Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Little More on the Hole in My Heart...

You all are the sweetest blog friends ever. Between you all saying such nice things about all the skirt outfits I wore in that last post and the kind, loving things you all said regarding my health issues, I truly feel blessed. THANK YOU!

But I would feel terrible if some of you in any way were stressed for me because of this whole "hole in my heart" situation. Yes, truly, you don't want to hear a doctor say, "yep, there's a hole in your heart," but if you *have* to have a hole in the heart, supposedly this is the one you want to have. It is called a PFO, which stands for Patent Foramen Ovale. Yeah, sounds pretty suck-tastic, right? Well, it turns out something like 10% to 20% of the US population has this congenital defect. At birth, this little hole connecting the right and left ventricles is meant to close shut, and for some people, it just doesn't.

Great, right? So now you are thinking, "Dina is set, no worries." Well, maybe not. Turns out that my migraines with aura (as opposed to migraines without aura) put me in a specific group of people...HALF of all migraine with aura people (including me) have a hole in their heart (PFO), and that is pretty darn significant. And there is some proof that those with migraine with aura who also have PFO have LARGER openings than the normal PFO population.

So why is this significant? Turns out that the blood that is pumped into your right ventricle is old, de-oxygenated blood that has travelled all over your body picking up clumps of cells (like blood clots) and other kind of nasty chemicals. After the blood goes into your right ventricle, it is then *supposed* to go to your lung for purification and oxygenation, kind of like a visit to the spa...aaah. Well, if you have a PFO that has an opening that is all open for business (like it sounds like some of us with the aura migraines might have), the *bad* blood sneaks on over to the left ventricle without its purification ritual. Bad, bad, blood, and bad, bad, PFO! Why is it bad, you might wonder? Well...that bad blood, full of nastiness and clots can go to the brain which could cause the brain to have a bad set of chemical reactions (possibly) leading to the aura portion of the migraine...and (for all you Bret Michaels fans) if a clot gets in your brain, well, oops...there's a STROKE. Oh, goody.

Oh! And check this out...I am on a daily regimen of baby aspirin already because my blood has a tendency to clot because I have a disorder which (in the end) can lead to blood clotting.

Sigh. I am like one big walking stroke, migraine magnet. (Interesting fact...folks with migraines and auras have a MUCH greater chance of having a stroke...hmm...I think you can see the connection now!)

Here's the kind of stinky deal...there is a LOT of controversy on whether or not to surgically close the hole. Many doctors are wary of it, saying don't mess with something unless there is REALLY GOOD proof of other words, we don't have enough proof that PFO causes migraine with aura, so don't close up the PFO if that is the only thing you are worried about.

You can, though, have your PFO closed if you have had strokes. Oh, nice. So all I have to do is have a STROKE to get something that probably, most likely is causing most of my migraines closed? Swell. Fortunately for me it appears my neurologist is a pro-closing the PFO doctor(from what she said to me when I met her--smart lady, btw, totally knew within 10 minutes of meeting me to check for this).

I have read (did a LOT of research yesterday) that many people in EXACTLY. THE. SAME. SITUATION. as me had their PFOs closed in some clinical trial or another and guess what? Yep...they feel great, major reduction in migraines, much lower risk of stroke and many forms of heart disease.

Oh, and because my life is serendipitous, look what the New York Times wrote about the day AFTER I got my diagnosis? Yeah, someone up there must have

Anyhoo, that is all for tonight. I will get back to fashion, but what is more fashionable than being able to actually post every day because I feel fan-freaking-tastic? Yeah, I thought so! ;)

P.S. Had another one today, yep, a migraine. Have them enough that I am starting to think I may be close to the chronic headache label.

P.P.S. If you are a doctor who reads my blog and I totally screwed something up, please let me know!!! I want to be accurate!!! :)