The paperwork never ends The Archives
December 16-31, 2002 Archive Index CHFpatients.com

Phil G's 12-16 reply to Kathy's 12-14     good SSA & disability experience
 
Tracey 12-16     seek barium test experiences
 
Vicki's 12-16 reply to Jon's 12-14     thanks
 
Joe 12-16     what is aortic insufficiency?
 
Jon's 12-16 reply to Joe's 12-16     aortic insufficiency
 
John Len's 12-17 reply to Jon's 12-10     good TMLR experience
 
Catherine L's 12-17 reply to Bob's 12-12     could it be neuropathy?
 
Joe's 12-17 reply to Jon's 12-16     thank you and merry Christmas
 
Catherine L 12-18     update - not good news
 
Carol W's 12-18 reply to Jack D's 12-13     update, thanks for info
 
Amelia's 12-18 reply to Bob's 12-12     similar experience, possibilities
 
Joyce 12-18     what is blockage of aortic arch?
 
Dale 12-18     cute item
 
Jon's 12-18 reply to Joyce's 12-18     blockage of aortic arch
 
Gino's 12-18 reply to Catherine L's 12-18     intestinal problems
 
Joyce's 12-18 reply to Jon's 12-18     thank you
 
Jon 12-18     my vacation starts tomorrow
 
Pat 12-26     insurance insists I change drug - anyone else?
 
Margaret D 12-27     bowel preps
 
Jon's 12-27 reply to Margaret D's 12-27     bowel preps
 
Jack D's 12-27 reply to Pat's 12-26     brand name drugs & insurance companies
 
Joe A's 12-27 reply to Pat's 12-26     drug changes forced by insurance companies
 
Carole K's 12-27 reply to Pat's 12-26     drug changes and insurance companies
 
Tom S' 12-27 reply to Pat's 12-26     drug changes and insurance companies
 
Jan S' 12-27 reply to Margaret D's 12-27     bowel preps
 
Jan S 12-27     pacemaker lead placement - seek experiences of others
 
Hal 12-27     seek CHFers south of the USA border
 
Tom S' 12-27 reply to Jack's 12-27     carvedilol
 
Carol W's 12-28 reply to Jon's 12-27     carvedilol
 
Jon's 12-28 reply to Carol W's 12-28     carvedilol
 
Tom S' 12-28 reply to Jon's 12-27     carvedilol
 
Sam 12-28     seek info on drug Inspira
 
Diane 12-28     getting back on an even keel
 
Barb N 12-28     metformin and CHF
 
Jon 12-28     metformin and CHF
 
Tom S' 12-28 reply to Diane's 12-28     could be worse
 
Ruthie A's 12-29 reply to Barb N's 2-28     metformin in CHF patients
 
Sandy H's 12-29 reply to Barb N's 2-28     metformin in CHF patient experience
 
Valerie 12-29     how do I eat low-sodium on the road?
 
Jon 21-31     dates
 
Jack D's 12-31 reply to Valerie's 12-29     eating low sodium
 
Catherine L 12-31     scared of upcoming surgery, prayer request
 
Gino 12-31     happy new year
 
Natalie K's 12-31 reply to Valerie's 12-29     eating out low sodium
 
Ruthie A's 12-31 reply to Sandy H's 12-29     coping with dried out hands
 
Catherine L 12-31     more info, prayer request
 


Phil G's December 16 reply to Kathy's December 14, 2002 - Hi Kathy, I also had a very positive experience with the SSA. After reading the Social Security section on this site, I had expectations of a hastle and was preparing to start with an attorney to file my claim. Instead, I went ahead and filed myself and was treated with respect and a great deal of very personal assistance. My case worker put my claim in as an emergency and I had approval in 30 days instead of 6 months. Though the SSA kept sending me redundant forms to fill out, my worker went to the top and hand carried my case through. I still had to wait the required 6 months for my first check, but it was comforting to know this step had been settled.
     I am thankful for Jon's warnings, which prepared me for a much longer waiting period, emotionally and financially. Sometimes, it seems like God only gives us battles we can handle and walks us through the others. Pgwal64810@aol.com


Tracey, December 16, 2002 - Hi everyone, I'm having a barium test for stomach problems and wanted to know if barium is a problem for CHFers. Anything I should look out for? Thanks. 2tcollins@cox.net


Vicki's December 16 reply to Jon's December 14, 2002 - Hi, I don't have heart failure but I do have defib for VT and DCM. Thanks for your reply, Vicki. art_vic_payne@yahoo.com.au


Joe, December 16, 2002 - Hi, What is meant by aortic Insufficiency? I have researched it on the Internet and only find one reference, and it was on an unreadable Chinese site. Have a good holiday season! ramblingrosarian@yahoo.com


Jon's December 16 reply to Joe's December 16, 2002 - Hi Joe, Try these sites: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000179.htm and www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/18074.htm. Jon.


