She speaks!by Angie

3 Sep 2008
11:09 pm

Sorry we haven’t been very up-to-date on our blog recently!  I know it’s not much of an excuse, but I went to another doctor appointment with Dr. Murphy on the 27th of August, and I’ve kind of been down in the dumps since then.  We had one of those… talks.  The kind where he says things like, “You’re looking great – but you’ve also got serious problems.  Maybe.  You know, you just never know.  Anything could happen, and we don’t know what to do with you.”  It was pretty gloomy.  I guess that’s not really fair – it makes him sound incompetent or insensitive.  He is neither: he’s a wonderful doctor.  We’re just in a tough spot right now.

I called Jim at work before leaving the hospital to tell him about it, and to ask him if he would meet me at home for lunch so we could talk for a little while.  We both arrived home about noon and he surprised me by telling me that he had taken the rest of the day off just to be with me and cheer me up!  I sure have a wonderful husband, don’t I?

Anyway, I haven’t felt much like blogging and nothing very interesting seems to be happening, so I’ve been neglecting poor – but no more!  We have a little jaunt up to Tahoe planned in a couple of weeks, and Jon will be back in town soon, so I’m sure we’ll have lots to talk about!

A Sigh of Reliefby Angie

28 Jul 2008
3:07 pm

I drove out to Pleasanton today to see Dr. Dang, a general surgeon my PCP referred me to.  He looked at my ultrasound films, chatted with me a bit, poked around, and gave me his diagnosis:

The good news is, I don’t have a hernia.  The bad news is, I have… two of them.  However – the real good news is that they are both very small don’t urgently need to be fixed.  He told me what to keep an eye out for, and I’ll check back with him if things get worse; but in the meantime, I can relax.  Hooray!

I’m ok, really!by Angie

21 Jul 2008
11:07 am

Apparently a conversation at ward choir, coupled with some misguided comments of my own, have led people to believe that something is seriously wrong with me and I’m having another surgery.  Let me clear the matter up:

Since my laparotomy in May, my recovery has been fairly normal except that there seemed to be some swelling that never quite went away.  When I discovered a couple of weeks ago that I could feel an actual lump in my abdomen, I was afraid that there was another cyst that they had missed and made an appointment with my PCP.  In the mean-time, my cardiologist wanted to run some tests to make sure the swelling wasn’t heart-related (which would have been a very, very bad thing):  those results came back today all normal, so it’s probably not that, thank goodness.

My PCP ordered an ultrasound and I went to see her on Friday about the results.  She thinks it is likely that I may have a ventral/incisional hernia and has referred me to a doctor out in Pleasanton to see if that can be confirmed.  If that’s the problem, it might possibly require surgery at some future point, but we really have no idea yet.  It’s all very exasperating, but for the moment I am really ok.  I’m so grateful for my very attentive home teachers, bishop, and others in our ward who responded so quickly and fervently with offers of help and support.  We certainly have a lot of wonderful friends.

Oh, my Heart!by Angie

10 Jul 2008
9:07 am

When I met with Dr. Murphy yesterday, he showed me a sketch of my heart anatomy so he could illustrate where the swollen patches are that they identified in the CT scans.  I thought it would be fun to show you guys what a crazy-looking little Frankenstein I have.  (Click on the image for a larger version.)

RA=Right Atrium

PA=Pulmonary Artery (what’s left of it)


RV=Diminutive Right Ventricle

LV=Left Ventricle (really my only one)

EF=Ejection Fracture (function, basically)

The arcs on the right of the picture are the patches.  The two parallel lines to the left represent the artificial conduit they put in to take over for my right atrium (which, you can see by the black scribbles, they blocked off).  The little black scribble in the upper left of the conduit was where the clot was which has now disappeard – yea!  Any questions?

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Stressful Testsby Angie

9 Jul 2008
7:07 pm

Well, folks, it’s mostly good news today.  I braved commuter traffic to reach Stanford at 9am for an echo, a stress test, and a clinic appointment with Dr. Murphy.  The echo went fine.  My function is down a little – 35% – so they’re going to keep an eye on that, but everything else looked normal.  The stress test was definitely successful in stressing me out.  One of the nurses commented afterwards that my heart rate only got up to 118, so I was feeling a little dejected – like I’d failed or something.  When I met with Dr. Murphy, though, they brought in the results for him to look over, and he commented, “Well, I’m glad to see you’re not a faker.”  I asked him how he could tell, and he said there are numbers in the results that can indicate pretty decisively whether a patient was really pushing themselves to their limit.  He said I probably went “beyond the limit, in fact.”  So I felt validated.

We talked about the results from my second CT Scan:  The swollen patches are still there, unchanged.  He intends to re-present the case to his collegues, but they’re probably just going to check them again in six months.  The clotting they noticed in my artificial conduit last time is gone.  That’s my favorite news, because it grants me a six month reprive from the Coumadin issue.  Then we talked about adoption.  He is hesitant to sign my physician form.  He said he’d like to read through the paperwork and think it over.  I presume he’ll let me know when he’s made a decision.

Post-Op Appointmentby Angie

10 Jun 2008
5:06 pm

Jim took a half day off work to drive with me to Stanford today for my post-op appointment with Dr. Jacobson. Everything looks good! The last of the bandages are off and now I can drive and swim and all sorts of fun stuff!

She did say, however, that the one thing I shouldn’t do is sit-ups: not for another month. I think I can live with that. 🙂

My New Electrophysiologistby Angie

5 May 2008
8:05 pm

Today I drove out to Stanford Hospital to meet my new Cardiac Electrophysiologist (basically, pacemaker doctor), Dr. Amin Al-Ahmad. In addition to his practice, he is an assistant professor at Stanford University. He was very friendly and positive. I also had a pacer check in the clinic. Everything looks fine: battery is good, with only a few arrhythmia episodes in the last six months. That’s the kind of news we love to hear.