The Beat Goes On

Since there’s nothing more riveting than reading about someone else’s health problems, I thought I’d close out the year with an update on my cardiomyopathy adventures.

Go ahead — pop some corn and grab a beer. I’ll wait.

So, since my last discussion of heart stuff, I spent about six weeks abstaining from alcohol, had two separate tests to determine my ejection fraction, and have received zero definitive answers. But I’m okay.

After a high-risk OB advised me of the dangers of baby-having with Type 1 diabetes and cardiomyopathy, she sent me to another cardiologist for a second opinion. And this cardiologist — who looks like Jodie Foster and sounds like Paula Poundstone, by the way — advised me to stop drinking for several weeks before I underwent more tests, just to make sure that alcohol isn’t a contributing issue for my heart problems.

Three weeks and many mopey evenings later, I visited the office for a MUGA scan, which is pretty cool in an I-can’t-believe-the-things-they-do-with-medicine way. First, the technician inserted an IV in my arm and drew a small vial of blood. Then, he sent me to a waiting room down the hall to watch Divorce Court and drink some water while he zapped the blood with radioactive thingies. Fifteen or so minutes later, he injected the radioactive blood cells back into my arm while I relaxed on a moving table. A giant camera moved around and took pictures of all that nuclearized blood moving through my heart, giving him and my cardiologist a better understanding of its strength.

“This doesn’t look like anything to get too excited about to me,” he said as he scanned the results. “But then again, I don’t have an MD behind my name.”

It was a small assurance, but I’d take it. I went back to speak to Jodie Poundstone the next week, and she echoed what the technician had said, and followed it with: “I don’t have any answers for you.” She didn’t see a significant change from my last echocardiogram, so she wanted to do another test — another damn echocardiogram. Which meant I’d have to go another three weeks obsessing over my health issues without a glass of wine to take the edge off. And in the meantime, no one had managed to get my records transferred from my previous cardiologist.

I was so frustrated. While my friends sat around on the weekends with cocktails and cold beers, I joined with my grapefruit La Croix, bitching to whoever would listen. “It must be SO NICE to be a Doctor! I mean, you don’t have to actually FIGURE ANYTHING OUT, right? You just order tests! And then when you don’t get a clear answer, you order MORE tests! And then you  get a billion dollars!” (I must have been a joy to spend a Friday evening with.)

I went back for my echocardiogram several weeks later, and then back again for another follow-up. Jodie Poundstone still didn’t see any difference — my ejection fraction was hovering in the low 50s, which is, as she called it, “low normal.”

“You’re asymptomatic, and you’re stable, and it doesn’t look like your EF has ever been lower than 49. I’d say keep taking the medication, and it looks like pregnancy is still going to be pretty risky for you.”

It was pretty much what I expected her to say. “Okay,” I replied.

“There’s always adoption and surrogacy and lots of other options for children,” she assured me.

“Yeah, I know. I keep telling my husband we can just order a baby off the Internet.”

“Well,” she said. “It’s not quite that easy.”

Yes, she thought I was serious. She really thought I was going to try to order a human infant from Babies R Us and have it shipped to my doorstep via UPS or StorkExpress or whatever.

It's the widest selection of babies around! On sale this weekend only!

She asked me if I had any other questions. Yes, I did. “Does this mean I can have beer now?” A girl’s got to have something to look forward to, right?

“Yes,” she said. “You can. This is not alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy. We still don’t know what caused it, but it does not appear to be influenced by alcohol.”

And that was that. I haven’t been back to the high-risk OB yet — and I’m not sure there’s any reason to. I’m stable (cardiologically speaking, at least), I feel healthy, I’ve got a solid supply of medication, and I’m okay. Christmas and work and a new house (and diabetes) have kept me busy, and I have a lot of things to be excited about — particularly the TeamWILD WILDfit program I just signed up for.

I may not be able to order a baby on the Internet, but there still are a lot of options out there for me. It could be that I don’t know what I’m talking about, or I don’t know what I’m missing, or I’m in denial, but I don’t feel like I need to have my own biological child, you know? Am I crazy?


In any case, I’m looking forward to 2012 being a relatively calm year (fingers crossed), in which I can get used to new realities and get better at adjusting to old ones. At the very least, I get to ring in the new year with real live champagne.

21 comments on “The Beat Goes On

  1. Glad you’re ok with how things went and happy to hear you can have a drink! Best advice I ever got was from a diabetic Catholic priest who told me to allow myself a bit of hard liquor every now and then, just to help with the stress, worries, anxiety we get with this chronic illness business. 🙂 Looking forward to seeing what your parenting plans turn out to be!

  2. k2 says:

    Listen sister, you are not crazy (at least not in that way,) for being more than open to adoption. Actually I think you’re pretty awesome! I’m glad to hear that you’re handling life’s curve balls and hitting them out of the park! I’m going to raise a glass in the air on this fine Friday evening and say: Cheers Jacquie! *CLINK*

  3. Sara says:

    Echoing the “cheers”!

    Can’t wait until February!

