For the chance to eat sun-warmed strawberries from my own garden (Guest blog)
I was diagnosed with peripheral artery disease (PAD) first in 2012 and have since had two surgeries and five angioplasties. It was then that I discovered I also had severe coronary artery disease (CAD), for which I needed three bypass grafts and two stent procedures.
This had a profound effect on my life and the lives of my family members. I spent the first four years thinking that each procedure would ‘fix’ my problems permanently only for my symptoms to return within a short period of time. At the time, my doctors were unsure whether the treatments would improve my quality of life so coming to terms with the reality that I am one of the unfortunate few whose disease is chronic was a hard to accept.
Since my operations, I have been on a regime of anticoagulants, potassium channel activators, beta blockers and hypertension medications along with anti-angina, statins, nitrates and calcium channel blockers. My treatment regimen allows me to remain, relatively, free from angina pain which means that I can live a fairly normal life.
When I was diagnosed with CAD and PAD, so much of my mobility was put into question, but finding the right care that works for my body has allowed me to slowly return to the things I love most. Last year, I was able to go on a wonderful road trip around England with my brother to celebrate my father’s life, for which I am so grateful. Were it not for my treatment regimen, this trip would not have been possible.
I am lucky to have excellent medical teams who look after me, and I know that others may not be as fortunate.
In the future I hope that diagnostic techniques and bio marking prognostics will take away some of the guesswork that these diseases present – which will help both doctors and patients. I hope that research and the development of new drugs will improve the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, such as CAD and PAD, perhaps even making it possible to reverse some of the damage done.
It’s been a long road and there is so much left to learn in these areas. For me, I know that much of these conditions is down to genetics and in my ideal future, science and medicine will have advanced so that my children and grandchildren don’t have their golden years tarnished by cardiovascular disease and its life-limiting and life-changing consequences.