Welcome to the women’s health month and in the original series, D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies accepted my invitation to write a guest post. She shared her story about a health issue that could have gone unnoticed at great risk to her life. Thankfully she as you know she is now fully recovered from this life threatening heart condition.
Connecting the Dots by D.G. Kaye.
It was the tiniest of dots; not much bigger than the size of a pinhead. Most people wouldn’t even have paid it any mind. But I am not most people.
As a girl who has experienced her fair share of health concerns, I made a pact with myself to practice a healthier lifestyle and to become more in-tuned with my body. I wouldn’t categorize myself as a hypochondriac, but because I have been challenged with cervical cancer, glaucoma, and a near fatal diagnosis of Crohn’s disease at the age of forty, my instincts instruct me to pay close attention to any suspicious “red flags” that capture my attention.
I am blessed to have a most wonderful Naturopath who has guided my health for the last decade and he has given me quality living with my Crohn’s. I was also blessed with an angel; my Dermatologist.
I became fascinated by a tiny red dot on my right forearm. Months had gone by and I was puzzled as to why it was still there, so I kept mental note of it every time I glanced it. I just found it strange that this tiny red, transparent speck had taken up residence on my arm and wouldn’t go away. It never hurt, nor itched; it was just there.
I followed my intuition and decided to take action. Ironically, this wasn’t the first call to action. I had previously shown it to my husband’s Dermatologist two months prior, and he offered to burn it off. He was a very old gentleman, and I had mentioned to my husband that I thought this doctor was ready for retirement, as he didn’t see very well. He never used a microscope and seemed always too eager to burn things off. I didn’t feel at peace with the issue so I wanted to seek a second opinion.
I made an appointment with a new Dermatologist who came highly recommended in August 2005. I had to wait until January of the following year to see him. When January rolled around, I went to the appointment and I was told that the doctor I was to see was off sick and that I would be passed over to one of his associates; Dr. Allen (name changed.)
When I met Dr. Allen, I sensed her compassion immediately. She made me feel comfortable with her warm smile and her soft-spoken manner. She informed me that she was going to cut out the dot and send it to pathology; her standard procedure. Dr. Allen stated that she didn’t believe it was anything serious, but as a precaution she wanted to have it analyzed. I was satisfied that I had somebody competent now looking after me. Dr. Allen informed me the results would take about two weeks. Two weeks later, I went back to see her for the results.
The doctor informed me that my results came back negative but that she’d also like to send me for an echo-doppler cardiogram for precaution. She explained that sometimes the reason this type of spot appears is that it may be related to a heart issue. She added that it was a long shot but she would feel better just ruling it out. I looked at her in disbelief as she handed me the referral form but I never questioned her thoroughness. Dr. Allen told me she would call me with the results. I left and went on with my day, not really giving the matter another thought.
The following week I went for the test. The lab technician was friendly and he explained what he’d be doing, to put me at ease. The scan lasted about an hour and through that time, him, and I chatted as though we were old chums. I watched the screen and I was fascinated to see my heart beat with my every breath.
When the test was nearing an hour, the technician suddenly became very quiet. I looked up at the screen and noticed as I breathed; it appeared as though this tonsil-like-looking ball was flicking up and down. Now, I’m no doctor, but I was curious as to what the tonsil-looking thing was that seemed to be suspended from my heart. I suspiciously asked the technician what I was looking at. And then my whole world rocked.
It turned out that I had a rare Myxoma tumour hanging off my valve.
Dr. Allen expressed her sympathy about her suspicion; even though it was a long shot. I thanked her for potentially saving my life. She was so compassionate and she offered to get me in to see one of the biggest heart surgeons at St. Michael’s Hospital, in Toronto.
Within that week, I had gone to meet my soon to be heart surgeon. He was a strappingly handsome man in his early forties. He was also quite curious as to who had sent me for the echo test without a symptom. He explained to me that this tumour was hanging off my valve and if left undetected, it would have eventually dropped off into my lung and embolized, causing sudden death within six months. He also told me that these tumours are asymptomatic, and aren’t generally detected until autopsy; silent killers.
The situation was all so much for me to bear but the one constant that kept me optimistic, was knowing that those tumours were never usually detected and God must have wanted me to live. There were too many coincidences in the finding that wouldn’t allow me to believe anything less than I would survive.
It all happened so quickly. Within the next two weeks, I was scheduled for open-heart surgery.
I got an eye opening view of an operating room as the nurse wheeled me in on a gurney; still fully conscious. I stared at the heart-lung machine that would be sustaining my life, while the good surgeon would hold my heart in his hands.
When I next opened my eyes, the room was very dark and quiet. I thought I felt an angel over my shoulder. I tried to speak with an almost inaudible voice as my lips felt glued together. The nurse sitting behind my shoulder said, “Welcome back Deborah.” I was in and out of consciousness for the rest of the night, but I was alive and I had survived.
©: D.G. Kaye 2017
My thanks to Debby for sharing this frightening experience that could have been devastating without Debby’s knowledge of her own body and speediness in getting checked out.
Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.
D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.
When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
“I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.”
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”
“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”
Books by D.G. Kaye
One of the reviews for Twenty Years After “I Do”
D.G. Kaye’s memoir, Twenty Years After I Do, piqued my interest for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve been married for thirty-one years to a man who is not only my loving husband but who is my very best friend. I wanted to read what the author had to say on the subject, and she certainly inserted many pearls of wisdom of which I agreed with. Before I met my husband, I had dated a man twenty years older than me, so reading her perspective on the age difference grabbed my attention, as well. This was the second book that I have read from Debby, so I was already familiar with her beautiful, conversational writing.
Debby offers snippets of insight from her own experiences on how to keep a marriage happy and unbreakable. She adds how humor can lighten any heavy situation and intimately writes of how sex ultimately changes from dating to married life. Most importantly though, she conveys that love has no timeline. Couples should enjoy each moment together and unconditional love will carry them through the difficult times. I was moved by this lovely collection of stories from Debby’s marriage to Gordon, and how she met true love when she least expected. An enjoyable read and one I highly recommend.
Thanks for joining Debby today and as always your feedback is very welcome . thanks Sally.