Have a heart …

  • Monday / May 3, 2010
Have a heart ... 1

Have a heart …

Have a heart ...The sins of the father are visited on the son, or so it is said. I don’t know if his sins are, but I certainly know his genes are raising some red flags.

It’s been a crazy month. I’ve spent a good part of it trying to find an orthopedic surgeon to look at my shoulder, my MRI, and give me some answers. I finally found one & I do have some answers. Dr Roberts my new ortho-surge injected my shoulder with cortisone. Yippee-o-ti-aye motherfucker! And it’s working. The pain is subsiding, swelling going down, but there’s still “clicking”. Two out of three ain’t bad! So I’m waiting on a followup with Dr R. But I digress.

Let’s get to it. The heart of the matter. And yes the matter is my heart. And maybe it’s not. Let me explain. A few weeks ago I went to see my primary care physician Dr Rosenfield. It was time for my monthly blood tests. I’m tested every month to monitor a whole host of things, testosterone level, cholesterol, vitamin D level, lipids etc etc. But this time the phlebotomist told me, “Dr Rosenfield wants to add one more test. It’s a new blood test to see if you have any heart issues”. Um. Okay?

What the phlebotomist didn’t tell me, was this test was a new “gene expression” test. The “Corus CAD Gene Expression Test” … to be exact. Huh?

The Corus CAD Gene Expression Test measures the expression levels of 23 genes. An algorithm is applied to the gene expression results to calculate a score that indicates the likelihood of the presence of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) in a patient. The score ranges from 0-40.

The Corus CAD Gene Expression Test is based on CardioDx’s clinical validation study. The study analyzed 526 non-diabetic patients who had no previously diagnosed myocardial infarction or revascularizaton, and who presented with chest pain, suspected anginal equivalent to chest pain, or were assessed to be of high risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). The prevalence of CAD in this study was 36.5%. The result of the test should be used by clinicians in conjunction with other tests and clinical information in their assessment of a patient’s CAD.

Republished from the Corus CAD Patient Report

There are a couple of thing that bother me here. The first was that the test was not fully explained to me. Second, the fact that my genes are now part of my medical record. Um … who has access to this info, can it be used for anything else? Say … to deny me medical treatment because of my genetic medical predisposition? This is all too gray for me and will require some research on my part. But I still digress.

My father died of a heart attack at 62. My paternal grandfather died of a massive hear attack at 72. Notice a theme here? So … wouldn’t it be safe to say that I am predisposed to “heart issues” and leave it at that? I NEEDED a gene expression test, that’s NOT covered by insurance to tell me something I AND my doctor already knew? This makes me incredibly angry! Angry at my genetics, and angry at my doctor for not fully explaining the test BEFORE I got it.

Long story short … I went for a nuclear stress test last Tuesday. On Thursday I met with my new cardiologist Dr Yeoh (pronounced Dr Yo!). The results of the test were good. But good for this test means that the amount of blockage would have to be greater than 70% for anything to show up. Hmmm. So now I have to go for two more tests. One of which may not be covered by insurance.

Dr Yeoh wondered why my blood pressure was so high? Grrrrr. Also, what my primary was calling “acceptable” cholesterol levels, were not low enough for the Yeoh-ster. So now I’m taking Zetia once a day to help get my number closer to 180. And if that wasn’t bad enough … I got the … “at your age, and with your predisposition” you should be taking a baby aspirin a day.

I know it’s better to be safe than sorry. (Really?) All I want to do is live my life. When it’s done it’s done. Wrap me up like a “big blunt” and throw me on the funeral pyre. Done. When my grandfather was told in his 60’s to stop drinking and smoking …. he “just said no”. He said, and I paraphrase, “If I can’t live my life my way, I’d rather not live at all.” And that about sums it up. He lived how he wanted and died how he wanted. On the day he died, he visited all the family graves, putting down flowers. He came home had my grandmother fix him some tea. They both were watching some game show on TV. The last words out of his mouth were ” … bitch if you keep answering questions like that … you’ll never make any money.” With that … he looked over to my grandmother … and just keeled over. And that was that. That was my grandfather, telling it like he saw it, right up to his last breath.

I think that’s what’s bugging me the most … the “at your age” thing. This whole mortality “thing”. Most times I’m still feeling 30-something rather than 50-something on a downhill slide into cremation.

I think this post was more a venting of hazardous waste, more than an “update”. But it’s all good.

You just have to have a heart …

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Joe Streno

artist . musician . photographer . apple computer consultant . residing on planet earth with his three cats rudie, rocco, & rose & living to tell tales about it

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