so nice to see the journal entry and the continued progress towards recovery. giving back to the medical community and volunteering to provide some assurance to those who may walk the same halls with the same fears is a tremendous gift. it is my hope that everyone has the same outcome. sending love and hugs. enjoy your rest and time in Panama. Linda
So glad to hear that you have reached that magical number and that you can now lead a normal life again, though we are more happy to read about how all this has affected your outlook on life ... life IS good and we wish you much enjoyment in your future! Cheers from Maricia and Ted in Wisconsin
Jimmy, Thanks for the kind solicitation for prayers for my friend. That was very thoughtful of you. Enjoy your last few days in Panama, but it will be good to have you home again. All my love, Sis Sharon
We miss you here at the shop, and so it's good to be able to stay in touch with you through your journal. It takes a special kind of person to be able to share with us the way you do the ups & downs of your post op innermost thoughts. I have confidence that ultimately the strength, courage, and positive outlook that you have shown all along your journey will continue to carry you on,- and being back home among your friends and loved ones will make this easier. Take care of yourself, see you soon-
Hi Jim, happy you are getting some down time in Panama. Enjoy it. As you gain your strength you forget what really matters, that is you. The world will function. My other friend that JBT performed the by passes on a week before your surgery is doing fantastic! He is driving, exercising looks and sounds great and feels great. Has a some fatique time but I just tell him its old age. (we do have a few years on you). The warm weather sounds great and theraputic. Bring some to Buffalo. Stay well, keep smiling. John Gallo.
do u ever do short reflections and please dont ry and catch anymore workers great to hear you doing well its not what happens to you in life but how you deal with what happens to u and u deal well god bless
Hi Jim - So glad to hear that you're resting and getting stronger in Panama, Yeah, sure, e.i your cement worker (where would he be without your reaching out to him literally), but that's you!
I have a story to tell that I don't tell to many because it's hurtful. My brother at age 43 had a massive heart attach (no prior warning) and my Mom and I had to watch him be denied a approved heart transplant because his attachment "places" were mulch and they had nothing to attach it to. Dr. Albright at Millard Fillmore Gates (a wonderful, compassiponate & informative Doctor) used the balloon to keep him alive for the next day but we had to "pull the plug". You can see how this relates to Sharon's friend, who is also in my prayers.
I'm sharing this with you because you sought help as soon as you knew your prior prognosis was invalid and that probably saved your life. My prayers have been with you throughout.
Your entries in this journal are so insightful and I appreciate your reminding me of the real values that I am prone to forget. I will say a prayer for your sister's friend. I hope you will continue to gain strength. Perhaps your "intervention" with the cement worker is a metaphor for your future.
i will say a prayer for sharon's friend. from personal and recent experience, sometimes the best that can be done is to rally and support and comfort and give love...
as for you my friend, you are dealing with the ups and downs as best as anyone can expect, and i am in awe of your strength
look to this day for it is life, the very life of life, in its brief course lies all, for yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision, but today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and tomorrow a vision of hope... \
life is short and we never know what the future brings...
i am very happy that you are finding healing times.. you need it and deserve the rest and relaxation...
Wow!! I just exchanged e-mails with Linda and we just found out about your situation. Thank God for such wonderful medical knowledge which can literally sweep one back for many years of wonderful life.
We wish you well and look forward to hearing more of your recovery and sipping a summer drink as we re=aquaint. You are in our prayers !! Mark and Betty (The balloon People!)
Jim, I am grateful to the people who had the good sense to set up the Journal, it has been a great source to check on your condition. I am also impressed with your eloquent and informative entries and believe you could succeed as a writer, if you don't have enough stories let me now and I'll lend you a few chapters.lol. Hope you get to Panama soon, this weather Is not ideal for therapeutic strolls.
Hi Jim. Mickey and I are so glad you are doing so well. You remain in our prayers of course. Sounds like you should recover to a point where you will feel better than you have for a long time. How cool is that!