John Len's December 17 reply to Jon's December 10, 2002 - Hi, I had the transmyocardial revascularization along with a one way bypass several years ago after a heart attack. Over a period of one year it eliminated all resting angina and 99% of the rest of it. It was not a cure but definitely an improvement. At the time it was in the testing stages so did not need Medicare's approval. a_lenny6@hotmail.com


Catherine L's December 17 reply to Bob's December 12, 2002 - Hi Bob, Could the pain and tingling and numbness be peripheral neuropathy in your left arm? It's just a thought. Maybe a neurologist can do nerve conduction and other tests on your arm to determine whether you have a neuropathy there. Good luck, Catherine. ccash@kcnet.com


Joe's December 17 reply to Jon's December 16, 2002 - Hi, Thank you very much for your quick and very informing reply to my question on aortic insufficiency. Put in the terms from the info you gave me and I now know what they are talking about. Thank you and have a very merry Christmas. Spoil your daughter while she is home from school. ramblingrosarian@yahoo.com


Catherine L, December 18, 2002 - Hi Jon and Gino, I just got a call from my gastroenterologist's nurse. The tests suggest I have 2 vessels in my intestine that are constricted. If I didn't need my heart drugs, those vessels would be no problem. Unfortunately, the combination of the already-constricted vessels plus the heart drugs (which further reduce the blood supply to my colon) caused the intestinal bleeding that landed me in the hospital 2 weeks ago. Right now I am only on a minimal dose of only 12.5mg Toprol-XL per day, nothing else.
     I asked the nurse how they can correct the vessels because I have to have my heart drugs. She said it can only be done through major surgery. They may even have to resect the part of my colon that contains the narrowed vessels. I'll know more next week. I am just crushed by this latest development. Catherine. ccash@kcnet.com


Carol W's December 18 reply to Jack D's December 13, 2002 - Hi Jack, Thank you for the sites you posted for me. I have no gallstones, Jack, just a gallbladder that flat-out hurts like the dickens most of the time. My cardiologist, my regular physician and my surgeon all seem to agree that the rapid weight loss did trigger something to go wrong within my gallbladder. What gets me is that every test showed my gallbladder to be fine, which is why I need to have a gastroenterologist tell me to get it out. Jack, I've been living with DCM for over 15 years - and didn't even know it until February - so truly my heart is in God's hands, which is a very good place for it to be. Again, Jack, thanks for your reply! clwelcomb@att.net


Amelia's December 18 reply to Bob's December 12, 2002 - Hi Bob, I had the same sensation with my left arm and now my right. Since it wasn't caused from my heart, my doctor suggested an MRI of my cervical spine. He found severe disc and degeneration problems. You might suggest to your doctor at least an x-ray to see if some kind of arthritic problem might be causing your discomfort. I am having another nuclear stress test tomorrow, which will determine the need for a heart cath. I'm not looking forward to it, especially having it at 8:30 AM. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas, Amelia. amelias@erols.com


Joyce, December 18, 2002 - Hi, Has anyone heard of arteriosclerosis of the aortic arch? This was on my husband's radiology report. joycec55@msn.com


Dale, December 18, 2002 - Hi Jon, I thought this was a clever little item someone sent to me

  1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  2. The French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  3. The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  4. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  5. The Germans drink a lot of beer, eat a lot of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

Conclusion: Eat, drink, and be merry. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Dale. Dale.Enerson@sendit.nodak.edu


Jon's December 18 reply to Joyce's December 18, 2002 - Hi Joyce, The aortic arch usually means the top part of the aorta in an adult. I am no doctor so please double-check this but I think it means that the top part of his aorta is partially blocked, just like any other coronary artery may be blocked by plaque in CAD. There's a picture at www.mythos.com/webmd/Content.aspx?P=CIRCE2. Jon.


