The paperwork never ends The Archives
February 1-15, 2000 Archive Index CHFpatients.com

Paul S' 2-1 reply to Debbie H's 1-31     prednisone & personality, & more
 
LeeAnn D 2-1     depression & happy days
 
Luc D 2-1     hello & an update
 
Brenda George's 2-1 reply to Jose's 1-28     amiodarone side effects & more
 
Carol 2-1     why do I ache so much?
 
Jon's 2-1 reply to Carol's 2-1     CHF & aches & pains
 
Ginger 2-1     a thank you, also about depression
 
Donna Z 2-1     does Coreg raise blood sugar?
 
Lydia Moore's 2-1 reply to Joyce's 1-31     dealing with depression
 
Cindy M 2-1     have a new e-mail address, just moved
 
Diane P 2-2     dehydration & aches, get a CHF doctor!
 
Dan 2-2     need suggestions for improving memory
 
Carol W's 2-2 reply to Jon's 2-1     aches and pains
 
Jon's 2-2 reply to Carol W's 2-2     pain is in the eye of the painee
 
Rieale's 2-2 reply to Jon's 2-1     hand pain & a pulmonary embolism question
 
Kathryn C 2-2     a drug option for depression
 
Donna Z 2-2     seek info on new Canadian CHF drug
 
Candy P's 2-2 reply to Jon's 2-1     pain in feet & legs, & more
 
Lori P 2-2     St. Jude valve recall
 
Sara's 2-3 reply to Jon's 2-2     pain control, update, doctors & more
 
Susan 2-3     has anyone had internal bleeding from Coumadin?
 
Elaine 2-3     so glad to find you
 
Luc D 2-3     how should I send photos?
 
Jon's 2-3 reply to Luc D's 2-3     sending me photos for Who's Who
 
Joy R 2-3     a thank you & prayer request
 
Phil S' 2-3 reply to Rieale's 2-2     pulmonary embolisms, doctors & more
 
Phil S 2-3     severe leg pain & CHF
 
Cathy H's 2-3 reply to Lori P's 2-2     thank you for the info
 
Jeanette 2-3     update, does anyone take Effexor?
 
Sara's 2-3 reply to Joy R's 2-3     tell Frank to hang in there
 
Rieale's 2-3 reply to Susan's 2-3     Coumadin & internal bleeding
 
Gail 2-3     kicking the smoking habit
 
John ?'s 2-3 reply to Phil S' 2-3     severe leg pain & massage
 
Jana B's 2-4 reply to Susan's 2-3     Coumadin & bleeding
 
Pat L's 2-4 reply to Sara's 2-3     be careful stopping meds
 
Sonja 2-4     intro
 
Roz' 2-4 reply to Jeanette's 2-3     one day at a time & more
 
Shirley V's 2-4 reply to Jeanette's 2-3     depression meds, Effexor
 
Jon's 2-4 reply to Jeanette's 2-3     depression, resources
 
Missy 2-5     foot pain possibilities
 
Frank S' 2-5 reply to Jon's 2-4     depression is always physical
 
Jon's 2-5 reply to Frank S' 2-5     I simply disagree
 
Ben B 2-5     SSD & part-time work questions
 
Ginger 2-5     update, new pages, see you at chat
 
David 2-5     is this flushing from CHF
 
Tom S' 2-5 reply to Jon's 2-5     theology isn't necessary for everyone
 
Jon's 2-5 reply to Tom S' 2-5     what post are you guys reading?
 
Cindy M's 2-5 reply to Ben B's 2-5     SSD & part-time work
 
Lori P's 2-5 reply to Cathy H's 2-3     what did you find out?
 
Frank S' 2-5 reply to Jon's 2-5     spirituality
 
Jon's 2-5 reply to Frank S' 2-5     spirituality
 
Frank S' 2-5 reply to Ben B's 2-5     income from part-time work & SSD
 
Jamie S' 2-6 reply to Ben B's 2-5     documentation is everything
 
Marty's 2-6 reply to Ben B's 2-5     SSD & trial work periods
 
Roz W 2-6     depression & more
 
Jon's 2-6 reply to Roz W's 2-6     I repeat (again)
 
Sandi 2-6     does anyone have pain in their hands?
 
Joy R 2-6     leg pain possibility
 
Jean C's 2-6 reply to Sandi's 2-6     hand pain possibilities
 
Tom S 2-6     philosphy & more
 
Jon's 2-6 reply to Tom S' 2-6     one more time
 
Jana B 2-6     another perspective
 
Frank S 2-6     severe depression
 
Jon's 2-6 reply to Frank S' 2-6     easy, big fella :-)
 
Karen K's 2-6 reply to Ben B's 2-5     SSD and work income
 
Shirley V's 2-6 reply to Jon's 2-6     depression
 
Bill D's 2-6 reply to Tom S' 2-6     depression
 
Jill S 2-6     types of depression & more
 
Sandi M's 2-6 reply to Jon's 2-6     coping with depression
 
Frank S' 2-7 reply to Jon's 2-6     depression is always physical if that's our definition
 
Jon's 2-7 reply to Frank S' 2-7     you're not listening & apology to Jeanette
 
Linda's 2-7 reply to Jon's 2-6     depression - the physical & spiritual
 
Robin R 2-7     need advice about my doc & my health
 
Jon's 2-7 reply to Robin R's 2-7     reasons to get another doc
 
Gus R's 2-7 reply to Jon's 2-6     Hot topics
 
Cindy M's 2-7 reply to Jon's 2-6     types of depression
 
Candy P 2-7     needs & depression
 
Joy R 2-7     depression & meds
 
Jon 2-7     I'm confused
 
Phyllis A 2-7     got test results, more tests coming
 
Robin R's 2-7 reply to Jon's 2-7     thx for information & more
 
Sandy 2-7     seek PPCM info
 
LeeAnn D 2-8     nutritional factors in depression
 
Roz W's 2-8 reply to Robin R's 2-7     doctors & tasty discussions
 
Diane 2-8     bipolar disorder, meds & more
 
Frank S' 2-8 reply to Bill D's 2-6     keep billdoggin', Bill
 
Candy P's 2-8 reply to Jon's 2-7     defining depression & its cause
 
Jon's 2-8 reply to Candy P's 2-8     hey, that's pretty good
 
Dave K 2-9     maybe this would make reading easier
 
Jon's 2-9 reply to Dave K's 2-9     good idea but too much work
 
Joe S 2-9     spiritually caused problems
 
Lydia Moore's 2-9 reply to Joy R's 2-7     depression
 
Kathryn's 2-9 reply to LeeAnn D's 2-8     depression, St. John's Wort caution
 
Mike B 2-10     some newbie questions
 
Gwen 2-10     coping with this frustrating illness
 
Brian G 2-10     exercise questions
 
Jon's 2-10 reply to Brian G's 2-10     feeling like you've exercised & more
 
Frank S' 2-10 reply to Gwen's 2-10     very telling post
 
Rick M's 2-10 reply to Gwen's 2-10     coping with life & illness
 
Kay 2-10     depression
 
Jon 2-10     here's a switch on the depression topic
 
Karen K 2-11     magnesium deficiency question
 
Ben B's 2-11 reply to Jon's 2-10     fatigue hangovers & different strokes
 
Jon's 2-11 reply to Ben B's 2-11     everybody's different
 
Donna Z's 2-11 reply to Karen K's 2-11      a pot of coffee a day?
 
Ginger's 2-11 reply to Ben B's 2-11     exercise fatigue hangovers & questions
 
Jon's 2-11 reply to Ginger's 2-11     exercise possibilities
 
Doris L 2-11     glad to know I am not alone
 
Joe S' 2-11 reply to Jon's 2-11     fatigue hangovers
 
Henry T 2-11     LBBB vs digoxin on ECG/EKG question
 
Jack's 2-11 reply to Ben B's 2-11     awww, but are you sure,.... <g>
 
Jeanette 2-11     meds & depression
 
Jon's 2-11 reply to Jeanette's 2-11     opinions & more
 
Robin R 2-11     CHF, EF, test questions
 
Jon's 2-11 reply to Robin R's 2-11     CHF, EF - specialist required
 
Lori P 2-11     new e-mail address
 
Karen K 2-12     exercise routines & more
 
Kevin F 2-12     heart rhythm questions
 
Holly's 2-12 reply to Ginger's 2-11     rehab - structured, supervised exercise
 
Renee M 2-12     depression
 
Renee M's 2-12 reply to Rick M's     I never looked at it that way before
 
Harriet's 2-12 reply to Jon's 2-7     coping with illness & more
 
Joe S' 2-12 reply to Renee M's 2-12     we all handle things differently
 
Gwen 2-13     thank you all & more
 
Sherrrell G's 2-13 reply to Ginger's 2-12     exercise planning
 
Sandi M's 2-13 reply to Rick M's 2-10     I needed that!
 
Jean C 2-13     coping, exercise, & to Ben B & Ginger
 
Phyllis A's 2-13 reply to Renee's 2-12     Lent
 
Brian G's 2-13 reply to Robin R's 2-11     CHF specialists, exercise
 
Leland Y's 1-25 reply to Karen K's 2-11     electrolytes & more
 
Leland Y's 1-25 reply to Ginger's 2-11     physical training & rehab
 
Barbara King 2-15     is this CHF?
 
Jon's 2-15 reply to Barbara King's 2-15     welcome to the CHF club
 
Leland Y's 2-15 reply to Rick M's 2-10     that describes it for me
 
Phyllis A's 2-15 reply to Brian's 2-13     TIAs, test results & more
 
Judy Wasson 2-15     intro, CAD & CHF?
 
Jon's 2-15 reply to Judy Wasson 2-15     CAD & CHF
 
Carol W 2-15     pacemakers for CHF question
 
Jon's 2-15 reply to Carol W's 2-15     Contak CD system by Guidant


Paul S' February 1 reply to Debbie H's January 31, 2000 - Hi Debbie, I am glad to hear that someone else also has had trouble with Prednisone and depression. I too have manic depression and prednisone only increased my episodes. As a transplant recipient, prednisone is a required med and we usually take a steady doge that starts at 65mg daily. This is slowly lowered to 5mg daily over a period of 18-24 months unless there are complications such as I had with severe bone loss. I am now off prednisone. Most transplant recipients stay at 5mg daily, I was told. I was also warned not to make any legal or important decisions, not to drive (due in part to surgery), and to have someone with me who was very patient and understanding since very strong mood changes are often a part of chronic prednisone usage.
     We (transplantees) often joke about the effects of prednisone. When I came to after the transplant surgery, I cried for over 3 hours uncontrollably and had to be given a "relaxer" as the nurse called it; following the surgery, the level of prednisone is very high. I still feel guilty sometimes over the way I acted because I was just not myself and at the time, that was a scary feeling. It is always comforting to know someone else has similar problems, though. I pray you will continue with your weight loss and improvement. If anyone else ever feels depressed and needs a friend, feel free to e-mail me. God bless, Paul. PDSteeley@webtv.net


LeeAnn D, February 1, 2000 - Hi everyone, Although I don't post as regularly as I used to, I do read everything and jump in when I absolutely have to. I have a few suggestions about depression; some I have posted before. I don't take credit - I have a wonderful shrink! Please remember that although they seem small and simple, sometimes it only takes one little thing to trigger a happy day!

  1. Go for a walk. Exercise can lift depression, plus sunshine also lifts your spirits. If it's too cold, see number two
  2. Put on your favorite uplifting music. If you couldn't go for a walk, dance (or at least snap your fingers) to a song
  3. Call a friend and talk about what's bothering you and feel free to cry on a shoulder; it really does help
  4. Hold a baby, really. You've got to know someone who has a baby, a neighbor or a church friend. Can you really be sad holding a little angel?
  5. Take a bubble bath, complete with fragrant bubbles or candles. Don't forget the cold drink!
  6. Watch something funny on TV or rent a video
  7. This should be number one! Read your Bible or pray. Someone gave me a Daily Light in the hospital. It is a compilation of Bible verses without commentary, just Bible verses arranged by topic. It helped me more than I can say
  8. Treat yourself to a favorite activity or food. You're worth it!
  9. Absolutely positively do not leave your drapes closed, your lights off, your TV droning on and on or your bed unmade

     Print this out and put it on your frig. ddavis1057@aol.com


Luc D, February 1, 2000 - Dear heart friends, I just want to say hello to all of you here at this wonderful heart forum. I'm still reading the posts every day and I'm glad some of you are doing good! I'm also very happy about the good news from people who got a heart transplant. This makes us fight against our heart disease; There is still hope for people like us, we are not dead yet. I see that there are lots of new people here too and that's good because we are all in the same boat, aren't we?! It's good to talk to people who know how hard this disease can be, especially when we get depressed.
     I see my cardiologist again on February 18. My last MUGA was bad again but he will know this too, I think. My children and wife are doing fine. You should see my children; they are wonderfull! I will send some new pictures so you can see them and I will ask Jon to take out the old pictures and put the new one's in their place. I really hope all the best for you all. Your Belgian friend, Luc D. luc.deseins@planetinternet.be


Brenda George's February 1 reply to Jose's January 28, 2000 - Hi, A side effect of amiodarone that has not been mentioned is cirrohosis of the liver. My mother took this medicine for approximately 2 years. She became very ill and near death before her doctors finally linked her cirrhosis to amiodarone. We were told it is a rare side effect but my mother was listed as having 2 weeks to live and all medications were withdrawn. This saved her life and she is still with us 5 years later, although she has never regained her health.
     I think that many medicines have the potential to cause side effects and we have to be very vigilant about what is happening while taking them. If we suspect they are causing other problems, go to the doctor and discuss the problems and stop taking medicines if necessary. Health problems caused by side effects can sometimes be greater than the original disease. b.e.george@inet.net.nz


Carol, February 1, 2000 - Hi, It is very early morning and I am up because I am aching again. I have CHF, diabetes, neuropathy and a brain injury, but what is causing the aches in my arms and legs? This also happened last spring. The best I can get from my physician is that it is a viral thing. Does this sound like any CHF symptom? Does anyone else have this problem? It makes standing difficult after just a couple minutes. Carol W. cabwojo@banet.net


Jon's February 1 reply to Carol's February 1, 2000 - Hi Carol, Can you be more specific about where your aches are? I have severe aches in my lower legs and feet, getting worse. The lower legs feel like my very bones are radiating pain into my legs. My feet feel like they would after a double shift on concrete floors in steel-toed boots in a lumber mill after getting no sleep the night before. I am currently on a med called neurontin but so far (like the last med I tried) it is actually making the aching worse.
     I think our bodies rebel for at least two reasons: We don't get enough oxygen to our extremities and organs. Also, we take medications which totally screw up the hormone balance in our bodies. It's no wonder we hurt. Try telling it to a doctor, though! They look blank and say that there's no reason for it. <lol> In your case, Carol, you have additional health problems that require yet more meds. The virus idea sounds like a doctor shooting off his mouth when he should be saying, "I don't know." If he'll make up something to cover his ignorance, maybe you should think about changing doctors to someone who's honest with you.
     Since I am also having a lot of problems with aching and pain, I am very interested in others' ideas and experiences. Please post if you have a similar problem. Jon.


