery completely amazes me.  medication is nothing short of a miracle.  things that in the past were considered terminal/incurable are not only being cured but those things that used to cause great suffering are now an inconvenience.  just think, cancer that was a death sentence is now treated and in months the patient is cured!  even if not cured the years added by modern medicine is astounding.  i have a defibrillator in my chest!! a pacemaker to set the rate of my heart, medication to push fluid out of my body.  that we can create a human being and give that human being life is unbelievable.  to keep a human being alive longer, and not just alive but alive and living a happy life, is incredible. glad i got sick now and not a few years sooner. grateful for the time i had with my friend and grateful for the time we both have been gifted by the medical innovations.

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lost days

August 24, 2012 at 12:34 am (angina, heart failure and exhaustion, road trips) (, , )

days that i am exhausted beyond explanation and end up sleeping most of the day are my lost days.  it started wednesday night after speaking to my sister on the phone.  i fell asleep waiting for her to call back after an interruption.  husband worries that if he wakes me i will not fall back asleep til wee hours of morning, as that has been our experience.  so i woke in wee hours, decided to blog and went to bed around 4 a.m.  falling asleep easily is the first clue that i am in for a lost day.  sleep was heavy and nothing made me stir until almost 1 p.m. when he is off to bridge.  shaking off the cobwebs i stumble around and manage to get my shower.  the whole time my body is screaming to lie down and close my eyes.  the lie is it will only be for a few minutes but i am not buying it. i know it is a trick.

although i am feeling weak and a bit dizzy the annoyance pushes me to make an errand run.  in my mind i can do so much more than my body will let me.  i fancy a short stop for a little shopping and reach the rear of the store and  become short of  breath.  tightness in my chest.  the mind says you can stay,  your body says if you do things will not end well.  so with some regret i move to the front and out the door.  on to the post office which was my errand.  then it occurs to me i could run by the pharmacy, just as quickly the pressure in my head and dizziness reminds me that getting home is the priority.  a few hours have passed as i walk through the door at home.

he is home and i ask if he would like to lie down for a bit.  sometimes he is like a child, no i don’t need a nap.  ok but would you come and lay with me until i fall asleep?  ok but i don’t need a nap.  his head is barely down and the familiar soft snoring begins.  our little cat that stays in our room most of the day snuggles in and i am off in dreams.

the meowing is soft at first. it grows louder and a little swat with the paw follows.  she is losing patience with me. it is her time to be in the living room and i am keeping her from it.  my eyes open and it is nearly 8 p.m.  trying to appease her with promises of soon, she is becoming more insistent.   a bargain is struck, she will get down and take care of business and when she is done i will get up.  the look on her face is skeptical.  as promised though i drag myself out of bed.  while laying in bed listening to her make her way around the room my thoughts stray to how we first met her. for some reason it then moves on to our first road trip.

every couple should have to take a road trip before getting married.  we realized just how perfect we were for each other.  this is our older/smaller girl ling.

 our first of many road trips

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insert multiple curse words here

August 21, 2012 at 11:25 pm (angina, being remembered, choice, dying, gratitude, how does it feel to die, symptoms of angina for women) (, , , , , , )

we went to a movie today.  through most of the movie i had angina pain.  so here goes the whining, you have been warned.

angina pain is like a combination of the  worst pain just above your shoulder-blade in your back (for women). if you have had a toothache, strep throat, broken bones or migraine headaches you have some idea of what this is like.  it can last 5 min or an hour. it can stop hurting then 5 min later hurt again.  then the nausea comes and i am trying to decide do i call 911 or do i sit here and see what happens?  obviously i opted for waiting to see what happens.  afterward we went to dinner at a local cafe and started talking about life in general.  pretty soon he mentions that his fear is my dying before him and i laugh since my fear is not going before him or having a stroke.  as hard as i think he will have it, i will have it far worse.  so it is not even something i am willing to contemplate. he brings up the age difference and i remind him of how healthy he is and that his aunt is 103!

the angina just reminds me that this thing is happening. it is really happening and he needs to understand that wishing it away is not going to change anything.

my greatest fear is not dying but having a stroke that takes away my ability to make my own choice.  i am in no hurry to die and yet when i think about it even in the darkest hours there is no fear.  i am grateful and feel lucky to be at this place in my life.  at the end of each day i can honestly look into my heart and say if i died tonight i would be happy.  there have been years in the past where i felt unfinished and would have left with a heavy heart.  my love has given me a well lived life.  my love for you has brought me to this place.  just remember as long as i am in your heart i am not really gone.

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is this word overused? and what is bravery anyway?

