[2010-10-18] Talking to cardiac specialist again


An email to family members:

Hello team :),

I got an aswer from my family doctor, dr. V, who I met yesterday and whom I informed about my condition (he returned from abroad on Saturday last week).

Hello g.d.,
everything suggests that there is no reason to postpone surgery, rather to get rid of that tumor, the sooner the better. I will talk to dr. S. Post-surgery prognosis are very good and it is a good idea to avoid possible complications that the growing tumor could cause.

I also visited Dr. S this morning and we had a 10-15 min talk even without any appointment. I asked him some questions:

Q: Dr. S, you mentioned on Friday, that "God smiled at me". What did you exactly mean by that?
A: g.d., I sent you to the echo test because I wanted to know if your heart walls were thicker than usual what would help to explain why you have higher blood pressure. And we found this "mass" in your heart. We were very lucky (you were lucky - blessed by God). We usually find Mixoma after it causes damage (stroke, heart attack, etc.). In your case we found it before it could cause any visible harm - and it is a "God's smile".

Q: In the report you wrote "Likely left atrial Myxoma". Why "likely"? What else it could be.
A: Until I see it under my microscope I cannot be 100% sure. That's why I wrote "likely". But I am pretty sure that it is Myxoma.

Q: Can the size of Myxoma only grow or it can also shrink?
A: It can only grow.

Q: Is it solid? Is the surface "smooth"?
A: No, it is a "sponge". The danger is, that after becoming larger, a part of it can disconnect and cause damage in you brain or heart.

Q: What is a higher life threatening risk
- to live with it, or
- to go for surgery
A: Life threatening risk to go for surgery is 1-2%. And after surgery you will be "back in normal". Life threatening risk not to go for surgery, I believe, is higher and will be higher by every month, every year what you will be alive. If you would be 95 years old, I would say, live with it. But you are only 65.

Q: How often do you find Myxomas during the echo test?
A: 5-10 in a year. It is very rare.

Q: If you would be in my situation, what would you do?
A: I would go for surgery "tomorrow". Although it is still a serious surgery (heart), it belongs to a category of "lighter", more "routine" surgeries. I do not see any reason why NOT to have surgery.

Q: If everything goes OK with the surgery, how long, after surgery, I would be back in "normal condition"?
A: After 6 weeks - it is still "heavy" surgery.

Q: What are the next steps?
A: I already sent a request for angiography and they will call you for appointment. I also let Dr. R know about you and he will contact you as well.

Q: when should I expect their calls?
A: Next week, I guess.

Q: Should I do something special until I get phone calls?
A: No, live a "normal" life as you did before. Myxoma did not appear in your heart "just" lately, so you probably lived with it for longer time. So, relax, wait for phone calls, talk to Dr. Cook and go for surgery.

(after a short pause)
If you would try to refuse the surgery I would "beat you" until you would say Yes (and he smiled)

I thanked him, let the office, went for a walk with Mala (in the forest close to his office) and went to play volleyball. I played quite well. I just had to think, when I was "shorter of breath", is this because of Myxoma? One week ago, when I did not know anything about Myxoma, it was clear, - I am an old guy, I have a right to be "shorter of breath".

So, this is my story and I am going "back-to-normal-life" until the phone calls from angio and/or from dr. R

I love you all.