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After meeting with my new cardiologist at St. Thomas Heart in Nashville (shout out to this great hospital for accepting me with no insurance!), I was scheduled for a nuclear stress test. This was because I’m against using statins and I have an artery that is 80% full.  The doctor is worried that it may just “blow” with no warning.  I get it.  I don’t want to have another heart attack either.  But the risk of statins are high.  

The side effects are enormous to me.  Between muscle pain (screaming pain as I’ve heard from friends) and the high potential for getting diabetes, I want other options.  Just like heart disease is hereditary in my family, so is diabetes.  Only diabetes is on BOTH sides of the family.  If I failed at keeping heart disease at bay, how will I hold back diabetes with this genetic component?  My sugar can run a little high in general, and just like the caution “Keep an eye on your cholesterol numbers”, I had a doctor warn me about my sugar numbers.

Both diabetes and heart disease actually are interconnected to the liver.  And I ask myself and Google search, why do the doctors wait until the heart almost stops instead of focusing on the liver?  If your liver isn’t cleaning out as it should, then diseases can grow.  

Sorry, I got off track.

Back to the waiting room with around 10 people.  I was the youngest person there, and I’m beginning to think I’m an anomaly in Tennessee.  Because the tests took a few hours, we all chatted with each other.  I was interested in how people got to this place with their heart.  Was it lifestyle, genetics or a rare disease.  For most of the other patients this visit wasn’t the first.  And for most of them it was lifestyle.  One older gentleman smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day for 40 years.  Everyone was a meat eater, drinker, and fairly sedentary.  I can see how the Heart Association came up with the general rules for heart disease.

They took x-rays of my heart in ‘current state’.  Then I sat for another hour chatting, and watching CNN.  Did you know CNN just plays and replays the same news stories over and over again?  Good god.  

When the nurse came to get me for the next test I learned that the nuclear stress test was going to simulate an intense workout.  It all sounds good to me until the test starts.  There we were chit chatting while I got hooked up to an EKG and then a nurse/specialist asks “Ready to start?”  Of course.  So she starts putting in the nuclear concoction in my tap.  Within seconds my chit chatting stops as my heart feels like I’m running up the side of a mountain with limited oxygen.  Somehow in my mind I thought it was going to be a gentle building up just like on the treadmill.  (i have a bad knee so couldn’t get on the treadmill, hence nuclear stuff) Shocked me that I was suddenly without breath, red faced and then just as suddenly they gave me another shot to bring me down.  Did I mention that I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink for 14 hours?

Whew.  Headache, a little shaky and thinking I just wanted to lay down.  I should have told them that I used to get migraines from intense workouts.  Holy crap.  If you have to do this test, be prepared to have the wind sucked out of you.  But right afterwards they give you peanut butter and crackers, or cheese and crackers.  None of which I eat.  Someone should have told me to bring my own snack.

The results of the test will go to my cardiologist and I guess I’ll hear from him about this reckless breaking away from protocol and not taking statins.  Rebel, I know.  However, it isn’t without a little trepidation that I have an artery that could blow.

Will let you know what doc has to say.