Gino's December 18 reply to Catherine L's December 18, 2002 - Ciao Catherine, Ischemic cholitis and intestinal infarction have a prognosis as bad as CHF. If your CHF is now well compensated, the bowel problems have the priority and I'm sure that your cardiologist and gastroenterologist will together find the best way to resolve your situation.
     Taking into consideration your past experience with "obsessive-compulsiveness about CHF" <g>, I would reccomend that you invite them to consult each other; and after that also an anesthesiologist in the case of surgical option, to define the best therapeutic strategy for you.
     Regarding Toprol-XL, 12.5mg is better than nothing, overall of a full dose of beta-blocker that might cause a dangerous intestinal infarction. Ancient Romans said, "Ubi Major, minor cessat." Now, your bowel seems to have the priority on your CHF. Take care, and you feel free to write me if you want. :-) gitarant@yahoo.com


Joyce's December 18 reply to Jon's December 18, 2002 - Hi Jon, Thank you, the sites you gave had the answer I was looking for. God bless you, Joyce. joycec55@msn.com


Jon, December 18, 2002 - Hi everyone, I will be changing operating systems, among other things, on my computer shortly. Combined with the holiday season, I will be offline - and so will this heart forum - for no more than one week, beginning Thursday, December 19. Have a merry Christmas! Jon.


Pat, December 26, 2002 - Hi, My insurance company wrote to me this week and told me that I am going to have to substitute another medication for my Coreg because it isn't on their preferred list. I'm sure this means that there are other cheaper meds out there! I am going to contact my doctor, but my question is: Is this happening to other cardiomyopathy patients? I can't believe I am the first. Thanks! Patrigil@excite.com


Margaret D, December 27, 2002 - Hi, I am having a colonoscopy next week. The Gi doctor, who I trust very much, told me that GoLytely is the prep of choice for heart and kidney patients. He says the volume is not a factor for fluid restricted patients because it goes right through you and is not absorbed at all. The Lo-So prep, NuLytely, tastes like there is less salt in it but he says it doesn't matter anyway because the sodium is not absorbed either. It was a chemical thing about binding or something, I'm not really sure. But if this guy says so, I believe him. I'll let you know how it turns out. mdavis10@tampabay.rr.com


Jon's December 27 reply to Margaret D's December 27, 2002 - Hi, I was reading up on this yesterday. Theoretically, this is true. However, I wonder why so many people taking it (without heart failure) get so bloated on the stuff (trials prove that beyond doubt). Lo-So prep is not only low-sodium, but it is only 8 ounces, making it far easier on you and obviously better for CHFers who may need to restrict fluids.
     Whether his theory is right or wrong. I come down on the side of common sense and safety every time - if a low-sodium product is available, why would any doctor not use it in a patient on a sodium-restricted diet? It is always better safe than sorry! Just my 2¢ worth; Doctors are people too, and no matter how highly I think of mine, I am the final word and I prefer to be cautious whenever a cautious alternative is available. ;-) Jon.


Jack D's December 27 reply to Pat's December 26, 2002 - Hello Pat, Your insurance company most likely wants you to be provided with the actual drug you have been prescribed, which is carvedilol. Coreg isn't the chemical compound which is in the pills. It is the brand name which your doctor has been coerced into prescribing by accepting all the fancy little toys you see in his office with the word Coreg on it.
     However, if your insurance company wants you to take something different from carvedilol, then there is a problem. Most people have no idea what drugs they are taking because they never read the actual chemical name of the drug on their prescription bottle. The insurance company does not want to pay for all those little toys at the doctor's office and you shouldn't want to either. I know someone who provides those little toys for the drug companies to give away and one such drug company spends over a million dollars a month for them. That's one reason drug prices are so high. maddjak@hotmail.com


Joe A's December 27 reply to Pat's December 26, 2002 - Hi, I had the same experience this summer with my prescription for Tricor. As of July 1, my prescription plan wanted a huge copay because it wasn't in their formulary. I had my doctor appeal the decision because the Tricor had worked quite well for me for 2 years. No luck. They made me switch to Lopid and Lipitor, which still hasn't worked quite as well. We'll see when I have my next set of labs in a few weeks.
     It might be worthwhile to contact the insurer. Most have a clinical review group that will consider a doctor's request. Certainly Coreg has a proven value! Good luck, Joe. jallmond@yahoo.com