Ginger, February 1, 2000 - Hiya's, I want to thank everyone for their e-mail. I am not up to answering them all one by one so please take this group thank you and hug. Depression is a very hard thing to handle and if you're trying drugs for it, please give them a chance. My doc explained to me that they have a 1 in 3 chance of getting you on the one that works for you the first time. So you may have to try a few different ones to find the correct one for you. Also, don't ever think think that mental stress does not affect your health. I had the flu for a week and when my sister passed, I ended up with a slight case of pneumonia. Please everyone, take care of yourselves and be good to yourselves. You deserve it! Hugs, Ginger. mystery@laker.net


Donna Z, February 1, 2000 - Hi, Does anyone seem to have a problem keeping their blood sugar levels under control? It seems that since I started Coreg, I'm having more trouble controlling my blood sugar levels. How did you get them under control? I take 5mg of Glutrol XL once a day and am on a 1400 calorie a day diet, and am trying to watch my carbs. I'm seeing my PCF today and will discuss this with him but was wondering if anyone noticed this happening. Thanks. dzak@worldnet.att.net
 
Jon's note: Donna, be sure to read the intro to the Coreg page and the text articles here and here


Lydia Moore's February 1 reply to Joyce's January 31, 2000 - Hi Joyce, Depression can be a devastating feeling. I can almost handle a physical impairment better than depression. I notice a lot of people with CHF have this problem. I'm sure it is a combination of meds and the fact that we have a life threatening disease. There are also those who suffer from clinical depression, and it is very important to address this matter with your doctor. Medications work real well and sometimes it's a matter of finding the right one. Do not give up and think this cannot be resolved since there are many solutions for this condition. Above all, we have to remember that "The Master Physician" has everything under control and He will lead you to the right sources. I will keep you in my prayers. Lydia. Flanders66288@cs.com


Cindy M, February 1, 2000 - Hi All, Just a quick note to inform you of my e-mail address change from cleighmc@aol.com to cynthialeigh@home.com, effective immediately. We've moved into a new home, so I'm going through a major fatigue hangover, too. I hope all is well with everyone. Best, Cindy M. cynthialeigh@home.com


Diane P, February 2, 2000 - Hi, I had a right heart cath today in Gainsville and a Vo2max test. Guess what?! I was totally dehydrated from over-medication by my local cardiologist, whose lack of caring got me to find another one who deals only with CHF. I have to travel 2 hours but it is the best thing I have done for myself. My right heart cath pressures were below normal and did not indicate CHF. I was killing my kidneys and my local yocal hadn't done my electrolytes in months; just more diuretics and less fluid. My body was craving spinach and some other things not normally in my diet. Listen to your body; it kept me alive until all the results were in. One of the reasons I was achy was answered. I have to talk to him Friday and he bets me that the symptoms including spinach-craving will be gone. Remember that you write your MD's paycheck. fjpage@n-jcenter.com


Dan, February 2, 2000 - Hello everyone, I need some advice. My memory is getting very bad and I'm looking for something to help it. I contacted my doctor and asked about Ginko but they said I can't take it because of my blood thinner. My wife said she's noticed me being confused and not understanding things. Thank you all and God bless, Dan. DLS50@WebTv.Net


Carol W's February 2 reply to Jon's February 1, 2000 - Hi Jon, Thank you for your reply. Your pains sound worse than mine. My aches are primarily in my thighs and upper arms as if they have been strained to the limit just holding me upright or holding a fork. It lasted 5 weeks last spring. Because it was gone for over 8 months, I don't think it is the meds but I do have trouble keeping my iron and B-12 levels up. Maybe I need a total profile on vitamins and hormones. Thank you for your concern. Carol W. cabwojo@banet


Jon's February 2 reply to Carol W's February 2, 2000 - Hi Carol, Honestly, if a pain/ache keeps you from going to sleep or wakes you up, I believe it to be a serious pain indeed. I don't think mine are any worse than anyone else's, maybe just different. Like beauty, pain is in the eye of the beholder. Let us know if you find a reason for your pains. I just had a complete blood workup done to try and spot a reason for some other pains I have had without a break for months, and I mean a complete workup; nothing but elevated blood sugar (again). Jon.


Rieale's February 2 reply to Jon's February 1, 2000 - Hello, I'm also experiencing aches and pains, especially in my hands. This causes a lot of difficulty in my life because writing is one of the few things I'm still allowed to do that gives me pleasure. My doctor has told me that my body is adjusting to my meds and that I should let him know if the pain becomes too much.
     I have a question I hope someone can help me with. When I was in the hospital 2-3 weeks ago, a pulmonary embolism was found. I'm on Coumadin and while this is treating the clot, I've started experiencing pain that the doc says is pleurisy. He gave me an anti-inflammatory but of course I have to watch this because of potential ulcers. Has anyone else had a pulmonary embolism while being a CHFer and how did you deal with it? Thanks! Rieale@aol.com


Kathryn C, February 2, 2000 - Hi Everyone, I read both CHF pages every day and have been reading everyone's notes about depression. My son started on a medication called Celexa about 1½ months ago. He is only taking 20mg a day but this has seemed to help his CHF depression. I just wanted to mention it as another possible drug option for everyone. Celexa has been used in Europe for a long time but was only recently authorized for use in the USA. Kathryncole@hotmail.com


Donna Z, February 2, 2000 - Hi, Has anyone heard about a new medication from Canada that's supposed to be as good as Coreg for CHF, and not have any effects on other bodily organs? Thanks. dzak@worldnet.att.net


Candy P's February 2 reply to Jon's February 1, 2000 - Hi, I experienced painful legs and feet to the point where walking was almost impossible and down right painful. After many tests it turned out to be an occluded aorta. Surgery did wonders for my pain and ability to walk. I still have some discomfort, however I think this happens mainly when I eat too much sodium. My feet don't swell up but they get uncomfortable. Also, my arms go numb because I have some upper body hardening of the arteries. My circulation is also poor because of my heart problems. So it all adds up to a body that isn't running at 100%. I'm sure I must live with this the rest of my life. GrPota@aol.com


Lori P, February 2, 2000 - Hi, I'm sure by now you've all heard the news about St. Jude's valves. Some of them are being recalled. I called the following number and found out I'm not on the recall list. They keep track of all valve recipients on their computers and can tell you right away: 1-800-344-5833. pearsonj@swbell.net
 
Jon's note: Be sure to get on the mailing list, which sends out FDA warnings and recalls related to CHFers


Sara's February 3 reply to Jon's February 2, 2000 - Hi Jon, I sure hope you are feeling better and my thoughts and prayer to all of us. You said you were on neurontin. My doctor also gave me this as he said it will relax the tissues and muscles therefore putting less pressure on the nerves. It is an anti-seizure med and when I told him one pill made me sick and didn't help my pain, he just looked at me like I was nuts. I am all ready to mouth off all my complaints, then when I get to the office I get this feeling that the doctors don't take me seriously, so off I go to another doctor. I know I will soon find one who will really understand how much pain I have and will help without surgery. My cardiologist took me off all meds except amiodarone and hydrathorazide for blood pressure and fluid. He says since my EF went up from 20 to 45 that he would rather have me on as few meds as possible. Now I am getting more short of breath and more tired but I am tired of complaining about the same thing to him so I will go to my internist and stay away from the specialists. I think the relationship one has with their doctor is more healing then the need of "the best." Stay well, Sara. ssunny20853@aol.com


Susan's February 3 reply to Jon's February 2, 2000 - Hi, Have you heard of anyone having internal bleeding while on Coumadin? I have been bleeding for over a year and just found out in August of 1999 that I needed blood transfusions. I have had 20 so far. I am beginning to feel better but would like to know if anyone else has had this. They would like to blame Coumadin but I am not sure of it and neither are they.
     I noticed somewhere where you sign up and list symptoms and meds. I have had CHF for many years, since I was 13 years old. I was very sick until I had my third and fourth heart surgeries. These both were valve replacements. Anyway, I like your site and have been monitering it for over a year. Thanks for making this available for all people. sckp@gte.net


Elaine, February 3, 2000 - Hi Y'all, I'm new to Jon's Place; I just found it last weekend. I'll echo everyone else's opinion and say what a Godsend this place is. Finally, people who get it! I'm fortunate in that I worked in the medical industry in the past (x-ray technician) and my anatomy and physiology classes from college have never served me better. I'm 44 and diagnosed with IDCM and CHF in September of 1998. I'm on Coreg, Zestril, Lanoxin, Demadex and Zoloft. My initial EF was 10% and my first Vo2max was 15. The first things my first cardiologist started saying to me were transplant and patient for life. I'll go for the patient for life stuff but transplant seems like way too much psychologically at this point. I have 12,11, and 7 year old girls, and I've got to stick around and make sure they don't make all the same mistakes I did.
     I had a second Vo2max last week and it had gone up to "almost 20" and my last EF measurement was 21%. The doctor I see now (with a transplant team) feels the Coreg and Zestril are really helping. I'm in the process of getting a treadmill so I can work at exercise too but I still get so tired. My family and others look at me, and I don't look sick and sometimes I seem to feel like doing everything just as I always have, but they just don't get it. They don't understand how just folding a load of towels can make your arms ache so much. After all, it's just towels! My husband works 60-70 hours a week so it's mainly just me and the girls. I don't keep up with the house and laundry like I used to and it really makes me feel inadequate and helpless that I'm not doing what I should be. I just can't get going, or when I do , I run out of energy. I will say this: I feel better that at least I know what is going on rather than just thinking I'm soooo out of shape. I'm not that much overweight anymore since I lost 30lbs and only have 20 more to go.
     I know this is long but knowing that you understand means so much. The depression factor is there too. Please accept my heart felt thanks for just listening. I feel so alone with this sometimes. Jon, thank you so much for what must be a lot of time you put in here. When I surfed through here Saturday, I couldn't believe the depth of info - just the stuff we all need. I have questions about SSD but I'll get to that another time. Thanks again. Much health to all! Elaine. heartfelt16@netscape.net


Luc D, February 3, 2000 - Hello Jon, I hope you and your family are doing fine. I would like to send 2 pictures of my children. How can I do this? How big and what format may they be, bmp, gif, jpg? I don't know what would be the best for you to work with. Can you give me some advice? Thank you. Take care, my friends. I will be back soon. I wish you all the best! Your Belgian buddie Luc D. luc.deseins@planetinternet.be


Jon's February 3 reply to Luc D's February 3, 2000 - Hi Luc, File size doesn't matter. Resolution doesn't matter to me but you'll get better results with 300 or higher dots per inch. Scanners don't work in dots per inch but your book should tell you how to convert. Please do not use gifs for photos. This is a format designed for line drawings and it totally ruins photos. Photos do pretty well in just about any other format except png. For what it's worth, uncompressed tif or tga are my favorites to work with and I use them exclusively on my hard drive. If you use jpegs, use very little compression. Just e-mail me the files as attachments and I'll take it from there. Jon.


