Having been diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis in April 2002, I have seen more than my fair share of the insides of hospitals.
Add to MS the fact that I have had epilepsy since 1972 and you can see the pressure mounting. Finally, six years ago I was diagnosed with a heart condition. Now, atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular heartbeat, may not in itself seem that serious. However, the various tests requested by my cardiologist back then revealed a scar in one if the chambers of my heart, a scar showing that at some time I had suffered a heart attack.
Not all heart attacks are accompanied by pain, the cardiologist told me. “You must have had a silent attack,” he said.
A what? What’s a silent heart attack? Well, he explained, a heart attack does not always have obvious symptoms, such as pain in your chest, shortness of breath and cold sweats. In fact, a heart attack can actually happen without a person knowing it. It is called a silent heart attack, or medically referred to as silent ischemia (lack of oxygen) to the heart muscle.
Since moving to Spain last year I had not seen a cardiologist until today. Seeing me for the very first time and with no access to my UK medical history, he gave me a thorough check-up including an electrocardiogram.
By the time he finished, although confirming my heart does have an irregular beat and that the scar does exist, he said that the scar is very small and all heart chambers and valves are working perfectly.
Then he not only changed one of my heart medications but also cut another out altogether, saying it is not needed.
Overall, a great result and a ‘thumbs up’ for my heart before my trip to Moscow next month to have a medical assessment to see if HSCT is a reasonable treatment for me.