Carole K's December 27 reply to Pat's December 26, 2002 - Hi Pat, Yes, it has happened to me too! My insurance company has levels. For example, if I get generic it's $10, their preferred brand is $25, and non-preferred is $35. Of course, all the meds that my husband and I take are on the $35 level. I often wonder if the insurance companies are getting a kickback from the drug companies to use their products. Anything to make coverage more difficult and expensive. Carole. ckennedy@appliedtm.com


Tom S' December 27 reply to Pat's December 26, 2002 - Hi, It seems like insurance companies can do anything they want, including practicing medicine. I've heard of it before and have actually seen it on my wife's insurance drug list. Put very simply, insurance companies want to take in huge premiums but don't want to pay out one red dime or their executives may have to join a different country club. My recent encounter with my homeowners insurance company proves that point. The NC Grange decided to cancel me right after I asked if my home was covered for fallen limbs that had skewered the roof of my home. They claimed I had too many claims. I had one in 5 years and this one was an inquiry and not even a formal claim. Isn't it amazing what insurance companies can do because of their dollar drenched political ties? bigheart@hotmail.com


Jan S' December 27 reply to Margaret D's December 27, 2002 - Hi, I have amoung other things, cardiomyopathy. My gastroenterologist, whom I trust, also had me take Golytely for my recent colonoscopy and the small alternative prep was not recommended by him for patients with CHF and other heart ailments. I did fine with the gallon prep. It goes through quickly and I had no fluid retention. Jan S. geschuppja@aol.com


Jan S, December 27, 2002 - Hi, I am 99.5% paced since having an AV node ablation in February of 1999. My heart damage is from radiation and chemo treatment from 1976 to 1979. When I received my pacemaker for atrial fib and other arrhythmias that couldn't be controlled by medicine, the electrophysiologist at St. Louis University was unable to set my atrial lead in my atrium.
     My lead for atrium pacing is attached to my coronary sinus. I am seeking anyone else who has or has knowlege of such placment and what happens at time of pacer change. I am currently on monthly battery checks. My local cardiologist says they will hook up an external pacer before changing my implant because I have to have a pacer working at all times. No battery working transfers to no life.
     If they couldn't get a lead into the atrium in 1998, how will they get this external one working? I'd just like to hear if anyone has faced a similar problem. I will ask my electrophysiologist this when I see her in March but I'd like to be able to ask my questions with some background information. Should I be calm? Guarded? Jan S. geschuppja@aol.com


Hal, December 27, 2002 - Hi, Happy New Year one and all. Here's hoping and praying that all our lives continue as comfortably as possible this coming year. Thanks to this message board, I have met many new and wonderful folks. Last post, I was looking for info regarding Canadian immigration.
     This time, I would love to hookup with any pensioneros south of the border who are dealing with CHF: Mexico, Belize and especially Costa Rica. My disability checks won't cover the rent of a chicken coop in California and I could really use a change of scenery. God bless you all and have the best year ever! uncahal@webtv.net


Tom S' December 27 reply to Jack's December 27, 2002 - Hi, The toys insurance companies give politicians and state insurance commissioners are far in excess of anything doctors are receiving these days. The way the VA always seems to issue meds based on the chemical name of the drug rather than the brand name, although my carvedilol is obviously the real Coreg and not a generic knockoff. The same goes for most of the other drugs I am issued by the VA. bigheart@muchomail.com
 
Jon's note: I was not aware any generic version of Coreg was yet available due to GSK's patent, although it can certainly be prescribed by the name carvedilol


Carol W's December 28 reply to Jon's December 27, 2002 - Hi Jon, Coreg is not available as a generic drug on the market. If it were, I would be taking carvedilol, since my insurance requires I take the generic. So Coreg has a generic name already, and that's all. So how was everyone's holiday? clwelcomb@att.net


Jon's December 28 reply to Carol W's December 28, 2002 - Hi Carol, Thanks. I miss more than I used to miss, mainly because there is so much more to miss. <g> Jon.