Joy R, February 3, 2000 - Hi, I just wanted to tell eveyone how much this site helps me gets through my bad times. After I last posted, someone must be praying for me as my head has been almost clear enough to try to read again. I think I was feeling a little down also and now after reading the posts, one's spirits can't help but pick up. Thanks Jon, for having this site to bring us together and help us through our hard time. I also need some prayers for a good friend in the hospital with heart failure for the first time. His name is Frank and he served 2 tours in Vienam. He had a heart attack 2 years ago and was doing fine but his doctor put him on Propulsid in December and within several weeks he was having some pretty bad arrhythmia. They finally have gotten those stopped with amiodarone but he is having all the side effects: his skin is a purplish color and when they give it IV he gets in a panic and gets nauseated. To top it off, a nurse came in and described his heart as a bowl of jello. I got in to see him and explained to him that he would get better once the medicines take hold, and I told him about this site and all the wonderful people who help each other through the good times and the bad, and how many of them had gotten better and I think I gave him a litle hope. So please pray for him. Joy. wapalaremi@home.com


Phil S' February 3 reply to Rieale's February 3, 2000 - Hi, I had a pulmonary embolism at the bottom of my rib cage. The doctor could hear the clot rubbing the bottom of the ribs every time I breathed in. We should all follow Jon's advice about making sure the ER doctors know you have CHF, and try to get them to call your own doctor. Since I am usually treated at a VA hospital or clinic, I don't have a doctor here in town. Because of this, it took 6 days to find the clot because they didn't listen about the CHF and they were looking for other reasons for the pain and breathing problem. After 3 days, I finally got a good doctor who checked the oxygen levels and did the echo and lung scan which came back negative so he thought that I had pleurisy. Since he could still hear the rubbing sound, he decided to do a lung catherization which found the hidden clot, which was intact. If it had broken apart, I would now be dead. My VA doctor said that heparin should have been immediately started and then if not needed, it could have been stopped.
     I didn't get heparin until they found the clot 6 days later. A VA doctor in Dayton stopped my Coumadin on the first visit I had with him, because he didn't think I had any risk factors to need it. He wasn't my regular VA doctor. I knew that I should have insisted on staying on it and my cardiologist didn't think it was a good idea to go off it, but he decided to go along with the decision anyway. I learned to insist on what I think is right for me. Rieale, it took a couple of weeks before the pain and soreness went away. It it scary to think that you could die that quickly from a clot. I hope you are feeling better now. You can e-mail me if you have any questions. Phil. rockman28s@aol.com


Phil S, February 3, 2000 - Hi, I also have severe leg pain. Mine feels like it is inside the bone, not the muscles or anywhere that you can touch. I have had blood work, x-rays and a bone scan, and they still can't find the cause so maybe this just goes with CHF. Most of the time the pain is controlled with tramadol and gabapentin but it took a long time to find the right combination of pills that worked for me. Phil. rockman28s@aol.com


Cathy H's February 3 reply to Lori P's February 2, 2000 - Hi, I hadn't heard about the St. Jude mitral valve recall and am so thankful for the info and phone number. I had a J-wire recall for my pacemaker in 1992. I don't think I can deal with another recall and surgery. I'm going to call right away. catpau@yahoo.com


Jeanette, February 3, 2000 - Hi Jon and everyone, It has been a while since I posted but I wanted to let you know that I am doing ok. I have been reading the posts almost daily but have been very sick due to depression meds and weather conditions here in Syracuse. I am on a new anti-depression med called Effexor at 75mg at night. Has anyone here heard of or have taken it? I would like info on it if anyone can tell me the side effects they have had. I know everyone is different but it might help ease my mind. If this drug doesn't work it will mean I will have to consult with a psychiatrist to figure out what drugs will work. The Zoloft I was taking didn't work but I did lose 23lbs in a month. <g> Well, take care and remember I am praying that we all get healed soon. Love and hugs, Jeanette. jandtuf@aol.com


Sara's February 3 reply to Joy R's February 3, 2000 - Hi Joy, I was surprised when you said a nurse told your friend Frank that his heart was, "like a bowl of jello." This is a term my doctors told me about my heart some 30 years ago and I had never heard that term before till now. The doctor told me I would need complete bed rest for about a year due to myocarditis. I have had many problems since, including cardiac arrest, blood clots, severe arrhythmia, and body and soul separation, so tell Frank to hang in there. Most everyone posting on Jon's forum (thanks Jon ) have far more severe problems than I and are strong, wonderful people bonded together in love, hope and faith. here's wishing you all a good weekend. Sara. ssunny20853@aol.com


Rieale's February 3 reply to Susan's February 3, 2000 - Hi Susan, Yes I have heard of internal bleeding while on Coumadin. Actually, I am being closely monitored because of my pleurisy. I have to take an anti-inflammatory which can cause ulcers. It makes sense that Coumadin can make internal bleeding, even that of the small amount during an ulcer deadly. I don't think they can blame Coumadin. After all, there had to be an opportunity for the internal bleeding to start, like an ulcer or internal trauma, but since Coumadin thins your blood so much, it explains why you lost so much blood. I hope they found out where and why you were bleeding and I pray that you continue to improve. Rieale@aol.com


Gail, February 3, 2000 - Hello everyone, I check the board every day and have learned a great deal. I am not one to post but I felt the need to share this with you. For years I struggled with smoking; to be exact, 30 years and about 2 packs a day. I tried the patch, gum and just about anything someone suggested, to no avail. Then one day I was reading Jon's page on Smoking. I felt like I had finally found what I was looking for. I asked God to please hear my prayer and I told him I was powerless over nicotine; that the nicodemon ruled my life and I wanted it to stop.
     God heard my prayer because he knew it came from my heart and I am happy to say that yesterday I celebrated my 6 month anniversary of being smoke-free. It is a miracle. Now the next step is to lose the 18 pounds I gained but I know God will help me with that as well. For those of you who still smoke, I know how hard it can be but believe me, it can be done. I don't have to worry about stinking up a room anymore or worry that my breath will knock someone over. My clothes smell fresh, my car doesn't smell like a dirty ashtray and I feel like a new person. I continue to thank God every day for helping me fight the addiction to nicotine. He will also help you if you ask, and I will encourage anyone who needs a cheerleader. Just send me an e-mail and I promise to listen if you need to vent. All things are possible through Jesus Christ our Lord. God bless us all. Love, Gail. Gailie2253@aol.com


John ?'s February 3 reply to Phil S' February 3, 2000 - Hi Phil, I have severe leg pain and have found that a weekly massage relieves it almost completely. Unfortunately, to date, I have not been able to get my insurance company to cover it. However, you may have someone in your household to give you the massage. It may take some training, but it is well worth the effort, if you can get a willing volunteer. jbott4015@aol.com


Jana B's February 4 reply to Susan's February 3, 2000 - Hi, I read an article that people with CHF maintain a higher PT level, for longer, when on blood thinners. I had to find this out myself after that stroke, and them overdosing me on blood thinners. My PT levels kept rising even though I had stopped taking all blood thinners. I took the article to my doc and he, of course, ignored it and refused to even read it or consider it. He was satisfied that I was still taking the blood thinners, trying to kill myself; Which was so not true. I was going in for PT levels every day, even having to wait in ERs on weekends to get it done, then I had to sit through lectures telling me they knew I was still taking the drugs. Maybe the CHF is affecting your blood, causing it to thin to the point of bleeding, I don't know. I may be way off base in your case. Just my 2¢. JByers4u@aol.com


Pat L's February 4 reply to Sara's February 3, 2000 - Hi Sara, My doctor took me off Coreg awhile back in July of 1999 because my EF was up to 53 and my heart size was down to 5.6cm. He thought my heart was functioning fairly well. By October of 1999 I was getting very short of breath again and when he finally had an echo done, my EF was down to 25. I had the echo repeated February 1, 2000, and my EF was 20 and my heart size up to 6.2cm. Now he is talking transplant evaluation again! Just a little caution about stopping meds, especially if you get symptomatic again! Pat. patlat@yahoo.com


Sonja, February 4, 2000 - Hi Jon and everyone, I have never been part of an on-line forum so I'm not sure how to go about it, but I could sure use someone to talk to. My husband is great but he's scared too, especially after he read an article in a newspaper that talked about a 45 year old man dying of CHF by basically drowning. I have known about my CHF for about a year but because of a number of other factors in my health, I haven't felt any better over this past year. In fact, I had to resign from my job this past autumn, so now I am unemployed, which makes for some interesting financial concerns. I'm lucky to live in Canada but I'm still spending lots on prescriptions. I feel good about the cardiologist who is seeing me but it is so frustrating to think that there isn't much he can do for my condition. I'm looking forward to just being able to vent a little here. I was reading some of the other messages from people and I started to cry because I know what you are going through. Right now I pray a lot and try to take it one day at a time. Sonja. bdelamont@interhop.net


Roz' February 4 reply to Jeanette's February 3, 2000 - Dear Jeanette, I think almost all of your CHF friends will sympathize with your fight against depression as it does seem to be a part of the picture. I can't give you a personal anecdotal report on Effexor but I thought you and others might like to pick up a copy of The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs, third edition, published late 1999, in which it is listed. If you are not familiar with the PDR, you should be warned about the listing of side effects since all reports from users have to be listed and some ominous sounding ones may not have been related to the use of the drug at all. I found my paperback copy in the book section of a Rite Aid drug store but Amazon.com will be happy to send you a copy! Hang in there Jeanette, one day at a time. Hugs from Roz. RWarriston@aol.com


Shirley V's February 4 reply to Jeanette's February 3, 2000 - Hi Jeanette, I took Effexor at one time. Go to http://new.health-center.com/db/MessageReq?SessionID=5&TopicID=377&MessageID=15599&Action=view&ResponseID=18659#18659 and read about what people have said about trying to get off Effexor. It is well worth reading. My doctor started me out on 75mg and eventually increased it to 150mg. I was on Effexor about 1½ years. When I tried to get off the medicine, it made me physically ill. I had severe withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, severe headaches and nausea. When I started taking the drug, I started noticing confusion and memory loss I had never had before. In my opinion and what I have read about it, I consider it a possibly dangerous drug. Please read everything you can find on this drug and discuss your concerns with your doctor. I am not trying to scare you but I do want you to be careful and very informed where this drug is concerned. If you have trouble getting to this Website or finding info on the Net, please let me know and I will help you all I can. Right now I am taking Deseryl at night to help me sleep. It seems to be working for me. Shirley. shirleyv@cwis.net


Jon's February 4 reply to Jeanette's February 3, 2000 - Hi Jeanette, Sometimes people get a bit miffed at me when I keep saying go to this page or that page on my site for info but I'm not putting down other sources of info, believe me. I am just trying to make every reader aware of all the resources that are really very easy to use around here. The Links page is one such resource. Give the drug links there a try for drug info. Of course, you also want personal experiences and I hope lots of people respond since there is no substitute for personal experience!
     I tend to shy away from participating in discussion of depression simply because it's easy to be misunderstood. I'm not sure to what degree a person should rely on drugs to "cure" their depression. I think it is a very individual thing and sometimes meds will help and sometimes they won't. I believe though, that relying on worldly solutions to spiritual problems can be a mistake. Sometimes depression is a trouble of the spirit and at those times, meds may not be the answer. Jon.


Missy, February 5, 2000 - Hi Guys, Like several of you, I have aching legs and feet. My feet are the worst. I actually wake up with them burning. My sister bought a parafin wax bath for my mother who has really bad arthritis in her hands so I thought, why not try it? It does help my feet. I do it at night before I go to bed, especially on these cold nights it feels really good on my feet. So give it a try; one thing about it is that it can't hurt. Good luck to all and have a happy Valentine's day. miniarabs@1st.net


Frank S' February 5 reply to Jon's February 4, 2000 - Hi, I responded to a message earlier this week from Lydia but for whatever reason, it did not get published. There is a definite stigma attached to any mental health issue and people do tend to shy away from any issue which they are not well informed about, but particularly mental health issues, which include depression. Clinical depression can be devastatingly tragic. My wife suffered with it for 10 years until she could no longer stand the pain and killed herself. In 1981, when my wife died, there were no SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and I am confident that she would still be with the earthly crowd had they been available. Scientists believe that occurances in our bodies deplete certain neuro-transmitters. Obviously, if our mood is elevated, we are not depressed. There is nothing magic about SSRIs because they simply make serotonin more avilable n the brain stem for one's body to use, therefore people who are depressed have less. Anti-depressant meds can change peoples lives.
     People should not be misled about or be afraid of depression. It is very prevalent, especially with people who are seriously ill, under a lot of stress, and take a lot of powerful drugs. SSRIs are safe and effective for about 85% of people who try them. They can also take about 3-4 weeks to work and if one is not effective, don't give up because there are all sorts of formulas on the market. At the risk of sounding a little arrogant, I have a passion about mental health because it has deeply affected my family's life and I must add that I believe that I am a spiritual person, and we should deal with our spiritual life much differently than we deal with our health, mental or physical. God bless each one of us. Frank M. marquasmith@mailcity.com


Jon's February 5 reply to Frank S' February 5, 2000 - Hiya Frank, If your post didn't make it here, it's because I did not receive it. I do hold some posts but I haven't held any back of late. I have, however, had no end of trouble with my e-mail this week. Let me know when a post doesn't go up.
     I don't believe that all depression is physical in cause or cure. As I said in my previous post (really I did, you can go back and read it there ;-)) meds will help some people's depression and others will not be helped by drug therapy. I believe this is because some cases of depression are spiritual conflicts rather than physical. I have seen this in my own life. I do not separate states: physical, mental, emotional and physical. Opinion in the medical world is rapidly becoming that to do so is unwise and hurts patient outcome. If a person is unhealthy spiritually, why would a drug which does not affect the spirit help him? I think depression should be dealt with case by case with great care, never with an inflexible approach that insists on looking at only one aspect of that very complex creature called a person. Jon.


Ben B, February 5, 2000 - Hi, I have a question for anybody who is on SSD and has done some work. I am planning on trying out tutoring at the local junior college for a small amount of money - nowhere near the $700 a month limit, but just to have something to do, test my abilities and have a little extra. When do I notify the SSA? I have read all the pamphlets and I know this money should legally not affect my benefits at all but I'm afraid that if I just mention it to the SSA, it will throw some monkey wrench in and screw up my benefits. In other words I don't trust these guys. I know there are a couple of others out there working part-time on SSD and wondered if and when they told the SSA. bdbrinkman@juno.com


Ginger, February 5, 2000 - Hiya's, Joy R and I were chatting this morning and she brought it to my attention that we have new people here. Hi Newbies. <g> Anyhow, she and I thought you all might like to chat with us in the mornings with our coffee or sometime during the day on ICQ. You can e-mail me or Joy R and give us your numbers to add to our list. If you want to be added to the our ICQ page for others on here to find you just e-mail me and I will add you. Those who have e-mailed me your number in the last 3 or 4 months will have to forgive me for not getting you added or getting you on our lists to chat. If you e-mail me, I will make sure it happens. Also, my Web site address has changed. It is now http://www.heart-help.net/. Stay well ya'll. Cya's at chat. Hugs, Ginger. mystery@laker.net


David, February 5, 2000 - Hi, I have some questions on CHF. I've experienced only 2 episodes of shortness of breath, but I have tightness in my chest and my left lung pops when I take in air. I have one symptom I did not read about in your letters; a very hot face, like a sunburn. If this is a CHF symptom, I would like to know. Thank you, David. Dglad@cts.com
 
Jon's note: Hi David, do you take niacin supplements?


