Fatigue – re: the broken heart

Six weeks ago, my doc and I decided to go up on my medication, bisoprolol – the first one that hasn’t given me either crushing chest pain or crushing depression. I had a glimmer of hope for a while that perhaps a very, very gradual increase of this medication would leave me feeling… almost normal. At least well enough to consider holding down a desk job and maybe driving myself to the grocery store.

Alas, the best laid plans and all that. I’ve been dealing with some pretty significant fatigue the last few weeks that seems to be getting gradually worse. As in, I’m sleeping 12-14 hours a day and haven’t got much food left in the house because I haven’t been able to carry through the grocery shopping for more than about 15 minutes, but that’s ok, because I haven’t really had the energy to cook either.

One would think that all this sitting in recliners would at least afford me the ability to write, but not. The second worst side effect of miracle-med is memory and concentration problems. I type the wrong words. A lot. I know which word I mean, and type something completely different. Reply instead of retaliate. Either instead of ethereal. Which means a lot more reading and rereading to make sure I actually got down a sentence that made sense. And lack of concentration means a lot more time spent distracted by things other than writing.

So next week when I meet with the cardiologist again, my plan is to go back down to 2.5mg of the bisoprolol and hope that I return to my not-good, but better than awful state from 6 weeks ago. Hopefully, this will translate into my brain functioning well enough to post new Muse Medicine things and deep thoughts on writing things.

I’ve had a few people lately asking me a question that I want to address here, though. Why not have surgery?

Last time we met, Doc asked me again about surgery; he told me I knew his goals and reservations with doing it, and left it up to me. I’ve been thinking a lot about it. A lot, actually. And tonight I had a conversation with my husband about it. A frank, open, “I know it’s my decision, but I want your honest opinion” discussion. Because this isn’t just my life and livelihood here. It effects him, too. And our son, for that matter, who told his teacher this week that he wanted to learn CPR because he might need it for his mom someday.

Hubby and I have pretty much always been on the same page about everything, and I found out tonight that we’re pretty much on the same page about this, too. The thought of me having heart surgery scares him witless. The thought of one surgery doesn’t really scare me that badly, but the thought of surgery again and again… and again for the rest of my life… that’s a notion worthy of horror-fic.

If it were to save my life, it would be different, but the reality of the situation is, it might save my career as a nurse, and  it might help me feel better in between surgeries. What it won’t do is “cure” anything, because if you need surgery ever 6 months for a while and then every 5 years for the rest of your life, that’s not much of a cure.

Surgery won’t save my life, because IST isn’t killing me. Risking death, stroke, and worse disability, and there are always those risks with surgery, just doesn’t make sense. Putting my family through surgery after surgery is almost as horrifying a prospect as putting myself through it.

The side effects of the meds are bad. The symptoms of IST are bad. But my life is not bad. Not even when the fatigue makes me immobile and the concentration issues and memory problems make me frustrated. Not even when I’m short of breath and dizzy and clutching my chest. Because I have people who love me through all of that – my husband, my son, my family and my friends. I will never be able to adequately thank them for treating me like I’m still myself, if a little more fragile, and not a broken thing in need of a mechanic.

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1 Response to Fatigue – re: the broken heart

  1. Hugs! Surgery every few months doesn’t sound like a fix to me, either. You know a LOT more about it than I could, but I’ve always considered surgery a major risk all in itself.

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