Monday, April 19, 2010

All Heart & Smiles

Life is so often about attitude.

We all must have Heart. That's a given for those of us who are human beings. We need a Functional one to pump our blood, while we also need to have an Emotional Organ that spurs Spirit, Passion, Laughter & Love. Necessities for a full, quality life.

The same can be said about our mouth. We must have the functional aspects of healthy teeth to chomp down our food and simply be able to talk and smile. But an important half of that same equation is the ability to use our mouth for spreading smiles, and being a voice in whatever we chose to be advocate for.

I like to think I've got both the functionality and emotional aspects covered for both my heart and mouth. But that may not be the case.

Though I'm only 31, I'm worried about already losing a part of that essential equation made up of Functionality and Emotions. Without one part of each equation, you can't have a Healthy Heart or Stellar Smile.

For about a year, I've been noticing some "uncomfortableness" in my chest - to the tune of likely heart burn as no tests or anything else showed problems. Wouldn't exactly describe it as "pain" or "tightnessm," just more of a slight ache or even more of a heart burn - like feeling periodically. Not associated with exercise or eating, to indicate activity or heart burn might be a cause. In recent months, it's been getting noticeably more pronounced. But the blood work and regular doc visits didn't show any visible concerns.

My Endo wanted a stress test, though. We set it up to go through my main PCP first for insurance purposes, rather than initially heading to a specialist for more-expensive testing there. The appointment with Dr. W was the first step. Attaching the sensors to my chest and legs, I layed perfectly still and let the EKG machine do it's thing. EKG Lady told me first that everything looked fine. Dr. W later confirmed that the test showed the electricity was pumping as it needed to, and nothing appeared wrong at this stage. It's only a snapshot of the basics, he cautioned. A treadmill and stress test, followed by something having to do with dye, was also part of the process to get the full picture. He said the word "nuclear" and my mind started to wander, but he reassured me it was nothing radioactive that would turn me into an alien. At least there's that. We parted ways and promised to followup one the stress test was complete.

I was cautiously optimistic, compared to how I'd felt before visiting Dr. W's office.

A day before, a Combo-Punch from both Endo and Dentist gave way to news that diabetes-caused gum disease was likely impacting and bringing down my overall health, to the point that my thryroid is even more out of whack, fatigue has rolled in, and the heart "uncomfortableness" has become more noticeable. Thanks to wonderful caps on insurance that doesn't reset until June, the cost is prohibitive at the moment to get the needed gum treatment. Without it, the chances of heart trouble are higher.

One medical professional said: "If there's a perfect storm of medical issues, you've got it."

Wow. Great. There I go again. Being all revolutionary and unique. CRAP.

Honestly, this all has me on edge.Trying not to over-react and get all concerned about every ache or itch, but I'm scared.

I've just entered my third decade. Yes, a quarter-century of that has been a rocky marriage with Type 1 diabetes. I've had Scary High A1Cs in my younger years and D-Management was always the priority it should have been. The risk and warnings have always been there. Stats tell the reality: Diabetic adults have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than non-PWD, and heart disease was noted on 68% of diabetes-related deaths in one study in recent year.

On the dental side: I've never had the bestest dental habits throughout my years, but I think I've done an average job - apparently not good enough. The past decade has presented numerous cavaties, root canals, and now gum disease. I've been told that diabetes is likely assisting in all of this happening. Those risks have been there, too: diabetic young adults are twice as likely to develop gum disease, and those with A1Cs greater than 9% are nearly three times more likely to have severe periodontitis. Plus, a third of diabetics have severe periodontal disease with loss of attachment of the gums to the teeth. The same goes with gum disease.
But neither the Heart Risks or Gum Fears have never fully set in until now.

The initial EKG was a bit of good news. But seeing the full picture may have to wait. Thanks to insurance caps and a nearly-tapped flex account, I simply can't afford to pay for the stress test on my own at this point. Too many other bills to pay. Some other pressing health issues that must be addressed first. Not to mention the regular D-Supplies required to simply live. Insurance resets June 1, so we'll see what happens then.

A priority will be the gum disease. While dental insurance is ridiculously insufficient and it's tough to pay for that procedure, it's determined that it may be an underlying cause for how I feel. It may be impacting the heart. So, we'll start there. And see what happens.

In the meantime, we wait and try to remain positive. Brushing. Flossing. Eating healty. My D-goal remains the same: to continue pushing for better D-Management and Lower A1Cs. This has been a priority and it will continue to be a main one as I strive for overall health improvement and optimism.

No sense dwelling on the "what ifs" or negative aspects. Even if there is an issue worth stressing over, I'll cross that bridge when the time comes. Knowing that whatever I may not have in Functionality, I'll make up in Spirit, Passion, Love & Life. For as long as I need to.

Life will be full of Heart and Smiles. No matter what the doctors and test results say.


Shannon said...

I'm ashamed to admit how long it's been since I went to the dentist. I'm terrified, but I know I need to do it. Your post just reaffirmed that for me.

I was recently diagnosed as hypothyroid, too. At least there's a reason I've felt so blah lately.

It stinks that you've got to plan your care around your insurance limits, but I'm glad it's getting close to that new fiscal year for you.

Jonah said...

When I was thryotoxic (too much thyroid hormone) it made my heart beat fast and it gave me lots of chest pains. So maybe the thyroid should be stable before a lot of tests get done on your heart.

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