Tom S' February 5 reply to Jon's February 5, 2000 - Hi, Debates about religious beliefs have been ongoing since one man said his god was better than the other guy's god. Ultimately we got this multi-god thing out of our heads and keyed in on the one true God who really was nasty and vindictive in the Old Testament but seems to have mellowed out in the New Testament, with no more mass drownings, burnings, pestilence, or turning wives into pillars of salt. Now we have a kinder, gentler God who possibly mellowed out when he became a daddy. Anyway, my long protracted point is that there is a lot of room to debate if there is or if there ain't a true God, if UFOs are real and if Elvis is truly dead. Each man and woman, and indeed some children, have their own opinions on such matters and tend to hold them closer to the chest than others. Unfortunately religious zealotry sometimes has an effect of intimidating some folks to keep silent, rather than express an opinion lest they get shouted down by the zealots. In such an environment, I wonder how many great thoughts, ideas, and opinions we are missing out on because of such feelings of intimidation. The "how dare you not believe my god is the true god" in discussions sometimes seems to overshadow the realities of our physical bodies which also includes not only the ethereal but the physical limitations imposed by disease and environmental considerations. I would dare say there are plenty of dead Christian Scientists who could attest to that fact. We are, after all, a product of our enviroment and sometimes we as individuals have to take charge and change the environment to alter our current well being pyschologically, emotionally and physically. Some of us choose a religious hook to accomplish that task, others find a more independent method of coping, and succeed just as well as if they had the religious hook. Again, that is always subject to debate but I've known atheists that cope just as well as zealots. I think some folks have been trying to say that but just haven't been able to find the words to express their thoughts. biggerbhoy@hotmail.com


Jon's February 5 reply to Tom S' February 5, 2000 - Hiya Tom, I won't get into your non-Biblical theology here. I'll simply say it again one more way: If a depression does not respond to drug therapy, then rather than being so certain that another drug will do the trick, why not consider the obvious possibility that the depression is not due to a physical cause? A spiritual problem doesn't require theological discussion (and I did not offer one) but is for the person who suffers it to understand and treat in whatever way works for them, whether that solution is okay by others' standards or not - mine or yours. Do you really think that every single case of depression that ever existed is just a chemical imbalance? I simply offer another possibility for the existence of someone's depression so they have another angle to pursue should those drugs fail, as they so often do. Jon.


Cindy M's February 5 reply to Ben B's February 5, 2000 - Hi Ben, Regarding when to report your earnings to SSD, I would not to worry about it unless you exceed the $700 limit. You could call your SSD office and inquire about this by asking a general question, too. My situation differs slightly from yours in that I was already working (part-time at less than $700 per month) when I qualified for SSD. I qualified for the full benefits for which I was entitled. Good luck with the tutoring! Cindy M. cynthialeigh@home.com


Lori P's February 5 reply to Cathy H's February 3, 2000 - Hi Cathy, I'm glad you got the phone number and called. What did you find out? Good luck! pearsonj@swbell.net


Frank S' February 5 reply to Jon's February 5, 2000 - Hi Jon, I really appreciate the dialogue and the fact that you encourage it. I don't believe I am at odds with anyone as far as the holistic approach goes to treatment of our mortal bodies and immortal souls. Some day perhaps I will be able to articulate as well as the moderator of this forum. Until then it may take me 2 posts to accomplish what you can do in just one. Obviously, our spiritual wellbeing is important to the healing of our mortal bodies, but our immortal souls cannot be healed with the pharmacutical products offered by mere mortals. There is nothing that I am aware of in pill form that provides each of us with the courage we must have to survive another day. Conversely, the pills which help our depression will do absolutely nothing to improve our relationship with our Lord. What we can do however, is pray for those who do not yet have that courage, which most of the people who visit this Web site are blessed with. God bless all of us. Frank. marquasmith@mailcity.com


Jon's February 5 reply to Frank S' February 5, 2000 - Hiya Frank, This isn't a reply to what you said but it is in the same vein, so I listed it as a reply to your last post. I was greatly surprised to see that Tom S thought I was putting forth a theological discussion. I was very careful not to do so, by avoiding any mention of God or Jesus. I don't think a person has to accept Jesus as Christ and Savior to figure out that they have a spirit as well as a body, and that this spirit affects their every day life. The well-known and widely accepted fact that men have a conscience which cannot be explained away by childhood environment points to the existence of man's spirit.
     My view is that acceptance of spirit as a facet of our self begins the process of seeking truth, and that truth-seeking leads eventually to God but I did not say so until now in this thread. Once a person realizes that spirit is part of them as surely as body, they must consider that problems of health include a spiritual component.
     Seeking to understand that spiritual component of illness is only now seeping into western medicine, but it is gaining ground fast simply because it explains so much so well. I think in a few years we will see less dependence on drug-only therapy to alleviate depression in general, especially as long-term side effects of these drugs become more apparent. I am also sure I will disagree with the application of this principle by health care professionals. <lol>
     By the way, Tom S, I'll be happy to tackle that theology of yours. If you wanna, let me know. <g> Jon.


Frank S' February 5 reply to Ben B's February 5, 2000 - Hi Ben, If you work and keep any money "under the table," our wonderful government wants to know about it. However if you choose not to report any money and they could find out, then you could be in trouble. Just call the Social Security Administration (but choose to remain anonymous) and ask them to answer any concerns which you may have about working. Getting info from the horse's mouth is usually the best way to find out. Also, they have all sorts of publications covering your dilemma and much more. I hate talking to the bureaucrats as much as the next person, however this seems to be a rather simple and straight forward dilemma and the "truth usually sets one free." Also, unless you are in need of the few dollars, you could feel very good about yourself and simply volunteer. Good luck! Frank. marquasmith@mailcity.com


Jamie S' February 6 reply to Ben B's February 5, 2000 - Hi Ben, A long time ago I was on SSI and SSD. There was a trial work period which was 9 months and if I worked making X amount of money in a cumulative 9 month period, then I would be off the SSI/SSD. This was a mental disability case so it is most likely different for heart health, but my advice is, if you call the SS office, get the person's name and ask for a document be sent recording that you called and save everything they send you. You have to leave a paper trail because if years down the road, they have a problem with something, it is up to you to prove them wrong. Believe me, it happened to me. Two years after being off SSI/SSD, they wanted to get 2 years worth of payments back. I had to make my own case and after 13 months of a fate worse then New Jersey traffic, they finally said, "You're right, never mind." I still have all the paper work, plus the letter. So document, document, document. Good luck. Be well. Jamie. JamieDan@prodigy.net


Marty's February 6 reply to Ben B's February 5, 2000 - Hi Ben, I have been working part-time for over a year with SSD. I tried a trial work period but my CHF kept me from working enough to get off SSD. I sent my work records to SSD on forms they provide. They sent back a letter saying my trial period was over and I could not work enough. However, I then had to resubmit a medical form as well. I made sure I had a letter from my doctor attached to those forms informing the SSD in no-nonsense terms that I cannot physically work further on risk of decompensation and death. The doctor bluntly stated that if I try to work more, I'll die. I was told that you are to report all work to SSD, even work well under the monthly threshold. I feel once they have evaluated this level of work, then I've done my report forever since my CHF's been with me for 2½ years and it ain't going away. Marty. MartinBK@aol.com


Roz W, February 6, 2000 - Hi Gentlemen (Frank, Jon and Tom), To this observer, it seems as if none of you have clearly differentiated between mind and spirit. Depression is a complex and painful phenomenon and deserves discussion, don't you think? Do you all agree that there is a well-known mind-body effect? Some patients apparently are helped by the placebo effects of spiritual belief or certain cognitive therapies and others need chemical imbalances medicated. Some need combinations of these. Because our psychological health affects not only how much joy we can squeeze out of our days, but also affects significantly the actions of many of the meds we take, I hope we can discuss depression without confusing our terms. Affection to all, Roz. RWarriston@aol.com


Jon's February 6 reply to Roz W's February 6, 2000 - Hi Roz, Aside from the placebo remark as regards spiritual belief, isn't that what I've said? I've already stated, and I quote myself here, "I do not separate states: physical, mental, emotional and physical. Opinion in the medical 'world' is rapidly becoming that to do so is unwise and hurts patient outcome." Isn't "mental" the same as "mind," Roz? I've also said that some patients will respond to drugs and others will not, in just those words (see my previous posts). By discussing the subject, I have shown that I consider the topic worth discussing. So what part of your post is meant for me? What terms need defining and are we going to use dictionary definitions this time, Roz? <rofl> Jon.


Sandi, February 6, 2000 - Hi everyone, Does anyone out there have pain in their hands? I have been having leg pain for a long time but now I am having pain in my hands. They feel hot and they throb. This started about the same time as my unstable heart rate. I have to go back to Shands' on Tuesday and they are running some tests. I like to ask here first so I know if it is something someone else had and how they dealt with it. chefal@bellsouth.net


Joy R, February 6, 2000 - Hi Jon, My brother has CHF also and suffers from leg pain, especially at night. His doctor put him on quinine, which is a prescription but it helps his legs pains go away. Have you ever tried taking it and wouldn't it be wonderful if that could be a answer to your leg pain? Just a thought. Joy. wapalaremi@home.com
 
Jon's note: I'm collecting suggestions and you can bet I'm looking for anything that even might help! Thx, Joy :-)


Jean C's February 6 reply to Sandi's February 6, 2000 - Hi Sandi, Maybe your hands are something other than CHF. My hands did the same thing years before I knew I had heart problems. Heat helped, and letting them just rest in my lap. Now I have spells when the end two knuckles of my fingers go to sleep and hurt as though they are frostbitten. A cardiac nurse suggested that perhaps I was hyperventilating in an effort to breathe enough. The solution to that is to breathe out through pursed lips, as though you are whistling. It has something to do with carbon monoxide in your blood. I am not sure it works totally, but concentrating on breathing does take your mind off your hands. Be selective in your timing because I did raise some eyebrows when I was doing it at the grocery store checkout and was having difficulty writing a check. Good luck with your hands. ojean@oz.sunflower.org


Tom S, February 6, 2000 - Hi, I'm not so sure I was expressing a theology. Any time one wanders into a religious or philosophical landscape, it seems the ground becomes very slippery; All slopes and practically no stairs. As one who was studied in the theological and philosophical area on a quasi-professional basis that everything in that area is subject to wide and gross interpretation depending on the mind set of the interpreter. If you will forgive the analogy I perhaps have engineered my philosophical and technological outlook on life and death along the lines of KISS engineering. I try to Keep It Simple and that goes true for just about every other aspect of my life and the life of my family. Just as there are drug and alcohol addicts, and sex addicts I have found over the years that there are also religion addicts and they are no less consumed by their addiction than the chemically and sexually addicted persons. The irony is that each of those addictions has a great benefit if used in moderation. I have long held that this is your forum and you have the right to post anything you please on here. My concern was that in writing something even remotely suggesting a path lacking an element of a holistic Christian approach can somehow be wrong. My question was just how many folks do not post or share important personal information on this forum for fear of being criticized for their lack of faith in a Christian doctrine should they even suggest they do not believe in that particular dogma? I for one feel that you have always been extremely fair and a generous moderator and in no way was attempting to denigrate your personal beliefs. biggerbhoy@hotmail.com


Jon's February 6 reply to Tom S' February 6, 2000 - Hi Tom, This whole thread puzzles me. Since I am discussing things from the standpoint of having apparently said them without my own knowledge <g>, I believe precision to be the order of the day. I originally made a brief observation that I think there are components to some people's depression that are not physical. The other part of my statement was that I believe that component to be spiritual. Ya'll took that ball and ran all over the place with it, not me. <g> Look back at my original post:

     "I tend to shy away from participating in discussion of depression simply because it's easy to be misunderstood. I'm not sure to what degree a person should rely on drugs to 'cure' their depression. I think it is a very individual thing and sometimes meds will help and sometimes they won't. I believe though, that relying on worldly solutions to spiritual problems can be a mistake. Sometimes depression is a trouble of the spirit and at those times, meds may not be the answer."

    My comment on misundertanding has proven itself. <g> Jesus, God, theology? One cannot even infer that these are interests of mine from this post alone, since I am sure Hindus, Kali-worshippers, Moslems, Buddhists, and many others would say they are "spiritual." I did not say that all depression is spiritual, or that Jesus was the only answer to a spiritual problem if that is indeed the problem, or that there is no physical component to depression, or that drug therapy is either bad or inadequate in all cases, or anything of the sort. Come on, fellers! Read the lines, not between them.
     I didn't know what holistic really meant. Encyclopedia Britannica says it means:

    "...a doctrine of preventive and therapeutic medicine that emphasizes the necessity of looking at the whole person - his body, mind, emotions, and environment - rather than at an isolated function or organ and which promotes the use of a wide range of health practices and therapies....Although mainstream Western medical practices are not ignored, they are seen as only one part of the available therapies and by no means the only effective ones. Congresses and conferences on holistic health have thus drawn not only representatives of medical schools and institutions but also advocates of such widely varying concepts as acupuncture, alternative childbirth, astrology, biofeedback, chiropractic, faith healing, graphology, homeopathy, macrobiotics, megavitamin therapy, naturopathy, numerology, nutrition, osteopathy, psychocalisthenics, psychotherapy, self-massage, shiatsu (or acupressure), touch encounter, and yoga."