Tom S' December 28 reply to Jon's December 27, 2002 - Hi, The Coreg issued by the VA sure looks exactly the same as the Coreg I used to get in the civilian drug store, but again all VA labeling is by the chemical name. For example the "Coreg" label reads "Carvedilol 25 MG TAB Drug ID: White, Oval, SB 4142." You know the old saying that there is a right way, a wrong way, and the military way, sooooooooo I guess that holds true right through the entire government. bigheart@muchomail.com


Sam, December 28, 2002 - Hello All, Does anyone have any info on Pharmacia's new hypertensive drug Inspra and its potential use in heart failure? Are heart failure specialists hopeful that this drug may have some applicability for cardiomyopathies? I think it blocks aldosterone production. I will be asking my cardiologist when I go for my appointment next month. Thanks, Sam. inthemist2003@yahoo.com


Diane, December 28, 2002 - Hi Jon, I am here to vent right now. I had a bad echo and I have an episode anniversary coming up the first of January. I was very negative during this holiday season and forgot whose hands to leave my worries to. I have been to this site many times and been helped by reading the posts of others and gotten strength. So when I feel sorry for myself I come here and come away knowing there are others that understand my feelings and concerns, and I can put things into perspective and go forward. Thank you for another year! Dh3044@aol.com


Barb, December 28, 2002 - Hi and happy new year! I'm a long-time lurker who has gotten much practical help and encouragement from this site. I thought I would add two cents worth on CHF and diabetes, since I have seen several threads related to medication questions for these two conditions.
     Regarding the glitazones (actos, avandia, and rezulin (no longer available), this class based on label information is contraindicated for people with CHF. It increases edema and per the label can worsen heart failure. I think this label information has been recently updated so not all physicians may be aware of this.
     Regarding metformin (Glucophage), it traditionally has been contraindicated for people with CHF because of concerns regarding lactic acidosis, which were based primarily on experience with an older, no longer available drug named phenformin. A recent Israeli study that included people with both CHF and diabetes found that metformin neither made nor marred (no lactic acidosis, no increased or decreased death rates, but lowered HbA1C (meaning lower blood sugar) and lowered body weight. This is good news for people with type 2 diabetes, who tend to carry extra weight. Also, metformin can be used along with insulin and decrease overall insulin requirements. This is good news since at the high doses often necessary for people who are insulin resistant, it also increases fluid retention as well as promoting weight gain. It may be worth discussing with your doctor if you are coping with both these conditions. Thanks to Jon for his good works! naloacres@aol.com


Jon, December 28, 2002 - Hi, I do not mean to puncture anyone's bubble upon reading that metformin may be fine to take for CHFers in the last post. However, I feel obligated - although frankly I don't want to bring it up - to mention that there were 47 reports of lactic acidosis in the first 14 months of metformin's approval in the USA, mainly in patients who should not take it according to the FDA (CHFers and kidney failure patients). Almost half of those people died. That was not with a previous drug but with actual metformin. I have not seen the Israeli study mentioned so I cannot address it. Just be careful, please. Jon.


Tom S' December 28 reply to Diane's December 28, 2002 - Hi, I've lost houses, cars, and other insignificant personal possessions several times over but I am still vertical and breathing to meet the wonderful daily challenges only life coursing through out bodies can give us. So when someone asks me how I am feeling I always respond "vertical and breathing" which is a far better alternative than the other option. Life is good even though my body may not be my best friend right now. We are more or less inseparable so I guess I'd better do the best with what I have.
     By the way, I was remiss in not wishing everybody a happy holiday season and for those who seek it a very holy one too. May the new year be better than any you have had before. Happy new year to all. bigheart@muchomail.com


Ruthie A's December 29 reply to Barb N's December 28, 2002 - Hi Barb, I would be interested to know where you got the information regarding metformin not being linked to lactic acidosis. The JAMA issue dedicated to diabetes last summer (I think, or was it spring?) had an editorial letter to physicians warning them of the dangers of metformin in CHF patients. This letter stated that it was very dangerous to prescribe metformin to anyone who had CHF, primarily due to the risk of lactic acidosis. In fact, physicians were reminded that metformin was contraindicated for CHF patients and they were not to prescribe it under those circumstances. The letter also discussed the percentage of physicians in the US who were giving their CHF patients metformin knowing that it was not a good drug for them. The point of the entire letter was to point out correct prescription protocols and to cease giving metformin when it was contraindicated in their patients.
     My personal experience reflects this opinion. I am a Type 2 diabetic with a severe sulfa allergy, so the only oral medication I could take was metformin. My doctor and I discussed the possible side effects of the drug, and I agreed to take it on a trial basis. Unfortunately, I suffered severe stomach pain with it and had to discontinue the metformin. Only after I was off the medication did my doctor and I deduce that various symptoms I was having could most likely be attributed to the beginnings of lactic acidosis. When I got the metformin out of my system, I felt so much better, and I was thankful that the other side effects saved my life! I am now totally insulin dependent and glad for it. Ruthie A. rlaba51@yahoo.com