July 18, 2012 at 2:35 am (angina, bravery, choice, coping, death, end stage congestive heart failure, how does it feel to die, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

how often do we hear this word?  at times it seems ridiculous, a neighbor gives her beloved shitzu his oral medicine and he is “such a brave little man.”  even the child obeys the command not to whack his sibling is brave.  we “brave the storm”    to a performer it is to stand up on a stage alone  with an acoustic guitar requires bravery bordering on heroism. Bordering on insanity. Richard Thompson   to the writer of great works – Curiosity is one of the forms of feminine bravery. Victor Hugo.
so what is bravery really? curiosity is not my ideal of bravery, however, there was a time in our history when an inquisitive mind in the female form was definitely stepping into a new and challenging arena.  the men and women who fight our wars, are they brave? the person fighting the odds against a devastating disease?  what about the loved ones of that person? aren’t they brave?  if someone decides to go to the bitter end are they brave?  what about the one that decides to spare family and loved ones?
big girls don’t cry? is it weak to show how you feel? sometimes the boundaries are blurred and though it would not be my intent to make others uncomfortable i know that showing weakness would do just that.  now i am the brave one, that could change so quickly.  to add to the dilemma though some say cry if you feel like it i am under no delusions here that it would change things.  no one wants to be around that person who says the truth about how awful this really is.  to know that your time is running out and deal with that little nigle in the back of your brain that says go ahead and make that  plan, yeah go ahead and make that plan.  when the time comes and you can’t get your body to move, the congestion (accumulation of fluid) in your organs makes it hard to breath, gives you chest pain along with the exhaustion, your running fever and hoping it isn’t your kidneys failing, you can have the embarrassment of canceling those plans.
of course this goes beyond a lunch gathering or brunch date with family.  the disappointment reaches to vacations, hair appointments, grocery shopping and so much more.  yes sometimes it all becomes too much. then you remember how brave you have presented yourself to be and know that it is more important than you would hope.  can’t cry, must be brave.  just please someone tell me what bravery really is.

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Back to the list making

March 21, 2012 at 11:26 pm (angina, coping, death, defibrillator, family, Uncategorized) (, , )

so I have had a couple of days to think about what happened the other night.  after seeing the video about the man being eaten by the orca and then immediately hearing about my friends brother, it was really just overload.  my emotions seem to be affected more lately. everything I read says that happens, however, I had not experienced it so maybe it was wishful thinking but there you go I was hoping to avoid this one. would it be so much to ask?  just one little symptom.  there haven’t been any complaints from me to this point and not to be a baby here but I have suffered some fairly intense pain and without much fuss.  so far it has just been the annoyance of canceling an event or evening with friends or family.  sunday we were going to have the occupants of the moonshine mansion over and had to cancel.  it worked out well in the end as something unexpected came up on their end as well.  monday was a total loss and yesterday was not much better. 

tonight though we had dinner with our friends and it was so enjoyable that even the pain from the angina could not bring me down.  my sister Angie called earlier and we gabbed a bit.  I told her about the video and the friend’s brother.  it occurs to me the statistics may be right and we are wrong. maybe I am not going to be the exception.  research shows I will not live to see year 5.  February marked my 4 yr anniversary.  my angina is now unstable and that is not a good sign. it moves me closer to setting a date to have my defib turned off. she asks if his was off and i say no.  she says this time next year I will remember this and celebrate that we are right, I will make it. 

this brings me back to my list making.  i have a clear understanding of what his stuff means to him, that is not the issue here.  he becomes overwhelmed and as he gets older it is harder for him to lose anything.  even a sock.  he was cleaning out drawers ( I have to laugh here) and as i came in the door a single sock flies across the room and into a drawer that was supposed to be the object of his attention.  why keep one sock? i may need it.  honey really?  okay the other one is in there.  show me.  no.  please show me. no, you can take my word for it.  please just show me. okay, there is no other sock.  then maybe you can let this one go?  for you.

if he can not part with a sock how will he part with my things?  so I try not to collect anything he will need to decide about later.  my hope is our girls , all of them if need be, can help him move through this difficult time.  one other way of handling this is for me to designate people to receive certain things.  i am sure there is going to be a lot of “what the hell?” and she must have been kidding when they see the list. all I can say is I hope they keep their sense of humor!  this stuff has to go to people who will do with it what he would not be able to … let it go.