  4. Mike Hoskins says:

    I raise a mug of beer in honor of your awesomeness! Cheers, my friend!

  5. My father died this summer. I get a lot of sympathy looks from people, but the truth is my parents divorced when I was 2, he was abusive, and I haven’t spoken to him since my 16th birthday – I had zero relationship with him (and no desire for one), so his death was almost a nonissue. It was as though a stranger had died; sad for his family who knew him, I’m sure, but it didn’t really affect my life.

    All that’s to say, hell no you’re not crazy. Biology is, as far as I’m concerned, a nonissue. (And for the likes of us, biology is kind of a dickhead.) You love your husband more than anything, and you guys aren’t blood related. I’m closer to all my wonderful friends than I am to the majority of my biological family. I’m sorry for the news you got and what you’re going through, but I did want to chime in that biology isn’t really the bees knees. Loving someone has very little to do with their gene sequence and everything to do with who they are.

  6. I’m glad to hear you’re physically Ok, and I give you a warm shoulder squeeze because you’ve been through a lot mentally & momally (yes, I did just make that up).

    You know, sometimes all we can do is roll with the punches and wonder what the big guy upstairs has planned for us.

    Lots of love sister! Hang in there!

  7. Oh! I forgot! I got excited when you said you’d be doing some TeamWILD stuff this year! I am too! I think I’m going to try the cycling program… *high-five* for us! 🙂

  8. There are plenty of children who need parents. You are not crazy. Having a biological child is the lazy person’s way out. I know. We did it twice. I am really lazy. Also keep in mind that I am male so there is a 99.99999999999% chance that I have no idea what I am talking about. In fact, don’t even read this comment. Just skip to the next one.

  9. Tina says:

    Great attitude, Jacquie. Hope 2012 is your most fabulous year ever.

  10. Akis says:

    I am the first person that would say, biological 99%, and when there is no option at all left, adopt. But as my wife and I were driving along with the little one in the back, I threw one of those screwball, silly questions at her and got an answer I was not expecting! The question was: “Our son is now 4 1/2. Four and a half of our happiest years because we were blessed with a boy that is pure love, fun and joy. Now today, some lady comes to your door knocking with a 4 1/2 year old boy holding her hand claiming that someone switched tags way back then and THIS is your son, DNA proof and all! ….what do you do???” And I got the opposite answer of what I was expecting. She told me that she would send her along her way and tell here that the kid in my house is MY son and not this one, no matter what DNA tests say…. I think I agree!

    Also, dont look into things too deeply, you will never be satisfied! If your levels are good and you are satisfied with the way you feel, go ahead and do it! Besides, beer consumption is almost mandatory if you want to breastfeed!

  11. Karen G says:

    Nope, doesn’t sound one bit crazy to me!!! I hope you enjoyed toasting the New Year with a big bubbly glass of champagne!!

  12. Auntly H says:

    I am more than a little bit in awe of you right now.

    also, GO WILD!!!!!

  13. i am so glad the cardiologist gave you a thumbs up! whew! i’ve been worried about you. glad to hear you got positive news.

    hope the new year is nice and calm for you both. ❤

  14. also, i forgot to say that I AM SO PROUD OF YOU for doing team WILD! go, jacquie, go! 🙂

  15. Rachel Mercurio says:

    Thank you for updating your readers on what’s been going on. This must have been a very trying past couple of months for you. 😦 I am glad you didn’t receive horrible news, and you are definitely not crazy. You’re not alone at all!

  16. Stacey D. says:

    I’m so glad that the results showed nothing seriously wrong. That is indeed great news! And even better that you can enjoy some drinks again!! But do not think you are one bit of crazy for not needing to have a biological child. You will make a fantastic mother one day, no matter how it comes to be 🙂

  17. Marla says:

    If you do look into surrogacy check out options for surrogates in India. Know a couple who just had twins that way. They ship your fertilized eggs to India and implant there. Less expensive than usa option. Look at documentary called “Google Baby”. Best of luck. You are a funny, funny gal who like the occasional cocktail. You’ll make a great mom!

  18. sysy says:

    Your so not crazy (well maybe in a good way…) Adoption and other options are so awesome 🙂 I was planning to adopt until a surprise popped up. I am so excited that you joined the wildfit program, I’ll be really interested to hear how that goes! I’m happy for your other news, too. Hope all continues going well 😀

  19. shannon says:


    but srsly folks, i just want to thank you for your honesty in sharing these parts of your journey with us. you have so many people on your side, no matter what your future holds.

    also, your description of a MUGA scan sounds like a superhero origin story to me. wow!

  20. victoria says:

    Before I finish this comment, yay for stable! Right? Better would have been great, but not worse is fantastic. OK, now onto other matters — my favorite part of this post was the good doctor thinking you were serious about ordering a child online. It’s as if they take the funny bone out of a doctor’s arm their fourth year of med school. Why can’t we have a bunch of Grey’s Anatomy kids running around? For real. And my second favorite part was you being able to drink wine again. Cheers. *clink *clink

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