Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Never loose hope

October 31, 2008

This morning I have been thinking about life and even the world in general. For the past couple of weeks we haven’t gotten our daily newspaper. A labor dispute shut down the presses. I missed getting the paper and was glad to hear the strike was over.

Over coffee this morning I was reading the paper. It seemed like almost everything I read was about terrorist attacks, bombings, murders…… I thought to myself, you have been missing getting the paper to read about this sort of stuff????????? I had a few moments when my thoughts drifted along the lines of “what is this world coming to?” It seems like a big mess every. The economy, the crime, the wars, the poverty…… YIKES. It seems like the vast majority of the news that comes at us every day is bad.

Based on all of this it can seem the world is a pretty dismal place. Now throw that in on top of the personal issues and problems we all deal with individually and is it any wonder so many have virtually given up hope of anything better to come. It can be disheartening for sure. I had to give myself a bit of an attitude adjustment when I realized where my thinking was taking me.

OK, let’s rethink this.

First off newspapers, news casts on TV or where ever often hone in on the bad or the negative happening around us. Now granted that is happening no denying that. I have to remember the overall big picture, the tapestry of my life, that of other people and even of the world as a total. Look at the big picture and see things really aren’t all that bad. A current situation in our lives may make it seem that way especially when all we hear of from seemingly everwhere is more bad news. This is where I can so easily it seems, loose sight of the big picture.

Now, who usually (not always but often) captures the news headlines? It is so often the jerks and bad guys of the world. They act out and it becomes news worthy. But, these individuals actually only represent a very small per centage of the population.

My often used “Bill” stats. I believe that irregardless of race, culture, faith, sex, really irregardless of anything the vast vast majority of people on this earth are good, kind loving people just trying to do their best everyday. About 90% of the poplulation is made up of ordinary good people, about 5% are what I call Earth Angels. This leaves the remaining 5% as the jerks or bad guys. It is so easy to loose sight of the overall situation when all you hear of read about is the not so nice 5%. We can’t loose sight of the fact this group is in the minority. Realize that and suddenly the world doesn’t seem quite as bad or ominous.

The silent vast majority of the population are just regular good people doing their best to get through their own lives as best they can. The silent majority is with us in every grouping of people you can imagine. We are the majority. I think it is time we all stand up and be recognized as the majority. It only seems fair majority should rule with our inner natural kindness, love and generocity. I imagine to many this idea sounds good, but how do we go about it.

I have quoted this saying many times as one I heard from a highly respect boss. “One definition of insanity could be: continuing to do the very same thing day after day and yet still be surprised when somehow the results don’t change.” How can we expect anything to change if we just continue doing the same thing we always have? “You have to do something you have never done before, to get something you have never had before.”

Can anyone person change the world, not likely. But, we can help, we can change our little part of it. Even the longest journey begins with the first step. I ask any that may read this to return to the top of this page. There you will see a bar across the page, containing various titles. Each of these titles represent a different page I have set up here within the blog. Please, click on and read the page, “spirit within me” and “cheers/salutes.

On the “spirit within me” page please join me in trying to improve this world just one little step at a time, we do what we can do. Then please click on the cheers/salute page and take the time to congratulate someone you see doing their part. Please.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Tomorrow list

October 28, 2008

Tried laying down for a nap but not working so good. My “pee” pills seem to be working in over drive. When I had to get up for a nature call the 3rd. time in 20 minutes, I gave up on the idea of napping for now, anyway.

I do appreciate the many comments that have been left sharing experiences witnessing the passing of loved ones. I have been touched by all. I guess my own beliefs that the actual act of passing from this world to the next will be a wonderful experience. Any pain or discomfort will be caused by the physical illness that has brought us to that point.

I suppose I am lucky again in that my ailment relates to this gimpy heart of mine. Any related pain is easily taken away with medications. I see it and realize in that way I am so very lucky as I do not have to endure what so many others do.

