Last week I went in for my follow up scans in regard to my SVC stents. As I had stated in my last blog, symptoms have slowly been coming on stronger so I was confident I would be doing angioplasty to open them back up. And as suspected my stents were indeed narrowing, however, I also had a new area of concern with some veins higher up in my neck.
I first had to assure my interventional radiologist(SVC doctor) that I was continuing to see my cardiologist and I do have an appointment scheduled within the next few months for a follow up. He then went on to explain that as I know, my case is unusual…and when doctors start with that, I know what they say next is usually not encouraging. He explained that of course we want to keep the stents open as much as possible, however, now those stents appear to be pressing on other veins and causing damage so we would set up an angioplasty to get a better idea of what is going on.
He then looked at me knowing what he was about to tell me would not go over well. The doctor pointed out I have had an excessive amount of angioplasties in which they have always entered through my upper arms to access the SVC stents. He reported that the veins in my arms are getting too weak and therefore he would be going through the groin from here on out. I couldn’t resist letting out a groan as he finished his sentence. He assured me he would be able to access all of the concerned areas through one incision. My only response to him was “that’s what the last doctor said and I’ve gotten an incision on both sides every time!”
The nurse and I compared schedules and I was set to have angioplasty within the week.
So…I had my procedure Wednesday and praise the Lord it couldn’t have gone any better!
I have been having to get my stents open every three months and I was thrilled it had been six months since my last angio so I got to enjoy the entire summer with my kids! Tim and I decided I would have his mom Debbie take me so that he didn’t have to waste more time from work for another hospital day! Plus he has been really busy so we decided he should save his remaining days off for when I am healthy and we can do fun things…basically he has no excuse now not to take us on another getaway!
My mother in law picked me up and it was a very nice change! Our conversation was a great distraction for me plus it gave us a chance to actually visit without kids always interrupting! And I have to admit…it was kind of nice that she didn’t eat a delicious McDs breakfast in front of me unlike my hubby who always has to!
When we arrived to check in I looked at her and said “welcome to my world!” I was greeted with big hugs and smiles by my most familiar nursing team although they were disappointed not to see Tim and talked about what a devoted husband I have! I was just ecstatic to see them all and thanked the Lord for my regulars!!
The procedure could not have gone anymore smooth! I went back to surgery at 3pm, was done at 4pm and on our way home by 5pm. They only had to make one incision in the groin, I didn’t feel too much discomfort during the procedure and I had received anit nausea medication so the pain medication did not upset my stomach too bad!! I was thrilled to be feeling good with Debbie because I was so worried she would have to be pulling over into one of our usual puke spots!
I came home to some super sweet notes from my kids…they wrote a nice bible verse but Leah’s emoji!!! Apparently she got a kick out of herself haha!
They also left some goodies throughout the house for me to find…
Debbie took the kids home for the night so I could rest and not be tempted to overdo anything with them around! My parents and Skye had also helped with the kids throughout the day and my mom made food to last us a couple of days so I wouldn’t have to worry about cooking! Tim and I are so grateful for our family and friends who are always willing to help out with anything at anytime!
As far as the findings during my angioplasty, it turned out that two SVC stents were closed almost 80%. Thankfully the doctors were able to open them back up as far as they could because like my doctor had told me last week, it is a fine balancing act now to try and keep those stents open without causing too much or anymore damage to the other veins.
And then the new area of concern…apparently my right internal jugular vein was reported to be 100% closed and the other jugular vein is closed about 50%. I asked the doctor if this was serious and he said as long as one stays open I’m good. Plus, my body was already working to try and compensate for the loss of veins! I joked that I have done well with one lung and one eye so I should be just fine with one jugular vein!
The jugular vein is a vein in the neck that drains blood from the head, brain, face and neck through the superior vena cava towards the heart. So yeah…I have quite the blockage issue of getting blood from my head to the heart since my SVC closes too!!! When the blood doesn’t drain it can cause pressure on the brain. This is the reason for my most recent neck pain, swelling and headaches. These are also similar symptoms I experience when my SVC is closed so I will be anxious to see if I feel any differently after opening the SVC stents back up. I asked if they could put stents in the jugular veins and he hesitated saying yes but my body had already tried to compensate for the damage by making new collateral veins, which is a good thing! He went on to say we would need to discuss options and outweigh the risks before intervening.
I see my pulmonologist and will do pulmonary functioning tests in October then I follow up with my cardiologist in November. I will talk with both of them about my recent findings then I will return to my interventional radiologist to do another scan and discuss more options as to how we will proceed with these new issues.
Until then, I really am doing okay with the new progression of this disease because I know regardless of what the test results might say…I am going to be okay!! Now that my angioplasty is over it is time to focus on my bible study and getting the kids back to school and in to a routine again!!
Enjoy the rest of your summer and thank you for continuing to lift us up in prayer!