     So I'm not sure what a "holistic Christian approach" is, since holistic includes just about everything under the sun. You said, and I quote, "My concern was that in writing something even remotely suggesting a path lacking an element of a holistic Christian approach can somehow be wrong." In fact, I specifically said that I think some cases may be spiritual in cause, and I clearly stated that drug therapy is effective for some people, although not all.
     Everything on this forum is philosophical. It has to be, if it is to be of any use. Webster says philosophy's prime definition is, "love of, or the search for, wisdom or knowledge." Isn't that why we come here, to gain knowledge and maybe even some wisdom so we can cope with our chronic illness a bit better? So if discussing philosophy leads us down some kind of slope, we're all sliding down it every time we step onto this page. A slope has to end somewhere. Where are we headed with philosophy, Tom?
     As to religious addiction, if I am thus addicted, I am also addicted to life, love, joy, humor, family, service to others, big dogs, daughters who call their father daddy and philosophy! <lol> Again, to avoid being misunderstanding, I turned to Merriam-Webster. I learned that addiction is:

"compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful"

     My religious practices do not fit the description as far as I can tell. They are not socially harmful, nor have I developed tolerance to religion, meaning that I don't need a bigger dose each time to get benefit. I like small doses. Otherwise, I wouldn't have time for this discussion. My body doesn't seem to have suffered from religion and as to my mind, my wife tells me I have always been defective there! The definition precludes the possibility that any addiction can be used "in moderation." If used in moderation, it is not an addiction! Since I don't seem to be addicted to my religion, I don't understand your use of the term but please don't explain. I'm wasting way too much time on this discussion as it is, since we aren't even discussing depression - the original topic!
     There are lurkers and there are talkers. That's just how it is. Lots of people feel too vulnerable to open themselves to criticism or even discussion for many reasons. That's cool. Whoever will talk about these things "out here" will do so and whoever will not, will not. I don't want anyone to feel that what they say has stopped someone else from posting. You are not responsible for others' willingness or unwillingness to post here; neither am I. To suggest otherwise is to shift responsibility for others' unwillingness to post to everyone but them. Nope, I don't buy it. There's certainly nothing wrong in reading the posts every day and not replying, for whatever reasons. Participation is optional.
     Since I've wasted so much time on just trying to make a simple statement of opinion, I may as well dive in head first and insist - insist! - that someone in this discussion answer my question! Is ALL depression purely physical (in your opinion)? Yes or no? Jon.


Jana B, February 6, 2000 - Hi guys (Tom, Jon), According to my Bible, God gave us a will to accept what He is saying or reject it. I accept it as fact. Others may not. That's your life and your perogative. When a person accepts God as the truth, he also accepts that there is spiritual warfare. God has been the most important part of my healing process. It's not a placebo effect, it is real to me. Just as I can't see air but I know it is there. I haven't researched air, I only know that air is there because someone told me it is and I believe it. If a person chooses to believe in God and believe He is the almighty Physician, then who am I or anyone else to say it is not so? If a person believes there is no God, because of my belief in Him, I would try to convince you that He is real; Once. After that, you have been told. You have made an educated decision to reject Him.
     I believe God made drugs available to us. As we all know, some work, some don't. Everyone needs to make up their own mind about what they will try next. I think what Jon is saying is, "Don't exclude the obvious (spiritual)" to those of us who believe there are other options to consider and for those who would like to consider spiritual options and never have before. I have seen drugs work wonders on depression and I have also seen God work wonders on depression. I don't think all depression is a chemical imbalance. I know it wasn't chemical in my case. I am not like Jon, so don't e-mail me if you don't agree with what I said! <g> It is merely my opinion and I am allowed to have it, as you are allowed to have yours. Jana. JByers4u@aol.com
 
Jon's note: Hey Jana - ;-)


Frank S, February 6, 2000 - Hello again to all of the "shrinks" at Jon's Place! Everyone that I have ever met has that depressed (the blues!) feeling for days or weeks from time to time. However, clinical depression is devestating to our mind, soul, and body and only in unusual(miracle) instances is helped by something other than medication. Everyone at Jon's has an opinion on this or that, and everyone can be an expert from their point of view, and Jon knows how valuable this dialogue is. Jon has been thoughtful enough to allow this dialogue and also has given a lot of pertinent data to help each of us become well informed.
     Actually, Roz's message, in my opinion, was all about the holistic approach to caring for those who's bodies, souls and minds are diseased. Our creator/the spiritual (if we believe in a supreme being), our healthcare provider/the physical, and ourself must each participate in the healing process. Those who have asked about depression must decide if they have clinical depression and the final decision must rest with them, and not anyone else. Some of the symptoms are: inability to sleep, get out of bed, eat, or tendency to eat too much, are always angry, suicidal thoughts, feeling of impending doom, and significant weight gain or loss. Most doctors who are well informed about depression will tell you that 50% of the people who are depressed refuse to take anti-depressants, the fear being that they do not want to ingest any mind-altering drugs into their bodies. We can only attibute that thinking to ignorance and the person's unwillingness to educate himself.
     I must repeat that I am not an expert, but am well informed because my wife killed herself not do to lack of moral courage but due to a lack of the chemical serotonin in her brain stem. I also struggled with clinical depression for years, and hated everyone and myself until a very caring internist suggested I try an SSRI. The one formula that worked for me took 4 weeks to kick in and my life dramatically changed. The ability to cope, think clearly, appreciate my spirituality and my life could be considered by some as a gift from God. It is impossible for some who are clinically depressed to get off their duffs and try to help themselves. I have great empathy for those people who are not spiritually weak or lazy; they are simply terribly sick. I have been there and if my passion bores some, I apologize. marquasmith@mailcity.com


Jon's February 6 reply to Frank S' February 6, 2000 - Hiya Frank, I think you go too far but I'm glad you brought the focus of this thread back to the original topic of depression, which is a very important one for CHFers. I am glad we agree that each person must make their own decisions, and that body, mind and spirit all go together. However, in some cases, what you call ignorance could be a thoughtful decision that you don't happen to agree with. Certainly many people don't educate themselves, but many do. This web site proves that. You make some really good points, but please don't get so enthusiastic that you paint with too broad a brush. Jon.


Karen K's February 6 reply to Ben B's February 5, 2000 - Hi Ben, I hope I can clarify your question about working while on SSDI as I am currently in that position. I believe it is quite important that you be above board with the folks at SSA. You will need to send information regarding your earnings to them in the form of check stubs. I worked several months before I notified SSA and I had to provide this information. They then provided me with a publication, Working While Disabled - How Can We Help. I am going to take information directly from the publication:

     "If you return to work for 9 months (not necessarily consecutive) your earnings will not affect your SSDI benefit. If the 9 months of trial work period do not fall within a 60-month period, you may have even longer to test your ability to work. For at least 36 months after a successful trial work period after a successful trial work period, you may receive a benefit for any month your earnings fall below the "substantial gainful activity level" ($700 per month).
     If your benefits stop because your earnings are at the sga level but you are still disabled, Medicare can continue for at least 39 months after the trial work period ends. After that, you can buy Medicare coverage by paying a monthly premium."

     I'll end here. If you have further questions, feel free to write. Karen. karenk@muscanet.com


Shirley V's February 6 reply to Jon's February 6, 2000 - Hi Jon, I just had to jump in with my 2¢ worth, which probably doesn't mean much. I tend to think like you do on depression. I think you stated your opinion in a simple and very understandable manner. I am very aware that depression can be physical and we need medicine to help us through depression, but I also think we can use the spiritual part along with the medicine. I also feel there are times that we can use the spiritual without the medicine to help us through difficult times. shirleyv@cwis.net


Bill D's February 6 reply to Tom S' February 6, 2000 - SEX addicts? Where do I find them? You brought it up, not me! <g> As this forum's card carrying atheist, I hold that there are 2 kinds of depression: Rational depression and irrational depression. If you can't do the job you love, your wife leaves you and your dog dies, it's rational to be depressed. You need to find something else you like to do, such as buy another dog and talk somebody nicer into marrying you. On the other hand, if you just got promoted, your dog has puppies, and your wife never finds out about your mistress, it's irrational to be depressed. Irrational or clinical depression requires stuff like Paxil or Zoloft. That should make you as happy as you should be. Bill D. billdog@gate.net


Jill S, February 6, 2000 - Hi all (depression thread), Depression can be reactive or it can be endogenous. Reactive depression is a form that is in reaction to something you have suffered, such as illness or death of a loved one. Many times counseling will help, spiritual or otherwise. Some people have chemical imbalances which cause them to be depressed, as in manic-depression or bipolar depression. If you have ever experienced first-hand or second-hand this type of depression, you will know that drug intervention is the primary treatment. This type of depression will respond to drug therapy. Also some medications are known to cause depression. Prayer and meditation never hurt anyone but if you have a chemical imbalance, you need drug therapy. Jilschrod@jps.net


Sandi M's February 6 reply to Jon's February 6, 2000 - Hi Jon, I am definitely not an expert on the subject of depression but it is such a misunderstood illness that even the experts are not always right. I have to agree with you, Jon. Not all depression is physical. I know that when you are being seen for depression, one of the first things they ask is, "What do you think you are depressed about?" If you are fortunate enough to be able to determine what the cause, you may be able to learn how to correct or cope with it. If the problem lies within your mind and soul, medication may only mask your true feelings. If the problem lies with your body not producing enough of a hormone or such, then medication may help.
     I took what you said as, "Not all depression is physical." Isn't that true of any illness? Even with CHF. When I refused to believe that my life would have to change and put on an act of being fine and trying to do my "normal" daily things, I almost killed myself. It was not that my CHF got any worse, it was that my pig headedness had gone fullblown. If your depression problem is because you are afraid of dying and not making things right with God, family, yourself or whatever, no amount of medication will help. If your problem is because of something lacking in your body, then of course medication could help. I feel that depression could very well be treated with medication and spiritual healing combined. Like I said, I am not an expert, only someone who has been there and needed more than just what my doctor could give me.
     Jon, I agree that that some people ran away with what you said. I read your posts over and over, and I did not in any way feel you were saying that only spiritual help was what was needed. Also, thanks Jean, for the info on hand pain. I will try anything. The pain seems to come more often when I am trying to sleep; Just another thing to keep me up at night. Love to all and I could use some prayers before I go to Shands on Tuesday! Pray for good news. Sandi. chefal@bellsouth.net


Frank S' February 7 reply to Jon's February 6, 2000 - Hi Jon, My answer is yes, if we are talking about depression as a chemical imbalance in the brain. I believe that you will agree that any chemical imbalance has to be a physical problem, and physical problems can and do cause clinical depression. God help us all, as I would love to move back to affairs of the heart, and not the brain, but I am really on your side in all of this dialogue; however related problems to mental health are simply a passion with me, because they are so often misunderstood. Frank. marquasmith@mailcity.com


Jon's February 7 reply to Frank S' February 7, 2000 - Hi Frank, You are saying that depression is always physical if we define depression as always being physical. Your redefining of depression now negates all that has gone before. I give up.
     I personally apologize for this whole thread to every reader. It was a case of poor judgment on my part alone. I intended to start a discussion about depression. Instead, I just wasted hours trying to rephrase a simple statement. My apologies to all, especially Jeanette, who came here for help and got verbal gymnastics instead. If I can help you with anything, Jeanette, please e-mail me at misterbooboo@prodigy.net.
     FWIW folks, I have been through depression before I was saved, severe enough to cause me to lose my time sense, and I recovered without drugs. I'm now saved and I'm also now happy, Jon.


Linda's February 7 reply to Jon's February 6, 2000 - Hi, I have suffered off and on with clinical depression for 10 years. During that time, I absolutely hated the place that I worked. During that 10 years, I had to take 3 medical leaves of absence for depression. I would recover, go back to work, and get depressed again. The only place I really felt miserable was my place of employment. Then my heart failed, caused by an antidepressant drug. I got the message. I believe that staying in an unhealthy environment for so long changed my brain chemistry. When I didn't respond to continually getting sick by quitting, my heart failed, maybe because I had failed to listen to my heart? I quit that job and am now doing part-time work that I love. I feel so much happier! I think sometimes we can make ourselves sick by not listening to our bodies. Once we get sick, we may need medication to recover but we have to find the reason we got sick in the first place. Otherwise it just comes back. We have to stay in touch with our spirit, that which makes each of us who we are. lmessia@home.com


Robin R, February 7, 2000 - Hi, I am a long term SLE patient who was diagnosed with asthma four years ago. I never thought it quite fit but I like my pulmonologist and tried to follow his instructions. I have been suffering from edema in my legs and feet off and on for those same 4 years. In the past 6 months it has gotten more frequent and my shortness of breath has increased. The shortness of breath has always been worst with exertion. I was seen in the ER about 3 weeks ago for the last of a lower respiratory infection. They administered oxygen and followed that with an albuterol/atrovent treatment. My saturation rate was 81 on admission, increased to 91 with oxygen and remained there after breathing treatment. I was told to see my PCP the following week, which I did.
     He gave me samples of Demadex and told me to make another appointment. I saw him in his office last Wednesday and he told me to return the following day prepared to be hospitalized. I was admitted and put on IV Lasix. I lost 26 pounds in 36 hours, but he kept me another day because of color changes from the waist down that he thought was cellucitis. During the time I was there, an EKG, lung x-ray, and echocardiagram were done. He did not discuss the results of my tests before releasing me, except to say that it was probably something I would have learn to live with. The technician who did the echocardiagram however, had already asked me if anyone had told me I was in Congestive Heart Failure.
     The doctor sent me home with oxygen equipment, oral Lasix, and antibiotics, with continuing meds for the Lupus. I'm lost. What do I do now? I am used to living with a possibly terminal condition but I feel like I've been written off. Any advice or comment would be greatly appreciated. Grizzelda@webtv.net


Jon's February 7 reply to Robin R's February 7, 2000 - H Robin, Welcome to Jon's Place. You need another doctor immediately. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Your doc did not tell you about the need for potassium supplements when on diuretics, of which Demadex is a powerful one
  2. Your doc did not explain to you what your condition is, much less what you should be on the alert for in the way of symptoms
  3. Your doc did not warn you of drug side effects and when to call him should they appear
  4. Your doc did not discuss lifestyle changes that would improve your quality of life, such as a low-sodium diet, regular structured exercise, fluid intake restrictions, supplementation, or stress reduction
  5. You doc did not present you with any options among which to choose. There are almost always different ways to treat a health problem or degrees of treatment, and you are the one who should make those decisions, not him

     Please get a second opinion at the very least. See this page for my take on doctors. Jon.