There is something though that I think would be worse than the physical pain. Mind you I am saying this as someone not actually enduring that pain. I think the mental anguish of laying there knowing you are in your last minutes, hours, days or what ever. The mental anguish of a mind full of regrets. Regretting things both done and things left undone, things said and things left unsaid. I can only imagine how awful it must be to suddenly have reality hit you. The reality that it is too late, you have run out of time.

We have always taken it for granted that we will always have tomorrow or next week or sometime in the future. We take for granted tomorrow will give us time to speak words or love not often spoken enough or maybe even never spoken. We take it for granted we have tomorrow to patch up a broken relationship with a friend or relative. We take it for granted we have tomorrow to sit back, relax and enjoy a beautiful sunset. The regrets that fill you when suddenly you realize the so oft taken for granted tomorrow may not be there. The precious time of often taken for granted and wasted has run out. Everyone has a mental list of things that “I should get done” and I will get around to it one of these days. You realize the full extent of all of the things you had intended to get to, had intended to deal with, “one of these days”. Your focus changes, your priorities change when you realize “one of these days” will never come. You are left with your regrets, so sad and just to bad.

The saddest thing of all is that it really doesn’t ever have to be that way for anyone. I don’t think there is ever a “good time to die” but we don’t have any say in that matter. It is just not with medical conditions that we can be put in that position, there are numerous ways, accidents being the big one I imagine. Suddenly, unexpectedly we run out of tomorrows. Things we know we should do, that we need to do but have been put off until tomorrow or sometime, will suddenly never happen and we face that regret.

One of the big things I had hoped to do with this blog was to get everyone, irregardless of health to just stop for a moment and take stock of their lives as it sits today. Stop and really think about your “tomorrow” or “someday” list of things to do.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Dread of Painful Death

October 24, 2008

Happy birthday to my young friend Chad. Yesterday, you turned 18 and you are recognized as being a man. Well I recognize and see you as a fine and good man. I hope your day was great and that you celebrate many many more.

I want to thank all those that took the time to share their inspirational stories with me. Reading such do help me and I am sure many others, I do thank you. I hope many more such sharings will continue to roll in.

I know within my heart I do not fear death or dying. I am not sure maybe dread is a better word. I start thinking about this and my mind just starts going around and around in circles. I mean how could I possibly dread the thought of going to such a wonderful place as I know awaits me? Well I most certainly don’t dread that part.

So what is it that I do dread or hate the very thought of. I dread and hate the thought of the pain and hurt it will be causing my family and loved ones. Has it been helpful that we have all had time to “prepare” for this event? I hope so. But, I still have to wonder how prepared can you actually be? For me this is the biggest issue.

I do have though a second personal dread. Over the years I have been told by many doctors and nurses that I have a high pain threshold, or tolerance for pain. To that I say WRONG!!!! I think I am a big baby when it comes to dealing with pain, maybe I just manage to hide it well. I dread the thought of pain being involved with anything (see what I mean about being a big baby). I suppose I can just say I dread the thought of leaving this world in a lot of pain.

Even with that I still know I will have the easier or better part of the whole deal. I recognize and appreciate it is so much harder on the families and loved ones. I will have moved on to a wonderful place leaving all behind to hurt and grieve in this physical world.

I know I will be in loving hands when I leave this physical body of that I have no doubt. Does it make sense for me to say it is more the last days, hours or minutes left in this physical body that I fear or dread the thought of. I know there is a lot of medication and such that can be used to ease or eliminate pain. I have had a lot of such medications over the years and know, yes it takes away the pain but also can make me sleepy or groggy at best. Maybe it is that I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want to be wide awake and alert, I want to live every moment I can, but the baby in me doesn’t want the pain. Can I, will I have both I guess only time will tell.

Maybe, this dread of which I speak could be describes along the lines of. You are on a wonderful vacation, having the time of your life. As all vacations do you know it will end, but you don’t want it to end, you dread the thought of it ending. You would like it to go on forever or at least for a much longer time. As the days of the vacations dwindle away you dread the thought of it ending even more as each day passes. Does that make sense? You don’t really fear it ending you more just dread the thought.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Dying the Physical process

October 22, 2008

The very title of my blog suggests the obvious, that often I will write about death, dying, the afterlife, what I am experiencing, feeling and of my beliefs. In my humble rambling way I am doing my best to describe all of the above as I see it and feel it.

