Mended Hearts Open Forum

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  • 1.  New User Intro

    Posted 06-02-2022 14:10
    Hello all,

    Sorry I cannot seem to post this to the "introduce yourself" thread, which would seem to be where it belongs.

    My name is Larry, I am almost 62 and have been healthy all my life - aside from inherited high cholesterol. I recently discovered that I have 3 vessel coronary artery disease, with my LAD artery having both an 80% blockage above the D1l branch and a 100% blockage below that juncture (the other 2 main arteries are <= 50%), and several areas of moderately reversible ischemia.

    I have lived a very remote, simple, off-grid life for the past 20 years, which requires a rather active lifestyle. Cutting and chopping firewood, hauling water, mixing garden soil, building rustic structures, loading/unloading propane tanks, etc. It is a life I love. I have also mostly avoided the medical industrial complex for most of my life, thanks to being rather healthy overall.

    I started noticing decreased energy and fatigue a couple years ago, but it was just this past winter that I took a somewhat dramatic turn for the worse. My partner finally convinced me to get looked at, and after a stress test, cardiac CT and a cardiac cath, I was given this diagnosis. I have started on typical heart medications (beta blocker, calcium channel blocker, statin), but clearly if I want to be able to live the active life I have been living, I will need some sort of revascularization. Currently if I exert myself to any level, I get angina and increased fatigue. Both of which I could deal with, but my concern is of course doing further damage and causing a heart attack.

    Medical care near me (the closest hospital is an hour and a quarter away) is not the best quality, but being on medicaid I don't have much of a choice. Having already consulted with a cardiac interventionist, I am waiting for a consult with a surgeon. More importantly, I am waiting to get a second opinion and consult with a cardiac team at a much better hospital about 3 hours away. Between my insurance (call me cynical) and the extent to which all medical professionals seem to be overwhelmed these days (particularly due to covid), that is taking much longer than I had hoped.

    I am adjusting to my new reality of minimal activity (which is hopefully temporary), but at times I struggle with the emotional aspects of that. Which is really the reason I seeked out some online forum for communication and support. 

    However, I am also interested in hearing from anyone with similar CAD who has considered or had either CTO-PCI or MIDCAB procedures. Due to 100% blockage, typical PCI stenting is not an option, but CTO-PCI does appear to be. Also due to where my main blockage is, it would appear that MIDCAB (minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass) is also an option, if the expertise is available in my state (Maine). I assume typical on-pump CABG is also an option, but that one feels a bit more sketchy to me. 

    On a personal note, I am much less concerned with longevity than with quality of life. I much prefer non-human life to most humans, and I have lived primarily with my human partner and the non-human natural world for many years, avoiding the din of mass society as much as possible. Having to deal with it as much as I have recently has exacerbated the low level depression and anxiety that caused me to dramatically change my life 20+ years ago.

    Well, I have babbled on quite long enough, and I apologize for the personal treatise. I appreciate that this site exists, and I look forward to whatever engagement makes sense. Thanks for listening!

    Larry Kostmayer

  • 2.  RE: New User Intro

    Posted 06-03-2022 06:05
    HI Larry:
    I had no complaints prior to surgery.  Stress test showed problems and I got a quintuple bypass.  
    It took a year to be back to normal.  Recovery was tough but worth it.  Main thing is to get a good surgeon.
    Hope things work out for you.


  • 3.  RE: New User Intro

    Posted 06-03-2022 06:27
    Thanks much for the feedback, Ira.

    Larry Kostmayer

  • 4.  RE: New User Intro

    Posted 06-03-2022 10:28
    Larry, I can relate.  I used to live in a cabin in middle of woods, 2 miles from nearest neighbor with no electricity.  Loved it compared to some of the dumb things going on in our country today.
    In 2001, I had to have 5 way bypass surgery that saved my life. For over 20 years I have been a volunteer visitor for Mended Hearts. In that time I have seen drug addicts and homeless persons treated with loving heart surgery at one the the country's premier heart hospitals.  And they get the same care as those who can pay!
    So don't sell yourself short on going to just any hospital.  Find a good one and get back to good heart health.
    Blessings and Godspeed,

    Gary Price
    volunteer- Orlando Health
    Mended Hearts Chapter 296 - Orlando

  • 5.  RE: New User Intro

    Posted 06-03-2022 10:44

    Thank you, Gary, and good on you for your volunteer help. Glad to hear you got the procedure you needed.

    I am definitely trying to get into the hospital in Portland (Maine), which is much better than the closer one in Bangor. Neither compares with hospitals in NYC or Boston, but I'm stuck dealing with in-state care due to Medicaid. Things just move slowly in these parts

    Thanks again for your thoughts.