We look forward to seeing you again soon. Hugs, Ellen and Mickey
To Jim and all re the docs and not discovering stuff. For what it is worth here's some of my lessons for sharing. When looking for a doc in the 80s, I chose one mostly on the basis our neighbor good friend, a GP (DO...I prefer DOs, actually) used the doc for his family...rational was if a doc would choose a GP for his family, probably he feels confident in the doc and should be good for me/my family. And, the doc was, for a long time. Some time after this doc diagnosed and started treatment of my hypertension, after I became involved in running, I discovered the doc was not capable, i.e., he just didn't know/have experience to manage hypertension in a master athlete. So, searched for one that did. Went to one to advertized to be an expert iin Sports Medicine, a GP. It wasn't true, but I was taken care of by one of his CNPs, Julie, who has taken care of us ever since except for a short time we lost her when she moved to work somewhere else and we didn't know where. I tried another DO GP, actaully an Ironman (that means super athlete), but he, and his office group, were lacking. My wife got on a quest and found Julie again, damn, right down the road in our mtn community, how convenient. Now, here's the thing about Julie. She takes time, unbelievable time with us, and she is quick to recognize when it is appropriate to refer to a specialist, and selective/careful with the specialist selection. Because of her I have a cardiologist. Selection of the cardiologist is another story. I was referred to a specialty cardiology practice and when I made my first appointment I told the lady I wanted a doc who is an athlete, please find out which of the docs might be an athlete, take your time, and call me back. Well, seems the practice at many groups is the docs kinda take turns with the new patients that come and my request did't fit their practice for assigning new patients. I was assigned a doc with a super reputation...in fact...wife...the retired nurse...told me he was one of the best, perhaps the best in the area. Well, after a serious (to me, serious) issue with experiencing dehydration and hypotension (I don't like having vision that is like an over exposed black and white photo and I don't like loosing consciousnous, even a second, when I'm packing up my stuff in the transition area) during my first triathon in Austin, I asked him a simple question about a med he had me on...3 or 4 times at that appointment asked him that question. He ignored me...he didn't know the answer and should have..last time I saw him...then I got a new young cardiologist, also an athlete. He understands, and, being somewhat of a new doc, he's fresh with the latest, more up-to-date training than the older guys that who knows how much continuing ed they get. Lesson summary: CNPs are often more thorough than the actual MDs or DOs. Research, check backgrounds. Be quick to recruit specialists. I have my first follow-up after valve repair appointment tomorrow. The CNP at the GP's office is gonna be checking my wound and managing the X-Ray the discharge people said to get to be sure I'm not retaining undo fluid in my thoracic cavity..and that's it. My cardiologist in conjunction with the professional cardiac rehab folks are gonna manage my heart. It was my cardiologist that on my routine 6 mos follow-up, ordered the echo to be done b4 just I saw him on that day in Nov, the echo that showed him my b4 benign prolapse had becoome a seriously leaky valve. Another lesson for me. So many times I called to see him before my 6 mos follow-up was due. For this last one I had made a deal with my self I was not gonna bother him for anything, but be patient and not see him sooner. Dumb me. Hind sight tells me he would have discovered my leaky valve situation if I just had called him back in August when I had trouble swiming the distance in that lake in VT. Dumb me should have told I had trouble breathing and got towed from a lake by a kayak. Geeezzze, I'm so dumb sometimes...but, a lesson, when somethings not quite right re health...docs should be told, docs that find out the cause. ...Barry
Hi Jim, Yes . . . your misdiagnosis gives plenty of food for thought. You will have to think about its impact on your relationship with you primary, but please don't be too hard on yourself. For one thing, we live in a culture where doctors are seen to be close to gods, and they aren't. . . but we aren't given many examples of how to deal with our health differently, and, yes, more pro-actively. Clearly it would be a good thing if we would get that message at least as much as those from the drug companies telling us about all the new medicines they have on the market.
I don't want to get into the state of our medical/health care system right now, but I do want to say that the RELATIONSHIP we have with our bodies (well our minds too!) is of utmost importance . . . because our bodies have an intelligence and ability to communicate when things aren't going well (as well as when they are!) As in any relationship its important to listen and not tune out to what is being communicated. (And YES, alas, we also have the abilityto accept what could be symptoms as the norm and go on with our lives! Sometimes that ability serves us well . . . but it isn't an ability we should rely on . . .)
And then there are the relationships we have with our medical practitioners. I've been amazed recently how much they rely on tests over some common sense good listening & diagnostic skills, their knowledge and even intuition.
So finally . . . I'd like to say that the responsibility rests not with the doctor OR the patient - it is rather BOTH/AND, its a shared one, and that is why the quality of the relationships between our selves, and our bodies, our mind, AND our medical practitioners are so important. The practice of medicine/health care is as much an Art as a Science.
Are you are feeling, in a funny way, a bit thankful to that hip of yours that called out for surgery!? One more way you could look at it all is that your body (or for that matter YOU) did find a(nother) way to get your attention and then get you to another doctor for the right diagnosis. We are much more complex beings than we give ourselves credit for: our unconscious can work in mysterious ways!