I have written of how I do not fear death because of my beliefs in the afterlife. I have also though shared that I am a little bit, shall we say shaky, nervous or yes even afaid of the process. The transition when I move from this physical world to the next spiritual world. What do you experience, what do you feel as your physical body begins to die around you. I have read wording of the very same nature in many places, “I am not afraid to die, I am afraid though of the dying process. Afraid of what I will go through in this transition stage.”

I have never witnessed the passing of anyone from this world and as such I suppose I have no form of reference or idea of what to expect. I appreciate anyone that was with a loved one at the time of their passing, still only has a very limited “reference” point from what we saw, what we witnessed. But for me anyway that would at least be a starting point.

I have set up a new page, can be seen at the very top of this posting. It is titled “inspirational stories and sharings”. Here I would invite, no I ask please for any and all to share. To share any touching or inspirational stories they may have of the last days leading up to the passing of a loved one and even of the actual time of passing.

I realize, I appreciate how hard this may be for many. It is just I know how much I may benefit as I am sure would so many others by reading such stories. If you are able please share, thank you.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Life can change in a second

October 21, 2008

I have written many times about our journey through life, of being on the highway of life. Of how I see the highway of life having many twists and turns, smooth driving, rough spots, constructions spots and even unexpected detours.

I have also written of how we should never dispair as on this highway of life we just never know what awaits us around the next bend or turn in the road. I know this, I believe this but I somehow allowed myself to forget it. When I say allowed myself to forget it, that is what happened, I allowed it to happen. Did I really forget? Well no. I even sat down and reminded myself of it. I guess I was just in such a mood that I wasn’t even prepared to listen to myself in one of my own little pep talks. I was feeling down and just seemed to want to wallow for a while, woe is me, poor me. I have heard it said that everyone is entitled every once in a while to have a day like that, why would anyone want one, is my question.

OK, what got me down? MY MEMORY or LACK OF IT. Memory loss is an amazing thing in that 99% of the time it doesn’t bother you at all. You just blissfully carry on, totally unaware of what or how much you have forgotten, no problem at all. That is until something in life jumps up and hits you in the face, clearly reminding you of how much you are forgetting. Makes you sit back and really wonder how much have I forgotten about life, huh, don’t know.

There is a research department working with my heart failure clinic following certain patients. I am happy to participate, anything I can do that may further research and possibly come up with future treatment options or what ever. I know I have already shared most of this. It was during a telephone chat with this research group that my memory jumped up to bite me and drag my spirits down. When you are feeling like that, who cares about the “highway of life” and the next bend in the road coming up.

It is strange, even at the time when I was allowing myself to wallow, I knew my daughter was going to have her baby the very next day. Labor was going to be induced so we knew the day. I have been excited about this for months. The excitement has been building for months. I was jubilant, I could hardly wait. Yet somehow, a smack in the face by the realities of life knocked me right off of that excitement ride. Suddenly, nothing seemed as important as wallowing. I told myself this to shall pass and it did in a split second.

Your life, your whole world can literally change that fast, in a split second. The next morning, the big day, I phoned Billied early in the morning to see how everything was and to find exact times for when she would be going to the hospital. The night before they hadn’t been sure of times, and would be awaiting a phone call from the hospital as to when to go for the induction.

As it turned out the hospital had already called wanting them there as soon as possible. Billie and Rob had already left for the hopsital. That is when it hit me. My grand daughter will be entering this world in a matter of hours. Suddenly, who cares about memory, who cares about anything else? My spirits, my mood, my world changed in that instant. I can say my world changed because really what is my world? Physical conditions, physical surroundings or conditions really are not my world. My “world” really is contained within my head. My world, your world everyone’s world is created and carried within our own heads. It is how we see things, preceive things around us. Nothing else matters beyond how we see it, preceive it to be.

