February 18, 2013
My test at UCSF last month as part of the end of the year heart transplant protocol turned out all right. Nothing to worry about with the stress test or the ultra sounds of the carotid arteries. I have one test to go which has to be done at UCD not San Francisco. It is a 24 hour BP test. After that I am through for the year except maybe a left catch test which I am over due for.
They discourage too many of these tests as they have a certain risk factor and it is expensive as it is a full bore operating room test. Foe those heart transplant recipients in their third and fourth years they use other non-invasive test to measure the potential rejection of the heart.
My current project is the breathing and sleep problem. The sleep issue is important for heart transplant patients because lack of sleep puts pressure on the heart and increases the possibility of heart attacks. I don’t know whether I have sleep apnea but the only way to find out is an overnight sleep test. I have had some bad experiences with that test but all my doctors and now my new ENT doc has joined the chorus…get the test done!
Once that is done, my ENT will explore my difficulty in breathing all day long. The only possible solution seems to be an operation to correct my deviated septum. This has to be done in collaboration with the Mother Ship-UCSF because of my suppressed immune system. We transplant patients are at high risk of infection with a suppressed immune system and an operation.
Under normal circumstances a person would just endure the breathing issue and that would be that. Any undue stress on the new heart is life threatening so that is why I have an Ear Nose and Throat specialist (ENT).
A belated Happy Birthday to my partner in crime. Bill Schabram, who received his new heart the day before me on December 17th, 2009. I got to know Bill and his wife Karen because we were always at the hospital for all of our post transplant tests. In the beginning we were at UCSF for tests at least once a week. He is much younger than I am and was in perfect shape except for his heart before transplant. He bounced back immediately and was running miles on the beach in a few months. It took me almost two years to be able to start playing tennis again. Happy birthday!
The lesson I am learning after three year with this new heart is don’t look for trouble. When I take a test I worry about what could go wrong and whether there as any rejection or blockage. I am trying to assume the opposite. Don’t look for trouble is my goal. Enjoy today and be grateful for these extra days.
Life is good!