Feeling gratitude is a good thing . . . its also good all around for your much happier heart. :-) see you soon! Sandy
I'm glad to hear you are recovering with no complications and on your way to a healthier life. I find your last entry very interesting because when Smitty and I made our first trip to Panama in March of 2006 I came into contact with parasites and went back to the states with the little pests crawling throughout my intestines. When I started having sharp pains in my abdonmen area my primary doctor sent me to a GYN, he thought maybe I had a cyst on my ovaries because that was where the pain was the worst. Long story short I told them I had been out of the country, no one seemed interested, in fact the doctors hardly take the time to listen to you tell them how you really feel. I went through an ultra sound, cat scan, lower GI, all kinds of blood work. Finally I said enough, none of the doctors knew what was wrong with me and kept sending me to another specialist. We moved to Panama Feb. of 2007. In March I was so weak I could hardly get out of bed. Someone here told me their doctors name so I called him and they got me right in. He actually sat with me in his office and listen to me tell about all my tests, but most of all how I was feeling and what my body was doing. I never had to wait in an examination room with a white gown on for 30 minutes freezing, he didn't keep looking at his watch to see if my 15 minutes was up, he really seemed concerned about me. He told me then I probably had parasites and gave me the pills to kill them but went ahead and ordered the lab work to see if it was positive. I was better in a matter of weeks. I spent several thousand dollars and went through tests I did not need. In the states it feels like an assembly line when you go to the doctor, they have 15 minutes for each patient and they seem to want you out of the office as quickly as possible. I realize not all doctors are like this, but has our insurance made going to the doctor more like a production line and is it all about money now instead of real health care. When you know something is wrong with your body do not ignore it. The doctors in the states kept telling me they could find nothing wrong. By the time I saw the doctor here I was close to being hospitalized. I will look forward to hearing about your docotr visit.
First of all, I'm glad to hear you're doing so well. Congratulations! Your post is interesting because I am going through a similar situation with my internist. She knew I had a mitral valve problem for years and I have been suffering from extreme fatigue and aches and pains for years. During the past year the fatigue got much worse accompanied by shortness of breath. My doctor's diagnosis was "anxiety, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia." She never once suggested getting an updated echocardiogram. In fact, she never ordered one in all the years I've been seeing her. Like you said, this was MY responsiblity to re alize I should have had a new echo and I ignored it. But my doctor had a huge responsibility.
I recently made an appointment to talk to her about this issue as it was really upsetting me. Had I not gotten sick with some unrelated issue and had I not seen the P.A. who was on duty that day and had he not sent me immediately for an echo after listening to my heart, I could have gone on for who knows how long, resulting in heart damage.
I talked to my internist very frankly telling her how terribly disappointed I was in her inability to diagnose my problem, order the appropriate tests and clump everything in the "anxiety" basket. She admitted that this was all her fault and apologized and promised to do better.
Several weeks later I am left feeling no better about her competence. I am told she is an excellent internist, but very conservative. I think once you lose confidence in your doctor it's time to change and that is what I will be doing.
Yes, we need to be our own advocates. But doctors have responsiblity, and a lot of it. What are we supposed to do if and when the time comes when we are no longer capable of thinking two steps ahead of the doctors and trying to figure things out? What will we do if we can't trust our doctors to look out for us? It's a sad situation and I can certainly relate.
Laura and I have not made it back to Panama just yet but we think about your great hospitality and sense of humor from time to time... Your friends here in Chicago at AMAA let me know about your set back but to quote a big joker I met just about a year ago now at the gate of a Panamanian mountain paradise, "you are only a "short ride" from the City for some good times". Hang in there for the ride and we all look forward to sharing more good times with you soon.
I hope to make it back to Pananma again and take you up on your kind offer to let me hang at your place and mooch off your good graces again but better to get better soon and come visit us in here in Chicago just as soon as you can!
I read your entry for today and applaud the fact that you are trying to be objective about the ten years you suffered this "condition" and are forgiving enough to move on. It shows me that your character is even better than I had thought! Hang in there my friend....every day will be better! We will call you in the next week or so to come and visit....just remember not to overdo....its important! 8D Cam & Rich
Glad to hear that you are doing and well and bouncing back as we all knew that you would do. You told me of the surgery and what had been happening, but you hadn't told me to the full extent. Tonight you sent me this web address and I realized the enormity of the challenges you faced. Leave it to you to downplay the things you were facing.
You have some challenging days ahead of you, know that you are welcome to give me a shout whenever you need. Even if it is simply to say hi, you are welcome to call.
I hope to hear from you very soon.
It is unbelievable that your "primary" diagnosed you with COPD!!! That is scary. Thank God they discovered the real problem when they did!!! Jim, take care and you continue in our prayers.
Love Ellen and Dominic
So glad things are going well and you are getting back into a saddle. Notice I didn't say "the saddle". You have the right attitude, of course. Keep on the straight and narrow and you will be fine. Let me know when you are up to talking.
Jim Sounds like you are definitely on the right path. We're so happy to hear that you are on the "road to recovery" and will get stronger day by day. Take care and remember we love you dude!!! Ellen and Dominic
Jimmy, so good to hear you are doing well. Judging by your extraordinary writing skills your great mind is as always at its best.. Hopefully your heart will follow suit with a speedy recovery. Kyle and I are thinking of you and wishing the best as you go through this health drama. We love you, Judith
I will be sending you some Reiki today. I hope you give your body exactly what it needs to recover...relaxation. Dont forget to check the E.T.P.S for a quick recovery. It can help stimulate bone growth. If there is anything I can do please let me know.