In a split second I went from poor me to being the most excited guy in the world. I truly was blessed that day with the birth of my grand daughter and I am still feeling on top of the world. I am such a happy and very lucky man.

Now, granted the arrival of a grand daughter is a very major event. One that can’t help but bring joy to the heart.

I suppose this just really re-enforced in my mind the knowledge. My world is entirely as I preceive it. My memory is still no better than it was a few days ago, but who cares. Living life, loving life, loving those around us is really what matters and is really what creates our worlds, or preception of what is going on around us.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Capacity to Love

October 16, 2008

I don’t know how to describe myself right now. Maybe a big pile of mush with love over flowing in every fiber of my being. Just minutes ago I got to see the first pictures of my new grand daughter. To try and even describe this feeling of love is beyond any words I can find. It is wonderful.

As humans our capacity to feel love is just beyond my understanding. This applies to all forms of love but here I am thinking specifically of the love I have for my daughters and in turn grand daughters. This feeling of love is such an amazingly wonderful thing, I am just blown away by it. I just don’t know how we can love so much, but I am really glad we can and do.

I have obviously known my daughter was for about 7 or 8 months or what ever it has been. Now the very second I heard the news, the wee one that has ultimately become little Miss Emery, jumped right into my heart. That love that I felt was real right from that very first second.

This next part is really hard to describe. I am not sure maybe it is because I am male or maybe it is just me. I look back to when my daughters were born. Threw out the pregnancies I was happy, overjoyed at the thought of being a father. My heart did feel that love right from the first moment I learned of the pregnancy. Maybe, I am just not good at conceptual ideas and things. I knew there was a baby growing in the mom’s tummy. Does it make any sense to say some how it feel complete or that I was a dad until I actually saw her for the first time. I was in the delivery room and saw both of my daughters come into this world. The most amazing and life changing moments.

When Billie was born, she in a very good way, hit me like a ton of bricks. Suddenly, she was more than a concept or an idea she was there she was real. In a split second the love I had been carrying in my heart vanished, to be replaced instantly by an overwhelmingly powerful fathers love. My heart was bursting at the seams with love and that feeling has never waivered through the years.

When I learned of the second pregnacy, I was just as overjoyed, excited and happy as I had been for the first one. I had all the same wonderful feelings all over again. I am almost embarassed to admit it but I did actually have a few private moments of worry. Worring, could I possible love a second child as much as the first????

Well, second daughter Shauna answered that question for me. Again I was in the delivery room and she hit my heart with that same ton of bricks. My heart was bursting with love from that very first second and again has never waiver through the years.

Through time, my daughters grew and married. In time I was so happy and excited to learn Billie and Rob were going to bless me with a grand child. Start that whole process all over again. The love is felt instantly. I have to wonder why is it that for me, I have to see the baby or at least a picture, before that wonderful “ton of bricks” hits my heart. The very instant I saw my first picture of my beautiful little princess Sage, she hit my heart with her wonderful “ton of bricks”.

To my little Angel, Emery, I just saw your picture for the very first time and you hit my heart like a sweet ton of bricks. I love you so much and am so very glad you are here. I am such a lucky man

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Becoming a grandpa TODAY

October 15, 2008

I can’t really describe how excited I am feeling right now. Today is a day I have been waiting for, for 9 months. Does mentioning 9 months give anyone an idea of what I am excited about.

Yup, I am going to become a grandpa again today. Am I excited, you bet I am. Picture me sitting here squirming with excited and nervous anticipation. Alternate that with a picture of me dancing around the house in excited joy at the pending event.

My daughter Billie and hubby Rob have already blessed me with one grand daughter. My wonderful beautiful, “little princess” Sage. Well today “princess” Sage is getting a baby sister.

As I am writing this Billie is in the hospital having her labor induced. I just got off the phone with Rob and she has had her first contraction, things are moving along. Rob tells me the ETA of the newest blessing to our family is anywhere between 2:00pm this afternoon and 9:00 pm this evening. It is the 1,100 or 1,200 hundred miles that separate us that is stopping me from being outside the delivery room door. Actually, maybe it is a good thing I am not there. If I was in the maternity unit somewhere and dancing around the way I am here at home, it could be a little disruptive. The picture of me dancing around may not be the prettiest one. Hey, I don’t care, I am dancing for joy.

