Thursday, January 26, 2012
FTD, Cancer and now a Heart Attack
I spent 6+ years in medical hell being misdiagnosed as bipolar before being correctly diagnosed and treated for FTD.
Thank God life has gotten easier.
This week started out with a milestone on Monday with my blog crossing 10,000 guests.
On Tuesday I went to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, was informed I’d had a heart attack, spent two hours in surgery having three stents installed.
Now it's Thursday morning and I'm back at my Starbucks office laughing with my buddies.
A friend just arrived at Starbucks, Maxine, who just read the above paragraph, gave me a hug and said out loud “God doesn’t like you”. I started hysterically laughing as well as all the people around me who heard what happened and pronounced, “No, God loves me and I’m still kicking ass and typing away at Starbucks”.
Just another week in the life of an FTD'er.
In the year since I’ve been diagnosed with FTD and found out my brain is liquifying, I’ve have cancer resulting in my prostate being removed and now heart disease resulting in a heart attack with 3 stents being placed.
Guess I’m supposed to be home with a mopey face in bed with a TV remote in hand having visitors saying how lucky I am to be alive and me nodding somberly in agreement. Yeah right, like that’s ever going to happen.
Brain, heart and penis. Three major organs all gone haywire. Now lets look at the end result.
Brain - FTD - In the 1+ year since being diagnosed, I have had many acts from selfless medical professionals and friends to help me back on my feet. Two neurologists, Dr. Kyra Blatt and Dr. Karen Bell of Columbia gave me both excellent advise and treatment. As anyone in FTD world knows, I bust my ass 24 hours a day trying to manage the symptoms of FTD and continue living a life that is slowly slipping from my grasp. It’s working and I’m living and loving life.
Cancer - 4 months after being informed of I had FTD, I learned I had prostate cancer. On April 1st (April fools day) I had my prostate removed. My Doctor, Dr. Ketan Bedani, the director of robotic surgery at Columbia, did the surgery. I’m a man, which entitles and classifies me as an idiot. Who cares about cancer, will my penis work? Four months after surgery I was back in the saddle :-)
Heart - Chest pains started in December. It took me a while to find an excellent cardiologist. I found Dr Merabb at Columbia. Dr. Merabb got me the treatment I needed and helped save my life.
Being alone with FTD, I once again couldn’t follow as circumstances were changing and didn’t realize the severity of the situation. I showed up at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital alone Tuesday at 6:30am to be treated. All the other patients were with someone. When asked who was with me, I told them I was alone. When prompted how I was getting home, I told them I’d take the bus. As usual this FTD’er was looked at cross-eyed, but so what. I didn’t think to tell anyone because it wasn’t a big deal.
20 minutes into the cardiac cauterization, the surgeon Dr. Weiss told me I had had a heart attack, had close to 100% blockage and need 3 stents. I was up through most of the procedure incessantly talking and non-stop chatting in both English and Hebrew to Dr. Weiss who was Israeli. Looking back, I’m surprised they didn’t gag me or knock me out. I was probably driving everyone crazy as usual.
Once the surgery was over, I thanked Dr. Weiss and his staff for saving my life. I was laughing and beaming in the recovery room. Brain disease, cancer and heart disease and I kicked all their asses.
My friends showed up at the hospital and continuously called, texted. and emailed in shock wanting to know why I didn’t tell anyone. I told them I didn’t realize how severe things were getting. My ex-partner Tamara contacted me and told me she putting extra money in my account so I would have healthy and decent food to eat. Tamara and I split up over a year ago and she is still the angel in my corner.
I might be screwing up moment by moment and day by day with FTD, but I’m smart enough to keep myself surrounded by the best and the brightest.
I do due diligence and always manage the best medical staff to treat the litany of challenges the Universe keeps hurling at my body.
Most of my doctors are affiliated with New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical center. I cannot say enough about the doctors and staff at that hospital. They come through time and time again.
Well, I’m sorry, NYC. This FTD’er is alive and kicking and not going anywhere. I’m on a mission to educate, further public awareness and help those with FTD. I’m literally going have to be peeled away from planet earth to be stopped.