It really is Heart Update number three, I went back in and counted. I’m overjoyed to tell you that we’ve got nothing but good news this time. I had an echocardiogram in August and although I’d read the results on MyChart (a blessing and a curse, if there ever was one!), it was good to see Doc B and hear her reaction to what I’d seen there.
She was all smiles when she came into the exam room, not with balloons and confetti, but perhaps the verbal equivalent. “Wow, great news, huh?” Yup, indeed! The echo showed that my ejection fraction had risen from 37 to 50! (Up is how we want it to go–all of you who have normal ejection fractions run somewhere between 55 and 70. A failing heart like mine is anything under 40.) The 4-drug protocol is working! YAY! And even better news, I’m now officially out of the “may need a device to survive” category.
She was so proud and honestly, I’m pretty proud of myself, too. I’ve been a model heart-failure patient—taking my meds as instructed, checking my blood pressure daily, keeping my salt intake to a minimum, watching my diet (trying not to lose weight too fast, but still keeping it on a downward trend), getting enough sleep, and exercising every day. My next checkup isn’t for another six (6!) months!
I will confess that symptoms still show up now and again—the breathlessness when I walk too fast and try to have a conversation. My walking buddy and I have a tendency to speed up when we get to talking, and one of us (usually Mary) has to say, “Hey, we’re walking too fast. Slow down.” But how cool is it that walking too fast is an issue now when less than a year ago, just putting one foot in front of the other was a colossal effort?
So, there’s where we are—yeah, I’m still in heart failure, but this old heart just keeps on keeping on, thank you very much. And after seeing my 70th birthday pass and still being alive (remember, genetics didn’t exactly hold out for me to pass 60!), I’m going to keep doing this happy dance called life. There are books to write, manuscripts to edit, a Grandboy, family, and friends to enjoy, and adventures to go on. As my friend Jenny Crusie is fond of saying, “Nothing but good times ahead!”
Thank you and giant hugs to all of you who care enough to check in and cheer me on. I can’t tell y’all what it means to have so many dear people cheering me on!
Gratitude for this week: Liz and I had a great retreat in Bardstown; I got 7800 words written on retreat; my birthday flowers were still pretty when I got home; our little sweet gum tree is full of fall color; got to see Grandboy in a community theater production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It–he was adorable, fab report from the cardiologist!
Stay well, stay safe (fall vaccines are here!), be kind, keep reading, and most of all, mes amies, stay grateful!
PS: Just a quick reminder: Christmas In River’s Edge is available for pre-order (print too!)! Have you nabbed your copy yet?