From the Gut to the Heart

I had two doctor appointments today. First I saw my new gastroenterologist, and then I saw my new cardiologist. It was a good day all in all.

The GI specialist was kind and soft spoken. He spent most of the visit listening to my history and taking notes. I told him all about my symptoms, when they started, how often and severe they have been over the years, and that my previous GI doctor had diagnosed me with gastroparesis based solely on my symptoms.

“I’ve never had the dye test done.” I said.

I went on to explain that one of the reasons I was here today was because my gastroparesis symptoms have been “flaring up” the past two months and been much worse than usual.

The doctor listened and agreed that based on my symptoms I do have gastroparesis but he wants me to have the gastric emptying study done to get more information on my exact condition.

We talked a little bit about my eating habits. I explained that I follow a LCHF diet and eat mostly vegetables and easy to digest foods. I eat small portions mostly because I get full so fast and easy.

“I tend to avoid red meat and pork because I can’t digest them anymore and they just make me sick and vomit.”

“Yes, yes.”  He nodded.

We also talked about all the medications I take and then we said goodbye.

“After you have the study done I will call you with the results.” He said, and then walked me out.

After lunch I went to my cardiology appointment. Before the doctor came in they did an EKG on me. It came back good.

This doctor was also very kind. I told him about my heart problems and surgery. He was able to look up my angiogram and surgery records from the hospital, as well as my previous cardiologists file on me.  We talked a lot about why I have heart disease at such a young age and what I can do to keep my heart healthy from here on out.

“We don’t do stress tests here unless there are symptoms of issues.” He explained. “Private practice doctors like to do them every six months or year because it’s how they pay for their practice.”  He went on. “Do you know how much radiation you are getting each time you have a test done? One test is like ten chest x-rays. I have these patients that have seen private doctors for years, getting these unnecessary tests done all that time and then they wonder how they got cancer.”

He went on to say that if I ever need a stress test he will do the medicine one for me instead of the treadmill one because of my neuropathy. I was happy to hear that, my old cardiologist never took my neuropathy to mind.

“I won’t hesitate to order any test I think is necessary, but there is no need to run tests just for the sake of running tests.”

We talked about my blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and medications. Then he ordered an Echocardiogram so he could get a good base line of my heart to begin his treatment of me.

I mentioned to him my history of “fluttering” in my chest and how my previous cardiologist wasn’t concerned that my heart was skipping beats but was keeping an eye on it. I told him it comes and goes and doesn’t follow any pattern so it’s hard to catch, but it’s been happening all my life.  This doctor told me if I have any episodes in the future to call him right away and he will give me a monitor to wear so he can hopefully catch it happening and be able to tell what it is all about.

“You are at high risk for sleep apnea…” He began.

“I have an appointment coming up for a sleep study.” I replied.

“Good, good.”

He decided not to mess with any of my medications, and recapped about scheduling the Echocardiogram, and to call him if I get any flutters.

“I think one year visits will be good from now on.” He said as he walked me out. “If you have any symptoms -I’m sure you are very aware of what they are- come in right away or go to the ER.”

All in all a good day.

 

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