WHOLE BODY HEALTH: I KNEW IT! – Marilyn Armstrong

I was sure that the damage to my heart was related to the drugs they gave me for cancer which had been dealt with just four years earlier.

Tonight, on CBS News, they are finding a direct link between breast cancer and cardiomyopathy. The wrong chemo, an incorrect amount of radiation, the wrong drugs and what has kept them from making the connection before was that the heart damage often doesn’t show up for years following cancer … as long as a decade. My time was 4 years.

I had been saying to other people I know who are having heart issues … specifically myopathy … involving damaged valves and thickened ventricle walls which make pumping more (and more) inefficient who also — earlier — had cancer. Asking them if they think the treatment they got for cancer may have been the starting point for their heart issues. The answer is a long pause and “I don’t know. I always wonder about that.”

I have always said that the problem is that we are not pieces that you put together like a jigsaw puzzle. Everything is connected to everything else. I’m sure of it and no, I don’t have statistics to prove it. It takes dozens of years for these stats to finally be proven, but you know. You are just sure, but you’re not a medical professional and you don’t have the facilities to run the tests.

I did put the idea to my oncologist and all three of my cardiologists. While no one would confirm my feeling that these issues were not separated, they were also unwilling to tell me “no way, can’t happen.” Because they see how many people who have previously had cancer show up with cardiomyopathy. You don’t necessarily need years of testing to spot a trend.

Meanwhile, as more of us sense the increasing tendency of the medical community to use smaller specialization, the rest of us are sensing this approach is inconsistent with reality as we feel it.

I have been saying for a long time that there aren’t a lot of things wrong with me. There’s one thing and all these other issues are merely a part of a much bigger picture.

I can’t prove it, but I believe it. Doctors need to look at us as a unit. They need to look at all of our working parts. Not just look at our hips without making sure the spine is functioning. To not look at one’s hands without understanding how the wrist is coping or for that matter, the shoulder and elbow.

It is incredibly frustrating to know in your gut that there’s something important happening in your body, but no one is LOOKING at your whole body.

23 thoughts on “WHOLE BODY HEALTH: I KNEW IT! – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. I believe all medications do something to some part of your body. My husband is a heart patient and has developed kidney problems – probably due to all the meds he takes and the procedures he endured to fix his heart. After all – medicines are chemicals.

    Like

    • Yes, absolutely. I am maxed out on BP medications. I can’t take any more. I am so glad I found something that helps the pain in my back because I can’t take opioids — even if they would let me. They make me sick. The only one I could take, they stopped manufacturing.

      I try not to think about what other parts of me are getting messed up by all these meds. But there’s not much choice at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The BP meds I have to take. And the sleeping medications, I also need because otherwise, I hurt too much to sleep. But I seem to have found a balance. I’m not pain-free, but I’m more functional than I was just a few weeks ago. And those daily migraines magically disappeared, too. I KNEW the headaches had something to do with arthritis. That’s what I mean. If something is wrong with something as central as your spinal cord, other parts of you are going to be unhappy too.

      Like

    • With cancer, you don’t have a lot of choices. Not if you want to live. But in a lot of situations, they just don’t look to see what else is happening. When my hips were really BAD, I finally absolutely insisted they do an Xray of my back because I KNEW it wasn’t really my hips. It was the spine.

      “But I don’t DO backs,” she said.

      How can you work with bad hips and not take a look at the spine? That doesn’t even make any sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Chemo and radiation help to remove whatever cancer while doing damage in other places. My friend needed a hip replacement as a result of chemo, but was told that the future might hold that for her, which it did about 10 years after her treatment.

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  3. It seems a bit wrong to ‘like’ this, under the circumstances, but I do agree…the tendency towards specialism is great for treating specifics, but the whole needs taking into consideration. I had months of physio for painful hips before they bothered with an x-ray that showed the lack of disc tissue remaining in the spine. I almost daren’t speak to the doc about the numb hand…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had “bursitis.” Yes, it WAS bursitis but it was caused by a badly broken S1 vertebra. At this point, I assume that it’s all related to my spine. it’s an awful mess and while they can’t do an MRI, even basic Xrays show damage. Ironically, I didn’t DO ANYTHING. I didn’t fall or have an accident. It just fell apart.

      The next three vertebrae (upward) were fused when I was 19, so they are still hanging together, more or less, but that bottom S1 vertebra wasn’t (as far as they knew) in such bad condition. Now they CAN’T fix it. There is too much arthritis and damage from the original surgery, so I have to consider all of this as “my new normal” and just … cope.

      After a while, you just know that — meaning well — the doctors aren’t going to get it right. Because they AREN’T LOOKING FOR IT.

      This specialism is setting medicine backward by 50 years. We can’t fix things because we’ve forgotten how to LOOK at a whole body!

      Like

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