In 2015 I went through a relapse of my cardiomyopathy (weak heart muscle). My Seattle cardiologist discovered a valve leakage four years ago because my weakened heart muscle problem also caused an enlarged heart. Because of the enlargment, the valve doesn’t close completely around the opening. Blood “regurgitates” (to use a medical term) and leaks backwards through my “heartery” and diminishes proper blood flow. It wasn’t a big deal then, but grew progressively worse later. Which meant that by early summer I was zapping my energy. And temperatures in early summer of 100 to 111 over here put more strain on my heart. The weather settled down, but in August 2015, heavy smoke from huge wildfires in northern Washington weer pushed down to where I live, causing more energy-zapping problems. The air-quality wasn't good for healthy people, so for me, forget (wheeze!) about (wheeze!) it. Long story short, I switched to a Richland cardiologist (hometown where I moved back to at end of 2012) because the Seattle doctor had recommended a heart valve replacement to fix my problem. I didn’t want to be traveling almost 500 miles to and from Seattle every two to four weeks for post-op tests and consultations.
The doctor here recommended against the valve job because it could make my condition worse. He seriously recommended a full-on heart transplant. I tried to schedule consultation appointments with University of Washington Medicine about that, but we never could arrange dates and times. I never much cared to follow through with a transplant anyway. On February 10th this year I had an alternative surgery: to install a combination defibrillator/pacemaker, which was successful and very beneficial. I was in and out of the hospital (here in Richland) in about 27 hours, and I was wide awake during the entire surgery, which lasted roughly 90 minutes but seemed like only 30.
I had lost a lot of energy and about 18-22 pounds weight: from about 190 in mid-summer 2015 to 169 at one point in early 2016. Since the surgery I’ve gained back some of the weight: I fluctuate between 181 and 184 pounds now . When I was in the low 170s I was able to drop my waist size from 38 to 36 (for the first time in 30 years). I canstill wear the 36's and my 38's arestill a little baggy without a belt, but not falling-off baggy like a year ago. My energy is back thanks to the pacemaker part of the device. The defibrillator hasn’t zapped me yet, and the goals is for it never to have to. I’m taking longer walks again, yay, and feeling very good afterward.
The whole implant cost roughly $129,000, parts and labor. Insurance paid all but about $432 of it. Another yay.
So, feelin’ healthy and feelin’ groovy again. It's been a happy year on that front; unsettling on others, not just the nutty election results. Going through spiritual and philosophical shifts and reassessments, expecting to fully emerge livelier and more focused in both areas.