Now that I am up and walking and my back seems to be healing, it’s time to get back on track with my fm!
I had my pulmonary artery stents checked in December and then I had to recover from that procedure before I went back for my SVC stents, which a few of them had appeared to be closed on the scans I had done back in December.
So that makes it almost two years that my stents stayed open and considering all the other health junk I’ve been dealing with…that’s pretty good!
Tim and I left for my appointment in Iowa City a little earlier than usual due to the six inches of snow that had fallen and was still coming down! Thankfully the weather didn’t get us too far behind so my husband was still able to stop at our usual spot for breakfast. And I just tried not to breathe in or look at all that deliciousness…and yes, I was fasting so I’m talking about the biscuit, not my husband! 😜
Once we arrived at the hospital I was greeted by some of my usual nurses…and some new ones. As they got me hooked up with an IV and antibiotics, we played catch up reviewing my most recent symptoms as well as how old our kids were and what we had been up to.
The nurses then rolled me back to the operating room and same ole thing…I was moved to a long thin table, heart monitor and a blood pressure cuff was put on me, cold dye to the arm and then the plastic tarp set up like a tent over my face. And yeah, I say I’m not claustrophobic but when a plastic sheet goes over my head…my anxiety tends to kick in a little bit.
And due to my oxygen levels not being the best, especially under anesthesia, I am now required to wear oxygen with every procedure.
Doctors started with my right arm in which they made a tiny incision for the camera and catheter to slide through my arm and in to my chest…one of the most bizarre feelings I will ever experience. Some times giggling from the tickling sensation when it gets to my underarm…then tearing up from the pressure and pain when they get to the blockage. This time I really felt a lot of heart palpitations as well. They then performed angioplasty with a balloon to open up the stents and instant pressure was released from my chest.
Since my scan had shown minimal narrowing on the left side, doctors decided that while I was there they would go in to my left arm as well and I think to everyone’s surprise, they discovered that the remainder of my stents on the left side were completely closed! Thankfully they were able to balloon the stents open and then I was done!
I was rolled back to recovery where I was supposed to stay a few hours to make sure I handled the procedure okay but since I know everyone and this is “just another day” for me, I was able to leave after an hour! So, I got dressed and Tim drove me home. And this time, I was able to get all the way home before getting sick from the anesthesia!
The doctor did say if anymore symptoms come up to call them immediately and stressed several times throughout our coversation how important it is to call even if in doubt because it’s better to check and do nothing, instead of waiting too long and then not being able to open the stents back up again. He also explained that even though he opened all six of my SVC stents, they will close again but we just don’t know how soon. Again stressing the importance of calling if I develope symptoms.
I have been pretty sleepy from the meds and uncomfortable from all the messing around in my chest. Even though I have done this procedure countless times, I always forget that I tend to be a little more sore than anticipated.
I also had a little problem with one of my incision sites bleeding but thankfully I was able to get it slowed down so I’ve definitely been taking it as easy as I can. I always look pretty beat up when I return home…
Right arm…Left arm uncovered and it always amazes me at how much doctors can do through such a tiny incision…and how much a tiny incision can sting!!Other than that though, the doctor orders are fairly simple. Continue to take it easy for a few days and call if I have any symptoms otherwise I don’t have to follow up for six months!!
The procedure went as smooth as it could have and I am extremely grateful for that. I am also thankful that doctors are still able to intervene and provide some sort of treatment to me!
Like I’ve said in the past, appointments are always constant reminders that I have this illness with no cure but this procedure hit me a little harder…simply for the fact that back in December when my scans were done…my left stents had looked fine. The doctor had mentioned they looked a little narrow but nothing as concerning as the right stents had looked.
And then only a month later my left stents had completely closed on top of my right stents being over 70% narrowed! I did have new symptoms of my arms and fingers going numb and I was feeling pretty lousy though so I knew at least some stents were closed…it just discourages me when things happen so fast.
These pictures resemble what I have had to deal with since getting my first set of stents back in 2007…yet all this is for just one problem of so many that has been caused by the fm. Sometimes I do these procedures every three months, sometimes the stents stay open for a couple of years before intervention is needed. We just never know. I am in Iowa City almost monthly for scans, labs, procedures to ensure that we catch any progression early enough in order to “fix” me…temporarily. Is it frustrating? Yes! Is it painful? Most definitely! Is it worth it? Absolutely…at least I choose to believe so!
Thank you again for all of your prayers and being such an encouragement to me and my family!