It’s called what?

“This body…this body holding me…Feeling eternal all this pain is an illusion”

Tool, “Parabola” 2001 Lateralus

Familial Hypercholesterolemia” Basically a genetic disorder in which the liver processes about half of the cholesterol it’s supposed to at any given time. Hence the reason I’ve had such ridiculously high cholesterol for so long. See the way it works is that your body actually produces about 80% of the cholesterol you have, and your diet generates the other 20%. Your diet cannot really influence the amount you have, but it can influence the make up (LDL vs HDL). When you get too much bad cholesterol, it starts to build up as plaque along the blood vessel walls. If for some reason you get enough of that, and then your body starts to think there’s reason to repair something right around that particular plaque build up, the blood clots and BOOM!…heart attack or stroke.

So anyways i have this processing issue, which over the last forty years has quite possibly maybe led to something. Ahhh medicine and it’s directness. The fact is that I can’t walk more than about 300 meters right now, without stopping. The pain starts deep in my left shoulder and works it’s way across my chest until it hurts so bad i have to stop. It doesn’t cause me shortness of breath and the pain is centered in the very middle of my diaphragm, not where my heart is. But…it’s debilitating nonetheless. When the cardiologist I saw yesterday heard this, he ordered me back for tomorrow for another stress test, followed by possibly an angiogram. A stress test is easy; basically they hook you up to a bunch of wires and then toss you on a treadmill for a few minutes. They look at what your heart is doing and then diagnose issues from that; it’s basic chore is to determine if you have actual damage to the heart, which is normal after a cardiac event. I’ve had one, and there’s nothing there, so that’s a good thing.

The thing a stress test can’t really look at is arterial damage or blockage…arterial sclerosis, which we’ve all heard about. For that you need the good ol’ angiogram, which I am decidedly NOT looking forward to. Basically they shove a wire into your groin and up and around your arteries looking for problems. My understanding is that it doesn’t hurt much, but a couple of hours lying on the board or whatever it is creates alot of discomfort for most people. Apparently…I’ll know more tomorrow… Anyways, so after that, if they find a blockage somewhere they will put in a stent. Right then and there. If they find alot of blockages they will probably check me in right away for bypass surgery. Yikes! Of course the chances of actually needing a bypass are very slim, so I’m not too concerned about that, just mildly nervous.

At the end of the day, though, all I want is for this stupid chest pain to go away and to be able to function again. I’ve cleaned up my diet, i’ve quit smoking, now I wish to be able to excercise. And i’m not even that much overweight, btw! Sigh.


2 comments so far

  1. Rosie on

    Wow, what news! At least you know what’s going on. I hope all these tests turn out okay. You’ve done well with your improved lifestyle changes! I am proud of you!! YEEEEAH!

  2. Cage on

    I’m glad you found out prior to an incident.

    Wishing you all the best and a clean bill of health for 2008.

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