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The Waiting Game

Apr 5

Posted by: ACHA
4/5/2012 11:23 AM  RssIcon

By Becca Atherton

Hi everyone, I just wanted to give you all a quick update about the heart cath and pacemaker replacement I got a few weeks ago. During the cath, I had a horrible asthma attack and they had to give me a bunch of asthma medications while I was still sedated. The doctors took a look at some of the pressures in my heart and they aren't too happy about them. They are hoping, though, that it was just because I had eaten a bunch of salt the night before (I splurged! Haha.) and because of the difficulty with my asthma.

I have to go and get a CT scan in a few weeks to see if the numbers have gotten any better since then. I am back on my low salt diet and I am really monitoring my asthma closely now. I just hope that the numbers weren't “real,” as the doctors liked to say.

I'd really appreciate your thoughts during this time. If the numbers are “real” and my heart is getting worse, than the next step is to go back and talk with the transplant doctor and I am not ready for that step. Not ready at all.

I like to think that I handle this kind of stuff pretty well, but when it comes to the idea of getting a transplant, I don't know how to deal with it at all. So I'd love to be able to put it off as long as possible. I want to thank you all for being there for me through all of this; I really appreciate it.

Becca Atherton was born with tetralogy of Fallot, pulmonary atresia and pulmonary hypertension. She was adopted as a baby into a large multiracial family, where she is the second youngest. Becca was given a 13% chance of surviving to the age of five, but she is 19 years old and a college freshman at her local community college. She loves to read, perform American Sign Language to music and write on her blog.

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5 comment(s) so far...


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Re: The Waiting Game

My thoughts are with you, Becca. The waiting game is never fun, this I understand. I also have TOF (with VSD) and I have gone through three surgeries myself. It's never easy, but you sound like a strong girl and I can imagine that you have an incredible support system.

Good luck! :)
-Krista

By Krista M. on   4/5/2012 11:57 AM
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Re: The Waiting Game

Becca, I applaud you for "sticking with it" through these trials and big decisions.
I hope you can avoid transplant, but if it comes to that, I encourage you to seriously consider doing it, because you appear to be young yet, and expecting that you would recover well, you'd probably feel a lot better. After fully recovering from the surgery and the rehab, you may be very glad that you did it.
(My brother had heart tx last Dec. 31 and he's doing very well).
My experience is that they ususally do not choose females after age 60 or so (I know you're not that age yet) and I personally find the way tx patients are chosen to be very sexually biased. Transplanted males are 72%, but transplanted females are only 28%. Very unfair as I think of it. My feeling is, the more females who receive heart transplants, the better. This bias really makes me angry.
For three long years I was "evaluated" for transplant, and finally turned down. Made me angry. My heart was in extremely bad condition, and where I had the evaluations they just finally let me go (to die).
Fortunately, I got this heart pump (lvad) immediately afterward, and I feel really great! It's a nuisance to carry around all the time, though.
Whatever you ultimately decide, I wish you the best health that you can determine for yourself.
With love and thoughts for good health,
Connie

By Connie on   4/6/2012 11:24 AM
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Re: The Waiting Game

Becca, you are my hero :) Strongest person I have ever known. My thoughts are always with you!

Meghan :)

By Meghan Bristyan on   4/6/2012 8:41 AM
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Re: The Waiting Game

m, pleased that you have beaten the odds as we did for over 44 years.

By ken catoe on   4/9/2012 8:35 AM
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Re: The Waiting Game

Hi Becca. Just wanted to register my support for you. I've got TOF too. Made it to 61. My "old" electrically prompted heart is beating with hope and joy for you. Keep us apprised of what's going on. And thanks for the mega-inspiration.

By Randy Hunt on   4/18/2012 10:11 PM

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