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inali (@inali)

Cancer Treatment Induced Heart Disease

Cancer: Managing Symptoms | Last Active: Jul 11, 2020 | Replies (41)

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@inali

Marti,
I completely relate to what you’ve described. I’m grateful for your insights. In fact, due to your mention of the documentary “widow maker’, I sought it out on Amazon and finished viewing it a few minutes ago. Had I this info back in 2017, I would not have consented to the stents — which ultimately proved worthless in keeping the artery open. Their presence may complicate matters for any future surgical intervention.

Most frustrating for me is that, like you, once I hit the 5 year mark and was among the ranks of the statistically cured, I was cut loose by my oncologist and no doc along my life’s journey since that time has alluded to my heart disease risk. In fact I’ve had perfect blood pressure, great cholesterol numbers, don’t drink or smoke, and have always tried to eat healthy with a focus on nutritionally dense foods. Even when I began to experience shortness of breath 4 years ago, the standard heart screening tests (ekg and stress test) were normal, so the first two cardiologists I saw moved me on to other specialists for other tests. When the internist I saw suggested that my symptoms were stress related and recommended I try yoga, I knew I needed to move beyond my town’s medical community. Mind you, through all this testing my breathing grew worse and I was struggling just to function at work. It wasn’t until the cardiac cath procedure (and stenting) that I began to realize just how serious my heart condition was. And a year after that when I continued to get worse, I was able to get a referral to Mayo. One echocardiogram later, I became aware of the existence of RIHD.

A CCS even as recently as 4 years ago could have made a difference. I’ve always disclosed my cancer and radiation therapy when giving my medical history. Not a single physician – until now – has mentioned the potential for heart damage and/or sought to check it out. How is this possible? In my recent digging for research studies and articles, I’ve found a few from as long ago as the 80s.

Kudos to you for learning all this less than 20 years after your cancer. I agree with you that patients need to know. And the medical community needs to be better educated about the need to monitor their patients who fall into this category. At this point, it may be too late for me to expect much from my heart – even with the valve replacement, there’s still the CAD. Time will tell. Meanwhile I busy myself with prepping the house for my surgery recovery period, disposing of extraneous possessions, estate planning, and spending time with my adult children and my grandkids.

BTW, the film was a real eye opener. I note that the doc so vehemently opposed to CCS is still at Cleveland clinic and still steering folks away from it as a diagnostic tool. Shocking!

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Replies to "Marti, I completely relate to what you’ve described. I’m grateful for your insights. In fact, due..."

Inali, It is a very frustrating situation, that we were not monitored regularly w/ our left breast cancer radiation and other high risks. I believe heart ultra sounds every year and/or the CCS every 3 years or so if the patient really wants it would probably have been very advisable. Something to alert us to this very rapidly progressing heart disease due to the condition of the RIHD. I'd better get to bed here soon but wanted to write about something that might be helpful for the artery that "disappeared" as the Dr. said due to the stents you had. Our neighbor recently had a heart attack and had bypass surgery. They took arteries from his legs to graft onto his heart. These keywords (can't send links yet) , if it comes through is another Cleveland Clinic article (just beware of that one Dr. who was so against the CCS, I guess) regarding heart bypass. input these key words into your search engine: Cleveland Clinic Heart Bypass Various Blood Vessels" and the article should appear for you. Sounds like chest wall arteries and mammary arteries might work even better than the leg arteries in bypass surgery. Maybe you've already discussed bypass surgery with your Dr. and that's what you meant when you said the stents and artery "disappearance" may prevent you from getting good surgery results now. But, in case this might be helpful info. for you, it might be worth a look for you . I've been reading more articles pertaining to my situation and thought this article might be helpful somehow for yours.

Hi again Inali, as I read more about CAD and RIHD, I learn more. It seems my article about the "bypass various blood vessels" did NOT seem a good fit for what you are experiencing. So, I apologize for sending that post reply to you a day or so ago.//Starting over and my questions for you, being much further down this road than me. It seems my RIHD/CAD will get worse. I'm trying to figure out some in advance what I'll agree to and not agree to from Drs based on long-term results. I'd hate to have to wait until a full-blown heart attack to do something. But, at least then, it sounds like the Coronary Arteries (CAs) would be intact enough for Bypass surgery. That's where I felt heartened (Pun?) about "bypass various blood vessels" article. But, for you with your bad stent experience, further heart surgery and/or procedures is not for you. I DO hear you and know that you know your own body best, of course. I am just scared about the stent option being a bad one for me too and hurt my surgery chances down the line. SO, here are my questions for you if you'd be so kind as to consider answering them: 1. How long ago did you have your stents inserted? (It sounds like the most recent medication laced stents have less side effects and cause less inflammation) . 2. Did you feel pain because of the stent(s) in coronary arteries? 3. Did you have a heart attack before having the stent(s) inserted? 4. Would you advise people to avoid or shun having stents put in, period, due to your own experiences? 5. When arteries are severely clogged and Drs. suggest angioplasty and stents, are there ALTERNATIVES you know of that I could request instead? I would appreciate anything you could tell me since I'm feeling very anxious about my future too, off and on (soon, I'll head out the door for a walk which will at least relax me some). Hope your day is good. Marti