In my earliest days of my health issues, when there was obviously something wrong with my heart and/or lungs, my pulmonologist gently alerted us that he wanted to do a test that would test if something was wrong with the artery between the heart and lungs. Do you mean Pulmonary Hypertension? I asked. Yes, he said. But let’s finish your other tests first in case it is something else, he said.
So when they called me the next day to schedule the test, I was devastated. I even cried for 5 minutes, the only time I cried during that entire crazy six months of diagnosis and treatment. I just knew I had Pulmonary Hypertension, and I knew that Primary Pulmonary Hypertension would mean I wouldn’t see our kids graduate from high school.
The test itself was fine. They prepped me, treated me with kindness, and wheeled me away. In the test, they take you to the operating room, slice an opening in your artery by the groin, run a tube up next to the heart, pump dye through the tube, and observe the dye running through the artery up there. I think the procedure itself is an hour or so (I was drugged into oblivion), but then 3 or 4 hours has to be spent laying motionless on my back to allow the artery to heal enough so I wouldn’t bleed to death on the way home 🙂 After the drugs wore off, it was excruciating (boring plus my back hurt) to wait.
When the doctor came back following the test, he said, “Clean as a whistle.” THat is, I didn’t have pulmonary hypertension — the artery was clearn and good. Which meant there would be more testing (it would take another month to learn what I had) but also meant I was not going to die from pulmonary hypertension. We were ecstatic!
The median survival rate for that issue is 2-3 years from time of diagnosis. Which means I probably would not be alive today if the test results had come back positive that day. This morning was sunny, peaceful, and I was thinking how grateful I was to be alive on this day.
ALthough I ended up with a different scary diagnosis, I am doing very well all things considered. And, again, I feel nothing but luck and gratitude that I avoided something completely out of my control to avoid.
Today is a great day.