Monday, January 21, 2008

Still Angina-Pain-Free

Well, I continue to be angina-pain-free since undergoing EECP last year. I also have managed to wean myself off Imdur. My blood pressure following the EECP therapy was averaging 110/70, higher than the BP I used to try to manage when Dr. Wayne was my cardiologist, but still low enough to control the angina. I wanted to get off of the Imdur so I could start taking Viagra again.

Since I had no angina pain, I had not used nitroglycerin in about three months. I was still taking 30mg of Imdur twice a day. Since I was between cardiologists, I asked my family physician how I should go about weaning myself off the Imdur. We decided I should take 15mg three times a day for a week to 10 days then decrease to 15mg twice a day for a week to 10 days, and finally take 15mg once a day for a week to 10 days. If I were to experience angina during the time I was titrating down the Imdur, I was to increase the dose to the previous level and see my doctor.

Fortunately the weaning went without any untoward effects. My blood pressure now is running about 120/70. Since I got off of the Imdur, I saw a new cardiologist. He gave me a physical and declared me to be in good enough shape that I don't have to see him for a year. He also prescribed Levitra for erectile dysfunction. I am potent again!

I started physical therapy last month for a balance and gait problem I have that is related to my Parkinson's disease. I have been going twice a week for a month now. The therapist has me warm up on a stationary bike or stair step machine before she puts me through my paces. I am getting an excellent workout and still am angina-pain-free.

Those of you who have been reading this blog know that way back in the spring of 2004, I was strongly coerced by a cardiologist to get a quintuple coronary artery bypass graft. I chose to get a second opinion from a noninvasive cardiologist who started me on medication. I did quite well on the medical regimen until the fall of 2006 when the angina pain returned. My new cardiologist was willing to allow me to manage my own medical treatment plan but he strongly suggested I have the bypass. I asked him what he thought about EECP and he said it may be a good choice for someone who is not a candidate for the bypass or who, for other reasons, refused to have the surgery.

The EECP worked extremely well and this April I will celebrate four years since being told I was a walking time bomb who could have a stroke or heart attack at any time. So, once again, I recommend that anyone who is told he needs a bypass get a second opinion. And don't get that second opinion from any old cardiologist. Go to a NONINVASIVE cardiologist.

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