Jan 31, 2011 @ 1:30AM (i.e. middle of the night while sleeping) I was in Brooke's Point Palawan, I had my sixth heart attack (they say practice makes perfect and so I'm working on it).
At least I'm here to blog about it.
This one was unique in a couple of ways:
1. It was painful. None of the other 5 were in that category.
2. I was quite a ways from real help. The hospital had an ECG/EKG that did make a chart which they said looked abnormal. Wanted to put me on heparin but said otherwise they could only observe me if I accepted their recommendation to be checked in. It was a 120 mile (almost 4 hour ride) north to the airport, then a one hour plane ride, then a 45min drive to my now favorite hospital St Lukes Medical Center where they were capable of acute care.
Well, I made it. Underwent an ECG, Troponin T blood enzime lab test, catheterization exam, etc. etc. etc.
Where to go from here???????
I think I've got a plan.
While in the hospital this time I accidently discovered that this relatively new hospital had facilities to perform a Cardiac Calcium Scoring procedure that uses computed tomography (CT) scan. I had read of this and had been lurking about a source on the web touting it as an effective tool to actually measure plaque buildup not just crystal balling CVD using factors which hadn't worked worth beans in my case in the past - yeah you guessed it basic old cholesterol!
Doesn't sound like that exciting of a find since I know I have cardiovascular disease and therefore plaque buildup. Well it is exciting given the following. If you can quantify it (the calcium score does that) and identify causes you should be able to take steps to slow down, stop, or (stop the presses) even shrink plaque growth - that is begin healing the disease - WOW!
So here's the plan.
1. Get a calcium score. [DONE] (I'm in the 59th percentile by my score, age and gender and I've heard of much worse results than mine).
2. Begin evaluating causes of my CVD by measuring quantifyable and controllable factors. [PARTIALLY DONE].
Have yet to undergo Lipoprotein Analysis using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR).
Had a VAP Cholesterol test some years back but my cardiologist hadn't a clue what to do with all those 'new' numbers. But the VAP is more complete and actual measured values as opposed to the Friedewald calculated, but not measured, LDL cholesterol approximation most often used today.
3. Take steps to bring into line those specific factors that have been shown to reduce the growth or even actually reduce the quantity of cardiovascular plaque. [ONGOING]
4. Check interim progress (maybe even using some old Friedewald calculated LDL - since it's cheaper) then eventually have another calcium scoring CT scan to measure artery plaque and compare with the score I got today and make adjustments to the process. [FUTURE]
So that's the plan. Won't be a quick fix or even a magic bullet or likely much more than a more educated attempt at reducing the risk of number 7.
I think I like this approach better than the previous approach that gave me sleep robbing muscle aches, low enough "C" numbers to make the cardiologists pat themselves on the back and smile like Cheshire Cats thinking they had saved another doomed soul (oh and according to some clinical trials, may have had something to do with the cancerous intestinal tumor discovered after almost 20 years on statins).
Stay tuned. I'm determined and committed.
If you are interested more in what I'm doing check here and/or here.