A solution of my very own! 11/11/2010

Hi All,

Well, for the first time in a long time, when I went to the doctor, she immediately said "Ok, let's fix this". Yahoooooooo!!!! A solution? A real solution of my very own? Hell yeah!

Let me back up...

So in my last note, I mentioned how slow my heartrate was getting. It keeps going down to 40 beats per minute, which is when Sparky kicks in. I don't feel it every time Sparky beats for me, but I do feel it a lot and it is very uncomfortable. Not a shock, but more like a strong thump coming from inside my heart. It almost always takes my breath away for a second, and it makes my heart ache pretty badly.

I returned that 24 hour monitor to the hospital about 10 days ago and then I had to wait until yesterday to get the results. In the meantime, I was getting worse and worse. I've been having these episodes where I'll feel a few strong thumps, then I immediately get dizzy, my face breaks into a cold sweat, my knees feel like they are about to buckle, my chest hurts terribly, and I can't think straight. I've had these episodes almost every day for the past week or two, and they last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour.

So when I went to the doc yesterday, I was READY for some action. As soon as my doc came in she said that my 24 hour monitor showed that 40% of the time my heartrate was "wicked low" (her words, heh heh). When I told her about the way I'd been feeling she said there was no question, I need to have Sparky adjusted to help my heart pace better.

Then the electrophysiologist (the surgeon who put in Sparky) came in and we put together our game plan. There are two options for me.

Option 1) Open my incision site where they put Sparky in, stick another wire in my heart (this time in the upper chamber) and attach the wire to Sparky. This will let Sparky pace my heart all the time and I won't feel those thumps. He will keep my heartrate up, so I won't get the awful episodes. Excellent!

Option 2) Replace Sparky with a bi-ventricular defibrillator/pacemaker (Sparky 2.0). That device has 3 wires and can not only pace the heart, and shock it if it goes into dangerous rhythms but it can also help with the electric conductivity of the heart (which can make the ventricles of the heart pump more in sync). This last piece is what has the ability to improve how well my heart pumps blood. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) my electrical conductivity is not normal, but it's also not quite bad enough to meet the qualifications for my insurance company to pay for this new device. I meet all of the other requirements completely, but I am missing that one by a bit.

So I'm talking with my insurance company to see if an exception can be made in this case. My doc would prefer to put in Sparky 2.0, because she thinks will help me more down the road. Also, even if we do option 1, we may need to go back in and do option 2 later on (maybe even within months). I'd really rather have one surgery to get it all done, instead of two. Plus, it's cheaper to do one procedure instead of two. So we'll see. Being in the health insurance biz for years had better pay off! : )

Anyway, my doc would like to do the procedure next week, if we can get the insurance stuff figured out. I'll keep you posted, but it could be as early as this coming Monday or Wednesday. Yay!!

Three cheers for getting stuff fixed!


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