I wasn’t going to write anything about this until after the blessed event occurred and I could make a big announcement introducing my new grand daughter to the world. It is just my excitement, my love, my joy is just bubbling over, I can’t keep it in any longer, I have to share.

I will post updates as events unfold. I have to go and dance with excitement a little more.


I am overjoyed to announce Miss Emery Tache Stapleton has entered the world. A very happy and emotional daddy called me just after 2:00 my time with the wonderful news. Picture me floating on a cloud right up there beside the new mommy and daddy.

I realize when you have an ecstatic daddy talking to an equally ecstatic grandpa that I may have neglected to get all of the details. Exact time of birth, gee, I don’t know and really don’t care. She is here and both baby and mommy are doing fine. I do know she weighed in at 9 pounds even.

The happy daddy declares her to be absolutely beautiful and that they both “kind of like her”. Congratulations to Billie and Rob. I know she is absolutely beautiful and can hardly wait for pictures to come and you know what, I “kind of like her” myself.

To Emery, welcome to this world. You are my little Angel and I love you with all of my heart. You will find yourself surrounded by love coming to you from a lot of different people. Everyone is so very very happy you are here. You are likely very lucky I am not there. You are less than 2 hours old but if I was there you would have likely received about a million grandpa hugs and kisses, already. I can hardly wait to be able to see you, hold you in my arms and give you a great big grandpa kiss right on the forehead. For now at least I have to settle for blowing you a kiss… there I just did.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Brain Fried

October 14, 2008

Really tired and am heading off for nap time early today. I am going to try to get back online to respond to messages later.

Had a bit of an eye opener or reality check I suppose this morning. I have agreed to be a part of a survey follow up type thing through the heart failure clinic. This is like a research department that wants to follow some patients a little more closely for some sort of research into the effectiveness of certain medications etc.. Hey, this may help someone down the line so I am more than happy to comply and participate. Actually, all it is, is that they will be phoning me on a frequent basis for various updates plus they will combine that with the information they will have access to through my regular check ups etc at the heart failure clinic. I just hope any information I can provide in any form may help.

Had the first telephone interview this morning. It was exhausting even though it only took about an hour. I feel totally wiped. Now I knew in advance that this call would be to discuss my history, medications all that sort of thing. Well I do have quite an extensive medical history and being “memory guy” I do at times struggle with remembering events, sequence of events, dates all that sort of thing. I am constantly asked this sort of thing on those 2 or 3 occasions a year when I end up in the hospital (to check out the pretty nurses). I am smart enough to have it all written down on 2 sheets of paper. I “always” carry this in my wallet. Now I do remember taking it out of my wallet a week or so ago to check to make sure my medication list was up to date. That list does change quite often. Why I didn’t just put it back in my wallet I don’t know. I do remember deciding to put it some place handy so I could get it when this call came. Huh, someplace handy????? “Memory guy” strikes again.

I even forgot about this telephone interview thing until I answered the phone. Well no problem I will just grab my trust sheets of paper and off we go. Suddenly, big problem, I can’t remember where I put the papers. Now those I really do need to find.

OK, to the phone interview thing. Well my medications I have right here so I can just read off the pill bottles what it is and the dosages. OK, 4 heart attacks, brain tumor, epilyse, diabetes easy to remember. Trying to remember anything beyond a very approximate dates, trying to remember tests done, treatments. It is like my mind went into a light fog and the more and the harder I tried to remember the thicker the fog became. It was exhausting, my brain feels fried. I am so very grateful to have the luxury of nap time.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Self Fullfilling Prophacies

October 10, 2008

Seem to be having real problems shaking this chest cold. It is much better after the antibiotics the doctor had me on. Seems to have cleared up the bronchitis and just left a chest and sinus cold. Just an annoyance and I know that is all it is but after more than a month with it, it gets to be a little much. Just thought about what I just wrote and got sort of a little chuckle thinking, woe is me, lol. I can just imagine many thinking “Oh, POOR BIG BABY you have a cold”. To that I reply, “yeth I do and my nose is all stuffed up and EVERYTHING”. Poor me, obviously my cold is the worst ever experienced by anyone, oh woe is me.” LOL

Actually, other than this silly cold I am feeling pretty good and am looking forward to the weekend.

