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Four years ago today I was in surgery for a quintuple by-pass. I had gone
into the ER the day before with chest pain. I had had a mild heart-attack.
They did an angiogram and discovered all sorts of blocked arteries. I don't
smoke, had been diabetic for just 16 years and I was "only" 52 at the time.
Obviously everything went OK... my endo was great. He did not give up
trying to figure out what went wrong. Finally, he discovered that I had a
rare blood factor called LP(a)... there is a test for it, but it is not
common. Normally people have an LP(a) number of below 15-20. Mine was about
110. With a high LP(a) number your cholesterol works super-efficiently in
building up plaque on the artery walls. My cholesterol was about 220
anyhow... even after taking anti-cholesterol drugs. Not good!! Fortunately
there is a solution. Under my doctor's supervision, I take major mega-doses
of niacin.... 2.25 grams (not mg) a day. (WARNING!! Do not ever try this on
your own... permanent liver damage can occur). This has brought my LP(a)
factor down to close to normal levels and my cholesterol down to about 145.
Hopefully, I won't have to go through this again... my last stress-test on
the treadmill was just about perfect.
I sometimes still have flash-backs about those events... although the
surgeons were wonderful (I was fortunate to go to a hospital with one of
the best heart care units in the Pacific Northwest), the psychological
effect can be profound. Unfortunately, though many doctors are great
technicians, they are not prepared to deal with the whole patient. I found
myself very depressed afterwards... it's a shock to come so close facing
your own mortality. (But, the cardiologist didn't have a clue). Time and
Paxil have helped. I now take just one day at a time and try to do the best
I can... I guess that's all anyone can do.
Sorry to be waxing (or waning) so philosophical today.... (sigh) It's just
one of those days.
(just glad to be here)
Insulin-Pumpers website http://www.insulin-pumpers.org/