Sandy H's December 29 reply to Barb N's December 28, 2002 - Hi, I am not the person with Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, my hubby is, but I go to all his doc appointments because his memory is very bad so I am responding on this side of the board.
     Bill was taking glucophage for his diabetes and he thought it was doing a good job. He was diagnosed with diabetes and cardiomyopathy in 1998. This summer his PCP informed him he could no longer be on glucophage because it is bad for patients with CHF. The doctor switched him to 15mg Actos to start. Monitoring his blood sugar, Bill noticed it did not lower the numbers like glucophage did. At his November checkup he informed his PCP (plus the blood tests showed the sugar levels high) and requested to be switched back. His PCP told him he couldn't do that but could up the dose of Actos and changed it to 30mg. The reason he stated was that glucophage in CHF patients can cause kidney damage.
     My husband, still insistant on switching back to glucophage, mentioned to his cardiologist at his December appointment that he would like to switch back from Actos to glucophage. The cardiologist said no, looking at Bill's complete updated chart, that the PCP had made the correct change.
     Although Bill still isn't happy (he is a stubborn person), having had both doctors state the same thing made him realize he can't switch back. He goes back in February for more blood work so hopefully the increased dosage of Actos will have brought his blood sugar more in line. Although he has the monitor at home, his hands get so cracked, chapped, and very sore this time of year he is reluctant to use it as often as he should. We have tried every kind of hand cream we can think of including special ones for diabetics and they don't work, so if someone can offer a suggestion, it would be appreciate.
     2002 has been the best year for us since Bill was first diagnosed so we are hoping 2003 is even better. I hope everyone had a happy holiday and the best to everyone in 2003! Sniklh@webtv.net
 
Jon's note: Try a large humidifier on every level of the house


Valerie, December 29, 2002 - Hi, After 7 years I just recently went into the hospital again with CHF. I have a dilated heart, 15% EF, and CHF. I just got an ICD. Needless to say, I am on a stricter low-sodium diet and I am scared enough to stay on it. However, I teach 8th grade English, am fairly active, and I like to travel.
     How does one eat out on a low-sodium diet? I cannot live on salads because of Coumadin I take and the large vitamin K in lettuce. vgrogers@aol.com


Jon, December 31, 2002 - Hi everyone, Sorry if the dates on posts were wrong somewhere in the past few days. They weren't good ones for me and I didn't even know what day it was yesterday. I am much, much better today. Jon.


Jack D's December 31 reply to Valerie's December 29, 2002 - Hello Valerie, You're an English teacher so you can probably actually speak and read English. The first thing to do is to find a book that lists all the nutrients in each food. This will give you some idea of what raw foods you can safely ingest. Then you need to eat only at restaurants where the help speaks English, and instruct them not to put salt on your meat. You can't eat at any fast food joints and even at the regular restaurants you should stay away from any cooked vegetables because they probably came out of a can. Canned vegetables are loaded with sodium. Your best bet is to stick with steak houses that have salad bars. Lettuce doesn't have much vitamin K but there are plenty of other things to make salad from that aren't dark green and leafy. maddjak@hotmail.com


Catherine L, December 31, 2002 - Hi, I go in for major surgery to fix my mesenteric ischemia (intestinal angina or ischemic colitis) this Friday. The surgeon can't do an endoscopic procedure. He said if he perforates the artery by mistake, then blood covers everything real fast so he has to do a big cut in my abdomen; a small one won't do.
     CHFers should be aware that they are at higher risk for this condition, especially if they have CAD or low blood pressure.
     Fortunately, the only connection my CHF has with my mesenteric ischemia is the fact that the hearts drugs I was on lowered my blood pressure sufficiently to where my condition showed symptoms. I do not have atherosclerosis in my intestinal arteries; rather, the ligament that attaches my diaphragm to my backbone is compressing or adhering to the two arteries and must be cut away from them to relieve the compression. If the arteries don't expand and fill with blood after he cuts the ligament away, then he will have to do a bypass for the arteries. This condition of the ligament compressing the intestinal arteries is rare and it's called median arcuate ligament syndrome.
     I can't avoid avoid this surgery. If I don't have it, the next attack could kill me, according to the surgeon. He showed me the x-rays, and the celiac and superior mesenteric arteries that give blood to my intestine are extremely constricted. The x-ray that shows me holding my breath reveals that the arteries open up some when I inhale, so there is hope that once the adhesions are removed and the ligament cut away, the arteries will be open enough so I don't need a bypass.
     I am very frightened, especially of being cut and the pain afterwards. I'll be in the hospital about a week. If I can just make it to 2 weeks from now, I'll be over the worst. Then I can get back on my heart drugs. I am having much more breathlessness and PVCs, for I've been off my heart drugs almost a month now.
     Yours prayers on Friday, and through Monday, are appreciated. Catherine. ccash@kcnet.com


