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July 25, 2013 / Ang

My Cool Cardiologist

So I have a cardiologist who’s basically JUST out of med school. He’s 31 according to my internet research haha. He finished his fellowship in 2012. So he’s pretty new.

He’s also ridiculously awesome in general. He levels with me – he’s straightforward. When I ask him a hard question he gives me the answer, even if I might not like it. This happened when he first gave me my diagnosis back in March and I begged him to tell me what I had to do to be normal again – and he told me that he wasn’t sure I ever could be. He seems to actually know what he’s talking about and know of the various treatments that are possible.

I’m just difficult. Yes, I admit it. I’m difficult. If you aren’t getting me answers as quickly as I would like or you’re giving me medicines that I feel might make you just a little stupid in that decision making process – I’ll probably secretly be bitching, even if it’s only to myself or the internet. But that’s not why I’m difficult in this case. In this case, it’s because it feels like every treatment that falls into the norm is just completely ineffective – or even detrimental.

When I was first having tachycardia they started me on a calcium channel blocker pretty much as soon as they could. I got my holter monitor and my first echo done, and started the medicine. There was a slight problem with this, though, it never had an effect on the tachycardia. My heart just kept racing, so my PCP took me off of it. After the tilt table they told me to take salt tablets – terrible headaches ensued. After I was told that I had POTS and syncope Dr. Cool Cardiologist tried this medication called Florinef – but I always remembered it as fludrocortisone acetate. And I started getting terrible headaches. I was getting hit or miss headaches that seemed weird before starting the medicine anyway, but they were definitely worse on the medicine. So I stopped taking it and waited until my next appointment. There, he decided to try this medicine that’s technically for IBD – Levsin. But I’m still having tachycardia, ALL THE TIME. It’s awful in my book. Just because I’m nervous about how high my heart rate is regularly, and how it sets off alarms if I happen to be in the ER. But there’s nothing lowering it. So yeah, he doesn’t know what to do. Especially because everything we’re trying is resulting in headaches. So I’m off to the Cleveland Clinic.

That’s not even why he’s cool, though. I called the office yesterday saying, “Just so you know I changed my migraine preventative because we’re not sure if the Topamax was wreaking havoc on my body or it was just freaking out all on its own. I don’t know if the medicine just hasn’t been able to combat the possible side effects or if it’s just not working, so I’ll let you know after a few weeks without the Topamax in my body? And I’m worried about how high my heart rate is (although the monitor might be off – after all it’s claiming I’m hypertensive sometimes when I usually have low blood pressure), and about exercising with it that high. How high is too high?”

SURPRISE! Instead of getting a call back from the nurse I got a call FROM MY DOCTOR. How awesome is that? He took the time out of his day to call me and talk to me about my concerns. He claims it’s fine if my heart rate goes up to 212 if I’m active, and didn’t pull what I’ve heard of some doctors doing where they say “Go to the ER IF…” Instead I get to just continue to exist and try to handle my symptoms myself the way I’m used to, calling over if I need to. He wants me to keep him updated on how things are going and he’s really glad that I’m seeing the autonomic neurologist so soon. He flat out told me, “Well yeah, we could have tried UPMC but at this rate it’s go big or go home. You need to be seeing the best specialists we can try to find.” Fantastic, right? I love the man.

I also saw his brother this afternoon and went, “WHOA – there ARE two Dr. Fakhris.” And they’re both cardiologists. Legit. They look a lot alike too – but one has facial hair.

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