back on track and making my lists again. there are still some things to be done.  in between we are still living life to the fullest.  tonight my love said I will make it longer than anyone expects because I am loved.  i know he means to encourage me to stay positive.  the truth is people die everyday who are loved. people who have a great support system and the money to buy the best care possible.  this is another gift i enjoy, we have great insurance so that isn’t a problem.  just knowing there are no worries about money and seeking medical care gives me an advantage that so many don’t enjoy.  we all deserve it. everyone deserves to have the best medical care and not have to worry about the bills or can they even get in.  we do live in a great country but we are not done! we have far to go.  maybe if our elected officials would be required to make a to do list and show it to the public we could judge them on what they are actually going to do in their service of us.  they are supposed to represent us aren’t they, I mean all of us. not just the republicans and not just the democrats.  ok I am way off track here. 

my life will be gone in the blink of an eye. if no one is looking will anyone know? will I be missed?  these are questions that come to me and then I think …

why would people not want to have healthcare for everyone, how can people be better informed about hospice care and what about that Rush Limbaugh calling that girl a slut and saying it is “entertainment”   these issues will be here after i am gone.  they seem to move me from the small world of me to the real world of us.

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one more thing… the dr. says it is angina

March 20, 2012 at 2:34 am (angina, living will, medical power of attorney, medical terminology, symptoms of angina for women, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

a few weeks ago I had to go for my usual check-in with the dr. and told him of some new symptoms.  well not exactly new as they have been going on for a few months.  this was not news to me, I have already done the research for any new information.  there is always the hope that new and improved treatments have come along since the last time I was current with what goes on in the medical field.  there are 3 types of angina, stable, unstable and the third only happens to a miniscule percentage of the population.  for at least a year I have had the stable angina.  the pain usually comes on  after some type of exertion, it doesn’t last too long, especially if I go sit down and rest.  my symptoms have changed and now most likely has become unstable angina.  it can last up to 30 min or more and is accompanied by nausea, abdominal pain and some of the others that are going to be listed below.

some good news though I was reading my living will and medical power of attorney and it states that my appointed rep (of course that is my husband) has the right NOT to call 911. if he knows it is my wishes then he is required to follow those instructions.  I still have some concern for him and know that he may call just out of concern for me.  this can not be easy for him, to know that he may be faced with an incident similar to the one 4 yrs ago.  he just couldn’t decide whether to call 911 or not.  of course he didn’t know then just how serious this was going to be.  if he had not called that day I would have died.  in some ways I can not help but wonder if that would have been for the best.  just a matter of a few hours and this would not be an issue now.  so that is his point now, he called and they were able to treat me and here I am some 4 yrs later.  whatever he decides will be the right thing, it has to be what he can live with.  I have hoped to keep his and my loved ones best interest in mind always.  if I have ever made it difficult for them I hope they will forgive me.

this past weekend the two of us and heather went to see “Following the Fleet” at the High Museum in Atlanta.  heather is a daughter that anyone would be proud of, I am so fortunate to be a part of her life.  in april we are going to charleston, it is our granddaughters birthday and a good excuse to visit.  we bought her birthday gift already, saw a cute dress and couldn’t resist.  I have been buying gifts for family and friends and putting them away.  chris hasn’t asked me why I am christmas shopping just a couple of months after the holidays.  I like the thought of still giving gifts after I am gone.

this is the High Museum


I have tried to upload a slide show that was forwarded to me and I have kept it and look at often.  it is not only beautiful but has some great life advice. hope it works:)


read my horoscope in the t.v. guide and thought this was interesting,    the support of friends and family is fuel in your tank.   “sharing your process will inspire them to take better care of themselves, too.”  I have never been a big believer in horoscopes and not sure this changes that, however, if this is true and even one person makes the effort to take better care of themselves I will gratified.

so here is a list of the information I mentioned:

Stable Angina

The pain or discomfort:

  • Occurs when the heart must work harder, usually during physical exertion
  • Doesn’t come as a surprise, and episodes of pain tend to be alike
  • Usually lasts a short time (5 minutes or less)
  • Is relieved by rest or medicine
  • May feel like gas or indigestion
  • May feel like chest pain that spreads to the arms, back, or other areas

Unstable Angina

The pain or discomfort:

  • Often occurs at rest, while sleeping at night, or with little physical exertion
  • Comes as a surprise
  • Is more severe and lasts longer than stable angina (as long as 30 minutes)
  • Usually isn’t relieved by rest or medicine
  • May get worse over time
  • May mean that a heart attack will happen soon

Variant (Prinzmetal’s) Angina

Variant angina is rare. A spasm in a coronary artery causes this type of angina. Variant angina usually occurs while you’re at rest, and the pain can be severe. It usually happens between midnight and early morning. Medicine can relieve this type of angina.

Microvascular Angina

Microvascular angina can be more severe and last longer than other types of angina. Medicine may not relieve this type of angina.

if you know there is something wrong with your body and your dr. does not listen find a doctor that will.

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