Gus R's February 7 reply to Jon's February 6, 2000 - Hi Jon and all, In my humble opinion, all depression is not purely physical. I'll take this one step further and say that in my humble opinion, all of anything is almost never purely anything, and I'm very tempted to delete the word almost. In this whole thread, Jana had an excellent point. "It is merely my opinion and I am allowed to have it, as you are allowed to have yours." I agree with this and often find that I do more thinking about and learning from, opinions I do not agree with.
     Finally, in response to Pat DeLeon's January 15, 2000, question about last names: This thread is a good example of why we seldom use full names. Many of us like to express our opinions on issues but few of us have the strength or desire to extinguish the fires from burning crosses in our front yards, nor from burning sacks of doggy-doo on our front porches. Best wishes to all, Gus R. gus13@net66.com
 
Jon's note: Hey Gus, Does this mean I need to build myself a front porch? <lol>


Cindy M's February 7 reply to Jon's February 6, 2000 - Dear Jon, I will attempt to explain depression as I understand it. First of all, there are commonly (among counseling professionals) 2 broad categories that depression is divided into when diagnosing a patient. One is situational depression. For example, a person experiences some type of loss (loved one, job, etc). This loss is deep enough that the individual can be considered clinically depressed. When treating this individual, the usual belief of the counselor is that the depression will ease over time. There may be many methods of helping the person to ease his depression. The second type of depression is considered to be caused physiologically, perhaps due to a chemical imbalance. This type of depression would probably be treated on a long-term basis (maybe lifetime).
     My personal situation was this: When I first found out I had DCM/CHF, I got depressed. I believe this was a perfectly normal reaction to finding out I have a life-threating illness. I sought help in coping with this. I got less depresssed over time. Today, I would consider myself not depressed, though I take some anti-depressant medication to help with my sleep problems. I know that sleep problems are a sign of depression but we CHFers know that it can also be a symptom of our condition. So Jon, to answer your question, no, depression is not purely physical. I agree with you entirely that one needs to consider the spirit and the mind/body connection. Best to all. Cindy M. cynthialeigh@home.com
 
Jon's note: Since high school, I've always winced when a letter begins "Dear Jon" <lol>


Candy P, February 7, 2000 - Hi, There is quite a discussion about spiritual vs physical going on for a person's wellbeing going on in your forum at present. I learned in a college course that there are 7 needs a person must reach to be secure and survive: The most basic are food and shelter. When the most basic are met, a person needs to fullfill other needs. Spirituality is one of a person's needs. This is a simplified way of putting it but a person's spirit can lead to a person's wellbeing as well as physical components. Depression is an illness of a person's whole being. I have suffered from it for a few years and a holistic way is the best way to treat it. Prayer doesn't hurt either. I just had to add my thoughts. GrPota@aol.com


Joy R, February 7, 2000 - Hi, Here's my opinion for what it's worth: situational depression bought on by events that get you down, such as death, money or losing a job, are things that having a spiritual outlook can help, but we also have to help ourself on this kind of depression by getting out of bed, taking a walk, trying to do uplifting things to make ourself better. Clinical depression, I think, needs medication to raise the serotonin levels in our bodies. I had a dear friend friend lose her son to suicide when he didn't take his medication. I take a half-dose of Paxil every day. I am sick but am not depressed in any way. I only take it to keep up my serotonin levels because it is very easy to be depressed when you have a chronic illness. So much for my thoughts. By the way, I am a very religious person and feel that this is what keeps me going through all my suffering. I say whatever works for the individual. Joy. wapalaremi@home.com


Jon, February 7, 2000 - Hi everyone, Here's where my reading leads me - straight into confusion. Clinical or major depression refers only to a certain type of mood disorder that is physically caused; it does not refer to a depression that is major in effect.
     The present attitude of doctors (I take this from major medical textbooks like the Merck Manual) is that all illnesses including depression are physical, period. Many practising doctors disagree with this (I take that from recent medical studies and the famous placebo effect!) but this is how medical schools still teach. This all seems very strange to me, since they also admit to some depression not being clinical (and therefore not physical). I admit to being confused. Does anyone know how this is explained?
     Environment is considered to be a factor in depression. I admit I don't know what that means. The most interesting thing I have read is this, "Regardless of its cause, the presence of depressive or manic-depressive illness indicates an imbalance in the brain chemicals called neurotransmitters." (from the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association) It seems that a non-physical cause can cause a physical illness that is then to be treated in a physical way. However, the same sites also state that all depression is physical. I am very confused.
     Jill S already explained the 2 basic types of depression and others have elaborated on that, although there are a large numbers of sub-types of depression. Linda makes a good point that is accepted in medical circles although again, it seems contradictory; That is, a non-clinical (non-physical) depression can become clinical if not interrupted somehow, maybe by activities such as Joy suggests. Hmmmm. Looks like we're getting some good input. I'm learning some stuff, anyway, but would welcome more.
     I honestly cannot draw on my own depressive episode simply because I was so mentally fogged throughout it that I don't remember much of it. So it goes. By the way, I'm not confused about how I view depression. <lol> I'm confused about how health care professionals view depression! Jon.


Phyllis A, February 7, 2000 - Hello Jon and Friends, I went to get the carotid study done and it was fine, showing no plaque. My doc wanted it done after the mini-stroke(TIA). I also go for an echo on Wednesday. We are hoping the TIA did not do any more damage to my already damaged heart. Jesus will get me through all of this. God bless us all. phylcasurv@msn.com


Robin R's February 7 reply to Jon's February 7, 2000 - Hi Jon, Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I had gone through your site and might I add it's remakable for a medical site. I found lots of good information and of course dietary restrictions were listed there. I have to admit that my discharge paper says low-salt on it. The nurse wrote it out for me while I was in the hospital on my second day on IV Lasix. I started having cramps in just about every mucsle in my body. The doctor started me on K-dur but the nurse informed me it was potassium. I get pushy about meds I don't recognise because I'm on so many. As soon as I finished reading your site, I called and made an appointment with my pulmonologist. I am more comfortable with him and I think I might be able to get some answers. Again, thank you. Grizzelda@webtv.net


Sandy, February 7, 2000 - Hi, I would like to get more info on PPCM (peri-partum cardiomyopathy). I was diagnosed in March of 1999. I know some of what to expect. My doctor is wonderful. I am just so confused and would like to find out as much as I can. So, if you have any info, please let me know. sloandslo@aol.com


LeeAnn D, February 8, 2000 - Hi, I just spent an hour reading all the backposts since the last time I posted (ironically, a list of things to do when you're depressed!). I liked following that specific thread and found it very informative and interesting. Anyway, I thought I'd mention that Folic acid is an essential B vitamin for proper nerve function. A Harvard study showed 38% of depressed women are deficient in it. There's also a University of Chicago study that showed that even one night of inadequate sleep is enough to elevate the stress hormone cortisol. Calcium has been proven to help cyclical depression in women (primarily premenstrual). There are also natural remedies including same, St. John's wort and kava, but in a report I read, you can't trust the manufacturers. In 8 out of 8 brands tested, the dose was different than the label and one product had no detectable dose of the active ingredient! I personally think that in some cases, having a varied diet high in B vitamins and calcium, and getting enough sleep can help a great deal and of course the converse is also true. A poor diet and lack of sleep can actually make your body less able to cope. Just one more point of view and for the record, I firmly believe in people being helped with prescription medication for a chemical imbalance and I also firmly believe that God is more powerful than the prescriptions, the diet and the problem. ddavis1057@aol.com


Roz W's February 8 reply to Robin R's February 7, 2000 - Hello again Jon and everyone, First I would like to strongly second Jon's reply to Robin and to wish her much better luck with her health providers in the future. It makes me angry that in this day and age, a patient could be treated as she was. I would also like to thank the first questioner about depression. I am reminded of a wonderful New Yorker cartoon of a mother hen, wings akimbo, looking down at her new chick and the broken, empty shell, saying, "Now look what you've done." Let's hatch a few more. Roz. RWarriston@aol.com


Diane, February 8, 2000 - Hi Guys, I am a card-carrying bipolar, condition which started 15 years before my first MI. I have a family history of depression, although they weren't so sophisticated back then. Medication let me see light at the end of the tunnel while I worked out issues that caused me stress. Situations can depress me, like CHF. Who would not be depressed? I hope that a resolution one can live with occurs through whatever your hope source may be. I am supposed to be dead, according to science. God kept me here for a reason. I don't know why yet but I will know if I am supposed to know (drive Jon crazy?). He has provided me with what is necessary to keep on, bipolar medicine, ect... Without it, I am not sure I could carry out my task. fjpage@n-jcenter.com
 
Jon's note: Take a number <lol>


Frank S' February 8 reply to Bill D's February 6, 2000 - Hello to everyone, depressed or not! William-dog's post is full of levity and humor. He really understands how severe depression vs the blues should be treated. Since he would prefer not to address the esoteric (to him at least) subject of spirituality, that should be ok with the rest of the crew. Keep 'em coming, Wild Bill! Frank. marquasmith@mailcity.com


Candy P's February 8 reply to Jon's February 7, 2000 - Hi Jon, You are confused because most health care providers are probably confused about depression. Anyway, I understood some depression to be caused by some type of environmental stressor such as illness or the loss of a job. Then, if the person cannot successfully resolve these things, after time a chemical change takes place and depression then becomes both physical and mental. I never heard of a person who had everything going for them commit suicide. So even after the environmental stressor has been resolved, a chemical imbalance still prevails a lot of times. GrPota@aol.com


Jon's February 8 reply to Candy P's February 8, 2000 - Hi Candy, I think that's as good an explanation as I've seen yet. Thanks. :-) LeeAnn makes a good point about nutrition. Americans suffer from a lot of depression and Americans have awful diets. I wouldn't doubt that in quite a few cases, there's some connection there. Jon.


Dave K, February 9, 2000 - Hi Jon, Have you considered reversing the order of posts so the new ones are at the top of the list? Thanks, Dave. dkreifeldt@suscom.net


Jon's February 9 reply to Dave K's February 9, 2000 - Hi Dave, That's a very good idea that I have considered. However, for technical reasons, it would make extra work for me and I'm basically lazy. <g> The posts may be late another day or two, guys, since I have fallen rather behind here at home - not due to this forum but due to my work on the transplant section. Jon.


Joe S, February 9, 2000 - Hi, I've been gone for a week. It is my humble opinion on this spiritual depression thing that there is only one true spirit and that is the Holy Spirit. Relying on or turning to any other spirit can encourage mental illnesses or depression. A good friend of mine became mentally ill because of involvement with pornography on the Web. By doing this he opened a door to the wrong spirit and because of this, he spent time in jail and as a street person, and no one could help him. Three months ago he came back to the God and has been nearly well ever since. I belive we are in a constant spiritual warfare and the only true help we have is the Holy Spirit of God. To turn to any other will open us up to scores of mental and physical problems. Joe S. jes@stevensonlighting.com


Lydia Moore's February 9 reply to Joy R's February 7, 2000 - Hi Joy, Your statement on depression is the most simple and sensible statement yet. My concern from the gate has been that anyone with severe depression take proper measures to prevent a fatal outcome such as suicide. It has happened too often. I appreciate all the input as we do have tendencies toward depression ourselves. In short, there are many great solutions for non-clinical depression (good nutrition, activities, supplements and most importantly, God) and there are also excellent solutions for clinical depression. My prayer is that we can all feel joy in our hearts. Thank you Jon, for taking out the time you have on what has become a very lengthy topic. Lydia. Flanders66288@cs.com


Kathryn's February 9 reply to LeeAnn D's February 8, 2000 - Hi, The posts have been very informative about depression and a natural approach is usually fine; a good naturopath can help out, but I wanted to caution everyone who takes digoxin to watch out for also taking St. John's Wort. I heard something on a news show the other day (wish I had a better memory, please pass the Ginko biloba <lol>) but anyway, they stated that St. John's Wort could cause some problems with digoxin. I don't know if anyone else heard this, but please be careful. I agree with a cautious approach but when you need help, you need help, so please everyone don't hesitate to ask your doctors for meds and a referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist. Thanks. Kathryncole@hotmail.com


Mike B, February 10, 2000 - Hi everyone, I was recently diagosed with a "weak heart." My EF is at 45 now. I'm taking Coreg and monopril for hypertension, which I've had for 20 years. Can anyone tell me if there are times that you feel good and then 2-3 days in a row you're feeling lousy? My face feels hot sometimes and then later it is okay. When I work out on the treadmill or rowing machine (and I tried the stair master), I lose energy. If I work out too long (sometimes with light weights), I'm tired for 2 days. I'm seeing a doctor at Presbyterian in New York City in the heart failure unit. Thanks for listening. mb35@bellatlantic.net


Gwen, February 10, 2000 - Hi, I have read all the posts regarding depression and all had good advice but sometimes when you are by yourself, it just seems ok to have a pity party. We CHFers have so many things to be concerned about, or at least it seems that way to me. In addition to CHF, I am a diabetic. All day every day I must watch my blood count, take my insulin at the right time, be concerned about periodic chest pain, leg pain, too much liquid, too much salt, too much exercise, too little exercise, am I retaining water or eating too much, why is my BP going up, am I taking my medications correctly, did I take all of my medications, gout in my fingers, is it time for those needed but pesky blood tests, read the posts at The Beat Goes On so I can keep my nice doc up-to-date on new treatments, and so The Beat does indeed go on! It is 2:00 AM and I am not as depressed as I was when I started this post. Thanks to all of you for allowing me to vent my feelings. Only ya'll understand me. I thank God for Jon and all of you. You make me feel that I am not in this boat alone. JOIE6800@aol.com


Brian G, February 10, 2000 - Hi, I'm trying to post instead of lurking. I saw Gwen's post, with the mention of exercise. This is really a concern with me. How do you judge what is too much or if you're not doing enough. The cardiologist I see said not to lift over 40 lbs but it hardly seems like exercise with this amount. Sometimes, I just feel lousy afterward. I'm sort of rambling but it gets frustrating. Exercise was always an important part of my life, especially for weight control. Any advice or comments? This seems light compared to some postings lately but they have been a bit depressing and I don't need that. BPGruber@yahoo.com


Jon's February 10 reply to Brian G's February 10, 2000 - Hiya Brian, Exercise is one of those very individual things. In large part, it depends on how long you have had CHF and to what degree. I was almost symptom free when diagnosed and after starting meds, when my EF was 13%. Now, I have had CHF more than 5 years and my EF is 40% but I get short of breath saying too long a sentence. Exercise ability depends on a lot of things.
     I still do resistance training myself but in a strange circuit style. My cardiologist says I can only use dumbbells, never a bar. That's to dissuade me from trying heavy free weights, which has always been my preferred form of exercise. I suggest that you try circuit training. That way, you get to use the free weights or machines you like and you won't need heavy weights to get good results. Believe me, you'll feel like you've exercised - circuit training in any form is an outstanding way to maintain both strength and endurance. Modify the regular circuits until you find what works for you.
     One really big warning! There is a little factor called the fatigue hangover in us CHFers. You may feel great after exercising. You may feel great the next day. You might even feel good the second day after, but that third day is gonna catch up with you. That's why you need to be patient finding a good exercise program and schedule. Don't do even more tomorrow just because you did so well today! That can be a very bad idea. Start slowly, and force yourself to increase even more slowly. You need to be on a program 2 weeks to begin to gauge its true effect. Jon.


