Friday, August 7, 2009

Update on Stephen

Steve has been having alot of pain in his left arm, neck, jaw, and chest. He has had this pain in his arm for 5-6 months. The chest and jaw/neck pain has almost immobilized him for over a month. At our last Doctor's appointment, Dr Ritchie suggested that he needed to do a few tests to find out why Steve is in such pain. So, Aug 3, 4, and 5, Steve went through a battery of tests. The first two tests came back normal, for which we were grateful. The third test came back abnormal, which then promoted more testing. After hours of testing, we now have a better understanding of the extent of the damage that was done to Steve's heart during his massive heart attack on October 22nd.

We knew that the bottom portion of the heart was where his heart attack was. We were told after Steve's bypass surgery that the heart was regenerating itself. However, after 9 months since the surgery, we are now facing the fact that the bottom portion of Steve's heart is nothing but dead heart muscle. We also were informed that one of the bypass grafts had failed and is now completely blocked again. Luckily, the stent that was put in before the surgery was still holding and adequate blood flow is getting to the heart.

Dr Ritchie informed stressed with both of us that there is nothing that Steve cannot do. He has no restrictions. He needs to continue to keep on living, and pushing and working. We just need know his body and when he gets tired, back off for awhile.

We know that Steve will have to live with the pain perhaps for the rest of his life - it is just lack of oxygen to the left side of his upper body. We do have a new medication to help with the pain. He has been home for the last 48 hours (per doctor's orders) and has rested alot. The rest has seemed to help the pain as well. He is bored, wrestless and can't wait to get back to work.

As we have been processing what the tests showed, we have had mixed feelings. Feelings of gratitude that Steve does not have to have another surgery, or another stent at this point...but feelings of great sadness that one of the bypasses has already become blocked and that the heart tissue to the bottom of the heart is totally gone now. We are also sobered that his body is still making cholesterol and blocking arteries, even with all of the diet changes we have made.

New Experience

Conner Prairie in Indiananpolis has a new exhibit - a helium balloon that you can ride in. There is a difference between a Hot air balloon and a Helium balloon. This one is helium - there is no fire to warm and cool the air...there is only a pully that allows the helium balloon to rise and then the pully line pulls the balloon back down to earth. We went over 350 feet in the air and it felt like a hot air balloon ride - the wind was blowing in our face and we were dangling in a basket. Conner Prairie is a wonderful day - and I was able to walk the entire experience with my walking cast.