It's in the Genes
by Too Blessed
I saw a cardio in July 2011 for a routine check up. This was the first visit since arriving in Australia 10 months earlier. After the ECG and the 2D echo, reading the results, the cardiologist even said, "nothing to be excited about!" That was before we sat down to have a real talk. I told him about my strong family history. My father passed away at the age of 49. My eldest brother had his bypass at the age of 46. Another brother had angioplasty thrice in a period of 5 years. A sister, passed away at age 50 due to aneurism. I am talking about my immediate family. I have uncles and aunts who had heart problems as well. Hearing that, the cardiologist booked me for a coronary CT angiogram. When he got the results, he was not happy about it. He made me undergo stress test and I passed it with flying colors. I had always been asymptomatic by the way. I never had any symptoms whatsoever at any point in the past. Being unhappy with the results of the angiogram, he booked me for the conventional angiogram. After the procedure, a health worker was talking to me explaining I need a triple heart bypass. After listening what she had to say, the only question I asked was, "Is this government subsidised?", to which she said yes. I asked because when my brother had his almost 20 years ago in our home country, he had to sell his properties to afford the cost of the surgery. At that point,knowing the money is no longer a factor, I accepted the fact that I need to have the surgery sooner or later if I want to spend more years with my 2 children (I am a single mum by the way). Since I don't have any symptoms, I
had the luxury to choose a later date, which was about 3 months after the angiogram.
I got admitted on a Wednesday after lunch. The last I remember was taking the sleeping tablets at 10pm that night. The next thing I remember was being awaken at 11am on a Friday. The surgery took place Thursday 7am. I stayed in the hospital for 8 days. What was so difficult for me was not the stitches or the pain. For a control freak and a hyperactive woman like myself, the mere thought of being confined in those 4 walls and not being able to do what you normally do (get up in bed normally by yourself etc) was most depressing. I was not able to sleep well from the time I was moved to the ward from the intensive care. Sleeping tablets no longer work on me.
It has been 2 weeks since my triple heart bypass and I am home for a week now. I reckon I am recovering well. You see, I am not the "usual" CABG profile. I merely weigh 45 kgs pre-op and I am 157 cm. I don't force myself exercising if I feel I am not comfortable.
Not a lot of people are given the chance to "prevent" a heart attack or a stroke. But I had been given this chance to get a bypass even before any of the above happened. I feel so blessed. I know I will get better and better in time. There is no point blaming my genes. At least I knew earlier what I had to watch out for. It pays to know your family history.
Finally, I know I have added at least another 30 years or so to my life where I can spend more time with my children and enjoy life and all its blessings.