Frank S' February 10 reply to Gwen's February 10, 2000 - Good morning Gwen, Your articulate manner of telling us about things as they are with you, and with most of us, is the reason we come here. Frank. marquasmith@mailcity.com


Rick M's February 10 reply to Gwen's February 10, 2000 - Hi Gwen, I have your combination of CHF and diabetes too. They seem to go together, as many others here can attest. As you stated so well, if you're not counting sodium, you're counting carbs, etc,... With all the things of our past lives that we now can no longer have, I have developed an expression which gives me (as a Roman Catholic) some comfort. I describe it as, "Living in a perpetual state of Lent." It doesn't change anything but it does give life a certain degree of sanctity. <g> rearadml@iu.net


Kay, February 10, 2000 - Hi, Jon, your views on depression seem to echo documented research. It seems the now generation feels there is a quick chemical fix for everything but I think that is wrong. It is proven to be normal to have ups and downs in life. When the downs go too far and stay too long, talk with your God or think of someone who is in worse shape and do them a good turn. You'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel when you stop thinking of self and help others. It worked for me. Kay. amigos@aol.com


Jon, February 10, 2000 - Hi, I sort of trimmed a few posts that stated they think the depression thread is really depressing. I don't think it has to be that way. Here's a switch on an old topic: Did you know that depression can be defined as an extreme change in mood for no foreseeable reason? Let's see, so if I'm really a negative and unhappy person, and I get really happy for no reason, am I severely depressed? <g> Jon.

Karen K, February 11, 2000 - Hi All, I have a question regarding magnesium levels. I was on Lasix for about 8 years and had no problems with either potassium or magnesium. My doctor now has me on 50mg of spironalactone and 20mg of Lasix. While I was in the hospital, my blood showed me to be low on magnesium so he prescribed 128mg of Slo-Mag a day. I saw him earlier this week and he did blood work again. I mentioned to him how when I had taken the Lasix I hadn't been low and how quickly the Lasix worked vs the way the spironalactone works (much more slowly although I haven't been retaining fluids, just not such an urgent need to urinate. I also told him I do drink a pot of coffee a day and he said perhaps the magnesium was low as a result of the coffee, but I've consumed a pot of coffee every day for years and never had low magnesium. The blood work done earlier this week shows me to still be low in magnesium so I am to take 3 Slo-Mag a day and have my blood checked again in 2-3 weeks. Any thoughts? Karen K. karenk@muscanet.com


Ben B's February 11 reply to Jon's February 10, 2000 - Hi, Jon's post about exercise is very good advice and I know he never implies that everybody with CHF is the same. I just wanted to throw in a little comment about what most of us know, but maybe some new readers aren't aware of and that is that CHF is baffling because it can be so different for everyone. I've been diagnosed 3 years and have never experienced this fatigue hangover thing, or the short term memory loss. I am more tired than I used to be but I kept expecting a fatigue hangover and it never happened. I also expected a rapid decline after a year, then after two, but it just didn't happen. I've felt the same the whole time. I mentioned something like this once before and got some e-mails telling me I was in denial. I know what denial is and this ain't it. I know I'm sick with a serious disease. I know in the future all this can and probably will change, but I don't want anyone talking themselves into symptoms they don't have, like I did for awhile. I'm sure the symptoms we have are bad enough. bdbrinkman@juno.com


Jon's February 11 reply to Ben B's February 11, 2000 - Hiya Ben, Usually I have trouble convincing people they may react differently than others do! <g> CHFers really do display an incredibly wide range of reactions and symptoms. Everybody's different. The real value of the Internet and this forum is the wide range of readers, so you have a better chance of finding someone who reacts somewhat like you do. It gives you somebody to talk to who understands your situation even better than CHFers who react differently. Jon.


Donna Z's February 11 reply to Karen K's February 11, 2000 - Hi Karen, You drink a pot of coffee a day? Didn't your cardiologist tell you coffee or tea or anything with caffeine in it is bad for you? I drink decaf and even then if I drink too much, I get palpatations. Are you staying within your fluid restrictions? Electrolytes should be monitored every few months to see if your meds should be adjusted. dzak@worldnet.att.net


Ginger's February 11 reply to Ben B's February 11, 2000 - Hiya Ben, I am a lot like you. After I was first diagnosed and got over the initial fear and symptoms, I waited for the decline to start. Every time I went for check-ups and tests, I always waited to get told I was worse but thanks to God so far that has not happened. The only thing I do get that you do not is the fatigue hangover. I have a pretty good EF and I still get it. I am in the same boat as a lot of you with not knowing how much exercise is ok. After not having the time to do it much these last 5 months, it is really hard to know how to begin again or how much to begin doing. If anyone has been to rehab and on a treadmill and know some kind of guidelines I would like to hear about them please. I had more energy when I exercised regularly. Thanks and stay well ya'll. Hugs, Ginger. mystery@laker.net


Jon's February 11 reply to Ginger's February 11, 2000 - Hi Ginger, I'm interested in others' opinions on this too. I started my treadmill on a level grade (no incline) for 6 minutes at 2.2 miles per hour. I increased it 5 seconds each time I walked without missing a day, but if I missed a day, I did not increase the time. I never went longer by even one second no matter how good I felt, nor did I shorten the time on bad days. Very slowly, I increased my speed to 2.7 miles per hour where it is stuck. <g> If I have a really bad day, obviously I'm not walking on any treadmill. This has worked for me but then again, I do some mild resistance training also. Jon.


Doris L, February 11, 2000 - Hi, I have had CHF from 1990 to the present in Germany. I am so glad to know that I'm not alone. Thank God for having you Jon. Keep up the good works. dford50@hotmail.com


Joe S' February 11 reply to Jon's February 11, 2000 - Hi Jon, Thank you greatly for that post on exercise and fatigue hangover. I went to a trade show last week and at the end had to lift 3 packages which weighed over 20 lbs from my car to a dolly and then from the dolly to the UPS counter. I had an instant reaction to this with my heart pounding at about 120. The next few days I really felt bad, as bad as I've felt in years. Now I feel pretty good. Keep up the good work. Joe S. jes@stevensonlighting.com


Henry T, February 11, 2000 - Hi, Can the ECG tracing of a patient taking digoxin resemble the ECG tracing of someone with left bundle branch block? I recently went in for a thallium stress test which was changed to an adenosine-thallium test because my ECG seemed to indicate LBBB. However, I have never been told that I had a left bundle branch block and I thought I read somewhere that the effect of digitalis can mimic LBB. Any thoughts? Henry T. HRTICK@aol.com


Jack's February 11 reply to Ben B's February 11, 2000 - Hi Ben, Did you ever think that maybe the short term memory loss you think you do not have is what is causing you to believe you don't suffer short term memory loss? And maybe you are too fatigued to realize you are fatigued? <lol> maddjak@hotmail.com


Jeanette, February 11, 2000 - Hi Jon, It seems I have really opened up a can of worms. <lol> I didn't mean to get people so uproared about depression; I just needed information. To all of you who think that depression is a "state of mind" and not physical, get with the program. I am a Christian and believe me, I pray and meditate but when you can't go anywhere or do anything, Ding Dong! Something is wrong, I'm a poet. <lol> I was fine until 6 months ago. I was hapy and feeling ok, and doing what I enjoyed doing. Bam! All of a sudden I didn't want to eat, didn't want to go anywhere or do anything, couldn't sleep and slept all day instead. My doctor pointed this out to me that I was clinically depressed, not just because I was lazy or didn't want the help. You seemed to have gotten off the track of what I wanted when I posted, except for Jon and Shirley. They knew what I wanted and are trying to help. I have been on Zoloft and it isn't working. I am on Effexor and wanted to know if any of you were on it. Thank you Jon, for the apology. I sincerely hope you all understand soon. Remember me in your prayers, as I do so for you. Jeanette. jandtuf@aol.com


Jon's February 11 reply to Jeanette's February 11, 2000 - Hi Jeanette, The thread wasn't about your post, which was why I apologized. ;-) As for everyone's opinions on depression in general, I think it was pretty enlightening in some ways - just not helpful to you. <g> I hope you found the drug info you wanted. Personal experiences of others on a drug may or may not apply to us but they certainly help us get a general impression of a drug's possible effects. I think you may have misunderstood a lot of the posts though, since they were not speaking of your specific situation but rather about depression in general - a complex subject. Jon.


Robin R, February 11, 2000 - Hi, May I ask another question? I am disabled and on Medicaid, so my PCP must referr me to any specialists. So I am pretty much stuck with doctor I have, at least for now. I saw my doctor this morning and he told me all the exclusionary tests: sugar, thyroid, ect,... were fine. When I asked him specifically about CHF, he said they had ruled that out because my chest x-ray showed no damage to my heart. He was just giving me new prescriptions for additional diuretics because fluid is building up in my chest cavity again, and telling me when he wanted me to return. When I thought to ask him specifically about the echocardiagram he had done while I was in the hospital, he looked surprised and hunted for it in my chart but it wasn't there. He sent for it while I waited and then looked it over while I watched. He said it looked normal except for the ejection fraction, which is 40. This seemed to confuse him but he concluded it must be my Lupus causing it. At this point he said he wanted to see me in a month and I came on home.
     My question is, can you have an abnormal ejection fraction and not have something wrong with you heart and have the other symptoms continue as well? Thank you so much for your patience. I am so confused at this point. I realise I am probably not qualified to post here, but I don't know who else to ask. Grizzelda@webtv.net


Jon's February 11 reply to Robin R's February 11, 2000 - Hiya Robin, You're qualified. The thing is that most primary care doctors are not qualified to understand the information in an echo, so they don't know what it means. Please go to my CHF specialist FAQ page here (let it load and it goes to the right article). Now, scroll down to the paragraph that starts with the word, Discussion. See where it says, "Family doctors may rate EF measurement as less important because they are no sure how to interpret the clinical information obtained from the tests." This is why you need to push and push hard to see a CHF specialist, not an internist, and not a regular cardiologist.
     If your EF is 40%, you have a blood circulation problem that means dysfunction somewhere. The most likely location for such a problem is your heart muscle. This doctor simply does not understand ventricular dysfunction well enough to know what he is seeing in your case. He may misinterpret what he does not understand. Please make every effort to get a referral to a CHF specialist. Jon.


Lori P, February 11, 2000 - Hi, This is just to let you all know that I have a new e-mail addy - jeremypearson@earthlink.net I hope everyone has a nice weekend. Take care of yourselves.