Gino, December 31, 2002 - Hi to all of you, My best wishes of a "cool" and happy 2003. Gino. gitarant@yahoo.com


Natalie K's December 31 reply to Valerie's December 29, 2002 - Hi, I have found a lot of helpful information on this site. Try the site search engine (Archives): "eating out". I have learned that, thank goodness, eating out is very possible.
     I carry with me (depending on the menu where I'll be) low-sodium butter, salsa, ketchup, mustard, mayo, salad dressing, Mrs Dash, herbs, spices, and hot sauce. I don't usually carry all of this at once, but I have been "trapping" many teeny-weeny bottles and jars. Chefs and cooks have been very kind and forthcoming. I "save up" mg of sodium on eat-out days. I know that's not the goal and I do abide by meal by meal sodium intake guidelines; I just "save up" in case I am poorly informed or misinformed.
     Sometimes, with my doctor's okay, I take extra diuretic just to cover a possible unintended overindulgence. It is hard (but possible!) to pass up a savory dish which arrives in front of you by mistake. Pass on it. I try to remember my CHF "meltdown" at such times, when I repeated to my husband and anyone else who would listen, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" Of course, I'd have been much better off if I had just shut up and saved what little breath I had, but oh well.
     Finally, I think the key is KISS, not Hershey's Kiss although they curb the appetite, but "Keep It Simple, Stupid!" Order the plain jane possibilities from the menu and add your own enhancements when you can. Then you are in charge. A broiled chop or fresh fish fillet, a steamed veggie, baked potato, and a salad are available almost everywhere, but watch for meats delivered already marinated or seasoned and for seafood shipped in brine. ASK! The fancier a place is I think, the more the chef is aware of what goes into his or her preparation, and may love to come to your table to talk about it. Often the cook and I can "make a deal" as in, "Give me that dish, but hold the sauce, please." Desserts are hard on diabetics, but comparatively low in sodium if you "budget for them" as well, or just sample a bite from your companion, if you can manage it.
     Having finally reached a point in my life where I can afford the cost and time to frequent something better than MacDonald's which can't well accomodate me anyway, I am pleased to join my friends often in eating out. After all, their company, the ambience, and convenience are the point. Sorry for rattling on. I just thought you'd never ask. <g> mcnat45@yahoo.com


Ruthie A's December 31 reply to Sandy H's December 29, 2002 - Hi Sandy, I have the same problem all year round with my hands. Our water is horrid and full of lyme, which dries out the skin. My hands will crack and bleed daily if I didn't continuously treat them. Though it is not a cure-all, I have a moisturizing schedule that works for my feet too, I'm a Type 2 diabetic with peripheral neuropathy. I use Eucerin Cream liberally. Actually I glop it on, rubbing it in until there is complete coverage and a white film over all of my skin. Then I put on white cotton gloves (or socks for my feet) and go to bed. The cream soaks into the skin and helps moisturize. I have also done the same with Vaseline, but it's kinda greasy and makes laundry difficult. Eucerin Cream is rather pricey, so it would be in your best interest to shop around, Ruthie A. rlaba51@yahoo.com


Catherine L, December 31, 2002 - Hi, I forgot to add another reason why CHFers are at higher risk for mesenteric ischemia or intestinal angina is that their hearts can throw off embolisms that can lodge in the main arteries that nourish the intestine.
     Any prayers or encouragement anyone can give me as Friday approaches will be appreciated. Thanks, Catherine. ccash@kcnet.com


All information on this site is opinion only. All concepts, explanations, trials, and studies have been re-written in plain English and may contain errors. I am not a doctor. Use the reference information at the end of each article to search MedLine for more complete and accurate information. All original copyrights apply. No information on this page should be used by any person to affect their medical, legal, educational, social, or psychological treatment in any way. I am not a doctor. This web site and all its pages, graphics, and content copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 Jon C.

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