AS noted in the past post, my major coronary arteries are completely clear. No plaque at all. None. Per doctor, "They're wide open with no sign of disease." Can't get much better than that.
My carotid arteries have a "minor buildup of plaque which is not significant" and no cause for concern. The little amount of plaque is causing no dysfunction.
Microvascular Disease. I didn't know what this was, so I had the MD explain it and I looked it up online, too.
Turns out that women can have an arteriography that shows clear major arteries, but have a problem with the small (micro) vessels of their heart. these are the tiny vessels that carry the blood from the major arteries of the heart into the heart tissue. These tiny little vessels do not get blocked with plaque, usually, the get stiff and the walls can thicken, narrowing the vessel, thus slowing & reducing blood flow to the heart.
Although men do get microvascular disease, women tend to get it without the accompanying major cardiac artery disease. When their cath is clear they're often told they're just fine...go home, live well. And they have a heart attack and die...with wide open cardiac arteries.
The women who get this are usually over 60, diabetic, were first diagnosed with high blood pressure before menopause, and are sedentary. ( I was first diagnosed with HTN in my 30s and have been diabetic for 25 years.) The MD told me that the diabetic retinopathy that I have is a form of microvascular disease, as is the neuropathy in my hands, feet and legs. He said I surely have it throughout my body and it could certainly be the cause of the months long angina I've had. Apparently, I am the poster girl for cardiac microvascular disease.
There is no cure. There is no intervention like angioplasty or stents or by pass surgery for these little vessels. Nothing but meds to reduce the BP (Already taking) and nitroglycerin to relax and enlarge the vessels a bit. (He prescribed.)
And, then... A surprise. After the "you have it in your eyes, likely have it in you heart" prognostication, after the scrip to help treat it, after the clear cardiogram--an unexpected finding for this 65 year old, obese, diabetic, hypertensive woman. When one has cardiac microvascular disease, the blood flowing out from the major cardiac arteries is slower than normal. Which makes sense because those little vessels can't take the amount of blood they should take. My blood flow? NORMAL. The MD studied the film--and is adamant; there was no "slow-flow" to be found.
Per MD, "There is no indication of cardiac microvascular disease found." No need for the nitro. In fact, he actually said that he couldn't find any cardiac problems me whatsoever. Whatsoever.
How about that? If there's MVD I my heart, it's apparently too minor to show up. Like I said,
God has been gracious unto me. I am grateful and so aware that I earned every medical consequence that the MD expected to find...but didn't. I have often said that if after God sent His Son to pay the price for my sins, He did nothing more for me, I still owed Him my eternal gratitude. Even if His mercy stopped at the cross, I am His. But it didn't stop there, did it? It rolls on and I am without adequate words...
I kind of hate to add this bizarre piece after that astounding (tom me, anyway) praise report, but reality is what it is. Even when it seems unreal.
When I got home from the hospital after the cath, I noticed that I was unable to read. M vision was just fractured. Picture a paper pulled from the printer too soon, leaving it with black streaks and misplaced, misshapen letters. That's what the paper I tried to read looked like.
I shrugged it off. My vision is easily put off, although this was pretty extreme even for me, and I'd been loaded up with Fentynal & contrast dye & who knows what else. I tok a nap. When I got up, my vision was better. Not quite back to normal, but the streaks, etc were gone. I sat down to watch TV, and then, I noticed...
There were purple-pink triangles floating thru the air. Yep. I was seeing hallucinations. For goodness sakes, I thought, that Fentynal must be still doing it's thing. I went to bed not long afterwards.
I no longer saw purply-pink triangles when I woke up; now I was seeing flowers and balls of ivy floating thru the air. Every 30 minutes or so. Full color, full detail, quite intricate pictures, in fact. Well, okay then.
I was not having a psychotic break. There was no sensory involvement other than the visual. I knew they weren't real and they weren't frightening. They were not triggered by my own thoughts, circumstance, or physical object. Just these pretty waterfalls of flowers and paintings of flowers and ivy baskets. They were animate, floating through the room and up like a child's balloon.
At this point, since I knew it wasn't psychosis, I thought it must have been the contrast dye or something. I called the cardio guy.
While I was waiting for the callback, I looked up "visual disturbances & cardiac catherization" on line. Yep. I found instances of other people having the kind of hallucinations I was having (Peduncular hallucinosis) along with other kinds of visual disturbances a few hours after the cath. They occurred from hours to two weeks, then left.
Well, I felt better. Almost relaxed about it. Almost. (I mean, I was seeing things!) I expected the MD to tell me that, on rare occasion, this happens and it would pass.
That's not exactly what happened because the cardio had never heard of this and refused to consider that the cath had triggered what was going on. He said I had to go to the ER or to my PCP. In fact, when I refused the ER trip, he called my PCP without telling me! My PCP call me and insisted I come in to see him. (It's a small town.)
Long story short, I ended up at my PCP who said that we'd let it go until the two weeks were up, then, barring the onset of new symptoms before then, if I was still seeing hallucinations, we'd have to run some tests. He was only willing to wait because I took the articles in and showed him the reports of post-cath events like mine. He also agreed to wait and see because he said if my brain was jazzed from the cath, adding more chemicals and stress via other tests might do more harm than good seeings how I have no symptoms of stroke or other urgency. Per PCP, it is unlikely that whatever's going on in my brain will require treatment (barring a tumor, which is unlikely since it would be awfully coincidental for it to just happen to show up immediately after the cath procedure.). But we need to be sure.
This is Saturday. Monday will be two weeks. I'm still having the hallucinations. They are less frequent and less sharp in focus, less detailed. But they are still happening as of this writing, and they are fracturing my already poor vision.
I'll let you know what happens...keep praying, please. My husband is having cataract surgery on the 16th and I don't want this extravaganza to be adding chaos right now.
And that's the weigh it's going!
P.S. Even still, God has been gracious unto me.