Karen K, February 12, 2000 - Hi All, We're leaving for Florida on Sunday morning so I thought I would post before we go. My only comment on depression is that the meds we take can actually cause depression. This is documented. As for exercise, I posted earlier that my doctor said some folks with an EF of 30 get winded just walking across the room while others aren't affected at all. I have been on a very regular exercise regimen for over a year. It's on hold right now 'cuz my treadmill died.
     I started out around 2½ mph and 15 minutes. I was able to work my way up to 4 mph but my half hour routine goes something like this: start at 3½ mph and stay there for 3/10 of a mile, then every 1/10 of a mile increase the speed by 0.1. I ended up at 4 mph for 2/10 of a mile and then backed down to 3½ mph. Sounds a bit confusing, but it worked for me.
     I know it won't be acceptable for everyone because we are all different in what we are able to do. I also know since I've been off the treadmill a couple of weeks, I have to work my way up again. I also have back problems and a lot of pain which is actually helped by the exercise. Sears was here today to deliver a new treadmill but when they opened the box prior to taking it off the truck, they found it was broken. Bummer! Karen K. karenk@muscanet.com


Kevin F, February 12, 2000 - Dear Jon, I need everyone's knowledge on a situation. I'm the 37 year old from Owensboro, Kentucky who lost my home in the January 3 tornado. They think I suffered a light stroke. I have another problem now. My holter monitor shows my heart completely stopped beating for a few seconds at several intervals. I have CHF, DCM, and high blood pressure. Someone told me they may consider a pacemaker. My regular medical doc is sending me back to the cardiologist for consultation next week. Please give me all of your thoughts. Love, Kevin. EVERDYGUY@aol.com


Holly's February 12 reply to Ginger's February 11, 2000 - Hi, I'm currently in cardiac rehab. I just finished 6 weeks at 3 sessions per week, with 6 weeks to go. First I had a stress test. The rehab people calculated target heart rate based on 75% (low) to 85% (high) of maximum rate on the stress test. My first week was 5 minutes each on treadmill, rowing machine, bike, and Stairmaster. Each week one additional minute was added to each piece of equipment until, in week 6 I have been doing 10 minutes on each, plus warm-up and cool-down. The intensity on each piece of equipment was increased a couple of times as it became easier for me to do. They also ask continuously how difficult you find the execise on a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale, where 1= easiest. The aim is that you think the exercise is "somewhat hard." The treadmill was started at 2 mph. Now is 3.3 mph, with a 2% grade, which I find difficult.
     That's just the recipe they came up with for me. This rehab stuff is very indiviudalized and you really need the advice of medical personnel to get started, based on whatever your unique problems are. I would not exercise anywhere near this intensity on my own. If your insurance will pay for a rehab program it's definitely worth doing to get the hang of what the appropriate exercise feels like. I hadn't a clue. hjw@radix.net


Renee M, February 12, 2000 - Hi to everyone, It has been a long time since I last posted. I recently lost my beloved father, about whom I have written many times. Please say a prayer for him. He was very religious and I would appreciate it. I just have a comment on all the depression posts. I enjoyed reading everyone's opinion. We are all entitled to our opinion. I think depression can be caused by many things. The important thing is to find out what causes your depression and find a solution that works for you, be it meds, nutrition, prayer or whatever. Myself, I personally believe in a combination of all of these and anything else that helps me stay positive. This is not always easy, but I try to remind myself that I'm still here, that I have a purpose even if I don't know what it is and that there are others worse off than me who could use my help and prayers. This takes my mind off my problems, especially on bad days and I think that helps with the depression. That's just my personal opinion. I'm no expert. Thanks for listening. Renee M. Auntonay@prodigy.net


Renee M's, February 12 reply to Rick M's February 10, 2000 - Hi Rick, I never thought of my illness as, "living in a perpetual state of Lent" until I read your post. I must agree that's a good way of putting it. Being raised a good Catholic, we always observed Lent and gave up something. I didn't realize that Lent was "just practice" for when I had to give up all my bad habits at the same time! I'm glad to know all those years of observing Lent were leading to something positive. Thanks for putting things in a new perspective. Renee M. Auntonay@prodigy.net


Harriet's February 12 reply to Jon's February 7, 2000 - Dear, Dear Jon (couldn't resist), In regards to depression, I have been a long time owner of this dread condition. In 1976, I had a breakdown out of the blue. They call my condition major depression recurrent. I say my first diagnosed episode was out of the blue, but I know for sure that self-esteem problems, deep-seated negative feelings, and diet had a lot to do with it. I had a second breakdown in 1994 and was forced to go on disability at that time. My doctors, and there have been many, said it is a chemical imbalance combined with all the things I have mentioned previously. I am constantly on drugs for this condition and have taken every antidepressant that has been made. Also, I must mention this for information to those suffering depression after heart surgery. My lung specialist told me right after my bypass that there are always chemical changes in the brain after heart surgery. My dreams were that those chemical changes would offset my unhappy chemical imbalances. Not so!
     In January of last year, I had to undergo ECT (shock treatments) for 2 weeks. I must say that even though I will forever have to take antidepressants since my condition is so long standing (again, according to my shrinks), I have been feeling much better for the last year in the noggin department. I even have a tiny little spine growing beneath my head, something I have never had before. I'm not sure I feel much better about myself, but then there have been a ton of personal issues going on in my family for the past year. Some of the best medicine I have found for this condition over the years has already been mentioned in this forum many times but bears repeating:
1) Have a faith in God
2) Look outside yourself. I have found many people in a tougher place than I am in (my best friend sees and hears voices and has tried suicide
3) The power of positive thinking is powerful. It's hard, sometimes almost impossible, but usually I can find a tiny thing to be positive about
4) Exercise - I swim. You might walk or anything else. My mind is healthier, my heart is more efficient and not working as hard. I have little muscles I never knew I had
5) Smile, even if it kills you. Other people respond to you in ways you can't imagine if you come towards them smiling. Then you get strokes you need from the outside and stroke yourself at the same time because you are making someone else feel good
     I don't mean to go on and on about this, but I know this condition well. We have been a part of each other for over 20 years, probably much much longer than that. My heart goes out to all of you who suffer and I know you do suffer with it regardless of the severity. It's not nice. I pray for you. Smiles and laughter to all of you. hprince57@aol.com


Joe S' February 12 reply to Renee M's February 12, 2000 - Hi Renee, Most definitely meds can cause depression. I stopped taking some blood pressure meds because I became so paranoid and depressed I couldn't function. Your note was right on when you said we all have to find what works best for ourselves. Joe S. Jes@stevensonlighting.com


Gwen, February 13, 2000 - Hi guys, It is me again. I just wanted to thank all of you who sent me e-mails. Your words were wonderful. Today is Saturday, the sun is shining, and I feel great. It means a lot to both my physical and mental health to vent here on The Beat Goes On. No more pity parties for now but if anyone has a pity party and wants company who might make them feel better, I'll be there just as you were for me. Thank God for Jon. Thank God for ya'll. (see, I can write when I feel good) joie6800@aol.com


Sherrell G's February 13 reply to Ginger's February 12, 2000 - Hi Ginger, I went to Cardiac rehab for 9 months. I was the first DCM/CHF patient to use this particular program. When I started, my EF was in the low 20s. I could not even handle the treadmill, so they started me on a stationery bike, then I graduated to the treadmill. When I completed the program and was given the directions to continue at home, I was only at an average of 1.9 miles per hour with no grade. It took me 31 minutes to make a mile. Now I can only walk 8 minutes at 1.6 miles an hour with no grade before shortness of breath takes over. I believe everyone is different and the treatment plan must be individualized to meet the person's needs. Only you know what your body can tolerate (when the chest tightens, when the pain begins, when the shortness of breath starts, when the pulse elevates). Remember to start slowly and build slowly. sherrellgay@juno.com


Sandi M's February 13 reply to Rick M's February 10, 2000 - Dear Rick, You gave me the best laugh I've had in some time. "Living in a perpetual state of lent" - That describes our diet perfectly. Now when I get blue because I can't have something I want, I will cheer up thinking of this. Thank you for putting humor in this no salt, no fat, no sugar, no starch, no taste diet we all have to live with. Love to all, Sandi. chefal@bellsouth.net


Jean C, February 13, 2000 - Hi (Ben B and Ginger), We do get better and isn't it great?! It took me a while too, to get used to this CHF thing, and last through the tests while the doctor and my body were getting the meds adjusted and me adjusted. At first I too was scared about how much to do and what was going to happen - kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I've gone through the denial stage, I think, and the skip the meds stage and have worked out a way to live now, not tomorrow. If I really want to do something, I try. I'll know soon enough if it's too much. According to the doc, I am better than I was all fall and I have no intention of worrying myself into being an invalid prematurely. I wouldn't miss these posts because they let me know how very lucky I am. Good fortune and health to everybody else. Ben and Ginger, keep getting better! ojean@oz.sunflower.org


Phyllis A's February 13 reply to Renee M's February 12, 2000 - Hi Renee, I agree with you. Being born and raised a Catholic, I just resign myself to thinking of my condition as ongoing Lent. God bless and keep us all. phylcasurv@msn.com


Brian G's February 13 reply to Robin R's February 11, 2000 - Hi, Believe Jon, you need to get informed and see a CHF specialist or cardiologist. My experience with a familt internist was not good. Luckily, a doc I know was on rounds when I had a mini-stroke and got me to see a cardiologist that is very good at CHF. It makes all the difference in the world! Trust me. A thanks to Jon and everyone on the exercise question. Now I know I'm not alone. My son wants the PC now so I'll post more later. Thanks everyone! BPGruber@yahoo.com


Leland Y's February 15 reply to Karen K's February 11, 2000 - Happy Valentine's day, Just a little side note: our bodies change as we get older. To me, 8 years is a lot of years but to a 16 year old person, they'd love to be 25 or 26. Anyway, our electrolyte levels change, especailly potassium and sodium whenever we take diuretics such as Lasix and spironolactone, even though they are "potassium/magnesium/sodium sparing" agents. It just goes to show how each of our bodies accept medication differently. I am more like you. I am low on potassium and magnesium. I have to take 30mg potassium 3 time a day and I have to take 128mg magnesium twice a day. All I take is 40mg Lasix twice a day, and it was really tough trying to stabilize my electrolytes when I first started coping with CHF. Luv + salutations. Leland. LlYee@surfside.net


Leland Y's February 15 reply to Ginger's February 11, 2000 - Hi Ginger, My rehab program was started 2 weeks after my CHF diagnosis, with walking. It was very carefully monitored. You do not have to follow the initial steps, it's the concept which is important.

  1. week 1 - walk 1 block a day
  2. week 2 - walk 1 block twice a day
  3. week 3 - walk 2 blocks a day
  4. week 4 - walk 1 1/2 blocks twice a day
  5. week 5 - walk 3 blocks a day

     This is the same concept as weight lifters who want to get good definition, rather than bulk - more repititions and less load. This program was written out for me by a physiatrist (a specialist who rehabilitates). It worked out very well for me. I have been able to go 2 miles a day in 30 to 35 minutes. I still remember April of 1999 when I first started walking the distance of one house a day, then 2 houses a day, then one house twice a day. "I've come a long way, babe!" Luv + salutations. Leland. LlYee@surfside.net


Barbara King, February 15, 2000 - Hi, I have not been offically diagnosed with CHF, but have been told I have a weak heart beat. My echocardiogram showed an EF of 40-45%, I have severe shortness of breath, swelling in my stomach, tiredness, and a sudden unexplained weight gain of 12lbs in one week. I was started on Lanoxin and Accupril and told to see a cardiologist as soon as possible. My echo also suggested ventricular hypertrophy. My EKG shows weak heart beats and suggests abnormal changes, possibly due to myocardial ischemia. Is this CHF? I'm confused. I see a cardologist this Thursday afternoon. I have also have had aortic insufficiency all my life from Rheumatic fever as a child. This has been going on for over 2 years now and I'm very frustated with the medical profession right now. I just found this out on Febuary 1, 2000. barking@aol.com


Jon's February 15 reply to Barbara King's February 15, 2000 - Hi Barbara, Welcome to the club. <g> While you may not wind up with chronic heart failure, you have definitely experienced episodes of CHF. Let us know what your cardiologist has to say. Jon.


Leland Y's February 15 reply to Rick M's February 10, 2000 - "Living in a perpetual state of Lent" Good or bad, it helped me lose the 5 pounds I gained from holiday foods. Thanks for phrasing this condition perfectly. Leland. LlYee@surfside.net


Phyllis A's February 15 reply to Brian's February 13, 2000 - Hi Jon and friends, This is for Brian: When did you have a mini-stroke, which is also called a TIA? I also had a mini-stroke on January 11, 2000. What were your symptoms? What meds are you on because of it? By the way Jon and friends, all my test came back good: CAT scan, echo, and carotid, so the stroke didn't do any damage, praise the Lord. My Lord Jesus has come through for me again. phylcasurv@msn.com


Judy Wasson, February 15, 2000 - Hi Jon, I am new to this site. I just needed to talk to someone about my health problems. For over 2 years I have had chest pains, but my family physician treated me for stomach problems. In December of 1999, my symptoms started to include shortness of breath, fatigue and I felt like I had a huge vise around my chest, so that I couldn't take a full breath. I would go to the doc every 2 weeks and they would do tests. Finally I was sent to cardiologist. I had several EKGs, an echo, stress tests, and a thallium stress test. I was told I was ok. I was feeling worse and had chest pain even when just watching TV.
     The cardiologist sent me for a sleep study in February of 1999 and everything seemed ok except that it was the most miserable experience and I had chest pains all night. The cardiologist finally said the only thing left was a heart cath. I waited 2 weeks for that, thinking I wasn't going to make it until then. On March 12, 1999, I had my first heart cath, which showed several small blockages and a large blockage in my circumflex artery. A stent was placed and I was sent home. About 5 weeks later, I was back for another cath and another stent. Less than a month later, I was hospitalized again. I had another cath and was told that I was fine.
     By this time, my head was spinning from everything that had happened. I then started to swell with fluid in my face, stomach, hands, legs and feet. My activity level was zero. I felt that my time here on earth was limited and I actually thought the doctors had given up on me. On October 20, 1999, I was admitted to a different hospital, tested in another cath lab, and was told that my artery was blocked again. I also discovered that instead of 2 stents, I had four. I was told I was a candidate for atherectomy, but would have to wait for FDA approval on the procedure. On January 4, I had another cath with atherectomy with good results. I had another heart cath on February 2 and I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. Some doctors say I have CAD and CHF. Judy. dewjcw@bellsouth.net


Jon's February 15 reply to Judy Wasson's February 15, 2000 - Hi Judy, Welcome to Jon's Place. There's no doubt that you have CAD, which in its simplest terms means you suffer from blocked heart arteries. Give The Manual a good read. It will help you get a handle on CHF also. Jon.


Carol W, February 15, 2000 - Hello everyone, Did anyone else see ABC health news today? It was about some new kind of pacemaker for some patients with heart failure that may become an alternative to heart transplant. They said what kind of heart failure it was good for, but the fancy names got me confused. Did anyone else hear about this and understand what they were talking about? The device isn't ready yet but approval from the FDA is hoped for by the end of the year. cabwojo@banet.net


Jon's February 15 reply to Carol W's February 15, 2000 - Hi Carol, I don't watch network health news but they probably referred to the Contak CD system by Guidant. You can read an article about it and also about the PATH-CHF trial here. It's in trials. Jon.


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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