Saturday, October 31, 2020

Unexpected health (journey) change

Yesterday I had an unexpected positive development in my health journey, and it came at a welcome time. There haven’t been all that many times I’ve been able to say that.

Last week, I wrote about my visit to a cardiologist to, among other things, “evaluate where I’m at, and what can be done about it”. I wanted to look at new drugs to deal with the terrible fatigue I feel all the time, and I wanted to do that in part because I realised it might be years before I got the procedure that could fix the problem so I can go off the drugs.

That was last week. This week is quite different.

Yesterday I got a letter from the DHB (District Health Board) informing me that they'd received a request (from the cardiologist) to put me on the waiting list for the procedure, and now I am. The procedure, they say, should be done “within 120 days”. That’s a pretty big change from last week when it was, basically, “who knows?”.

This is an exciting development. However, it’s possible that it may happen the end of next month, at the same time I’m supposed to be going away for a mini-holiday. I’ll deal with that if it happens, but, basically, there’s no way I’m going to skip having the procedure as soon as it’s offered. Of course.

That’s the awesome news, the unexpected positive development, that arrived just yesterday, and it was a very welcome change: Up until then, I’d felt very sorry for myself, indeed. It turns out that the drug change may have been a mistake.

I said last week that the cardiologist gave me a new prescription for a drug to help control my heart rate (Felodipine), which he prescribed in the hope that it wouldn’t make me as tired as the one I’ve been on (Diltiazem). So far, it hasn’t turned out like that.

The drug has left me feeling more tired than I felt under the old drug. Another side effect I felt was pain in the muscles of my arms, legs, and back, any of which might feel very sore, as if from heavy overuse, when I did any sort of physical activity—even washing the dishes at the kitchen sink. This all came together Thursday when I tried to vacuum the house, and only got part way through the open-plan lounge, kitchen, dining area, and my upper arms ached terribly, plus I was utterly exhausted. I had to sit down for around a half hour to recover.

The most uncomfortable thing, though, is that it’s given me palpitations, another side effect, which made me feel like I was having a panic attack. Very unpleasant.

I’d decided to talk to my doctor about changing back to my old drug, but, to be honest, I hesitated because I have a three-month supply, and dumping it would be a terrible waste. On the other hand, I thought to myself, if I’m feeling worse, I should change back, regardless. There’s one further complicating factor: I know the side effects are usually short term, and, in fact, I’ve already moved past one: The first couple days I got headaches (the first day was the worst for that, and I felt truly awful that day—the worst I’ve felt in the entire four years of this journey), but those headaches have gone away. Maybe the other side effects will get better, too? In any case, there’s no rush.

As I said last week, the blood thinner drug I was also due to change “is another matter entirely”. I planned on waiting until I ran out of my current drug, Dabigatran. At the same time, though, I was worried about the new blood thinner, Rivaroxaban, “because it apparently has more incidents of uncontrolled bleeding”. I still haven’t decided whether I’m willing to take the risk, but I still have a lot the current drug left, so there’s no rush to decide.

What this means is that my Health Journey is finally moving forward again. That’s the part that’s most important.

Important note: This is about my own personal health journey. My experiences are my own, and shouldn’t be taken as indicative for anyone else. Similarly, other people may have completely different reactions to the same medications I take—better or worse. I share my experiences because others may have the same or similar experiences, and I want them to know that they’re not alone. But, as always, discuss your situation and how you’re feeling openly, honestly, and clearly with your own doctor, and always feel free to seek a second opinion from another doctor.


Roger Owen Green said...

good deal. my allergist has noted that people may think they are allergic to penicillin may not be. This is actually exciting news in case I end up having surgery. more as I learn details.

Arthur Schenck said...

Good thing we're bloggers, eh? Makes it so much easier to share stuff!