Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Big Decision

Some of you may remember the series of tests I had done last year as part of my ongoing adventures in Coronary Artery Disease (which was brought on by my ongoing adventures in End Stage Renal Disease). To refresh your memory, my cardiologist felt it may be time to have a defibrillator placed on the off chance my heart should stop and I should not happen to be in the emergency room at that exact moment, though with me this scenario is not as unlikely as it sounds.

The test results were a mixed bag. The big test, the electrophysiology study where they tried to get my heart out of rhythm, didn't turn out so great. Not only were they successful in throwing off my groove, they had to shock me to get my heart back into rhythm. On the other hand, I keep getting echocardiograms where the results are borderline. My heart function is clearly less than that of a normal person, but not yet to a critical level.

So that's where I've been for the last few months. Data was collected, I was presented with the evidence, and then told "Hey, it's up to you now!"

I'm really not used to this. Though I've had difficult medical choices to make in the past, it's been more of "well, this is obviously what needs to happen right now even though I don't like it". With the defibrillator, things are not so clear cut. I've been told there's around a 99% chance my heart will not suddenly give out, but what happens to the other 1%? Are those good enough odds for me?

I've decided they are. Foolish as it may seem, I've decided to hold off on the defibrillator for a while. I've been putting off making this decision for so long that I think I figured out that means I'm not ready. It's a huge lifestyle change (or so I've been told), and since I've been feeling pretty good most days I'm not ready to change that. Right now I'm opting for quality of life, even if that means taking a risk.

So there.