I have been thinking of the expression, self fullfilling prophacy.  To me that all applies to your attitude. Suppose something like you have to attend a social function of some sort and in your mind you already know you are going to have a miserable terrrible time. Guess what, you very likely will. Life so often seems to have the uncanny ability to “live up” to or “down to” our expectations. Suppose you have to undertake some sort of complicated work project. If you go into it already just “knowing” in your mind that you can’t do it, that it is beyond your abilities. Guess, what with that attitude you will very likely find you can’t do it, that it is beyond you. Recognize that you need to make changes in your life but just “know” you can’t right now, just don’t have the time or energy to make those changes. Well guess what, those changes will likely never happen, you were defeated before you even started and just never did start. Nothing changes and we just plod on through life.

This all does seem pretty depressing and dismal. Life will seem that way and stay that way, until we realize there is a flip side to the attitude coin. If we flip the attitude coin over in our minds we will see the bright and shiny positive side. It really is amazing how much more we can accomplish in life, how much more we can enjoy life, with the right attitude, the positive attitude. Isn’t what we all really want is to be able to enjoy life in the best way we can. Your attitude will take you a long long way towards being able to really do that.

I am going to try and give 2 examples of what I mean. One from general life as I am sure everyone will be able to relate to it, having experienced it at one time or another. The second as to how I try to use it in my own life.

I know I have written of this before. Let’s assume you have to go to a social function of some sort be it at work, a family gathering what ever. You just plain don’t want to go for what ever reason. Maybe you had “better” other plans or maybe it is something like you know a particular person will be there. Say someone like a cousin coming to a family gathering and you just can’t stand that cousin. You just “know” there is no way you can have a good time with him/her there. For what ever reason you are forced to go. You are upset at having to be there for what ever the reason is. You go in upset, resentful, irritable and sulky. With an attitude like that what are you likely to do? Park yourself in a corner somewhere, ignor most of what and who is around you and have yourself a miserable time. But, hey when it is all over and you make your escape you can have the self satisfaction of being able to say, “see I told you I wouldn’t have a good time.” Life is just to short for that sort of attitude.

The flip side of that coin is so obvious, if we could just see it. Just think, “OK, this isn’t exactly what I would like to be doing but I might as well just make the best of it and try to enjoy myself. Guess what you will find you can enjoy yourself and not waste precious moments being upset. So what if your cousin or who ever is there. Don’t let anyone or anything take way from life as it should be lived. You are giving a person or a situation power over your life. A power that should be held by no one but yourself.

How am I trying my best to apply this to my situation with this whole heart failure business. I admit it took me close to a year to get my head wrapped around this whole thing, it is a bit to take in, especially when you find it applying to yourself. I still have times, days when I struggle with it, but overall I think I have it put properly in place. Many times I have written of how there are always 2 ways you can look at everything. This really fits in here.

Yesterday, I put up a post showing some statistics I found on mortality rates for heart failure patients. OK, I am a heart failure patient so what does it say.

Yikes, 40% of patients die within one year of diagnosis, now that sucks. But, hey just wait a minute that means 60% of patients live longer. There we go the odds are in my favor. I am going to be in that group, no question in my mind what so ever, I am in that group. Hmm, let’s think about this a little more. Who cares about statistics or what other people think? I am not a statistic, I am me, I am Bill Howdle. The good Lord will call me home when He knows the time to be right and I am sure God doesn’t refer to or consider any man made statistical charts.

Am I living in denial? To that I would say no or at least I don’t think so. I consider it to be more of a state of not worrying about it.  I know what the reality of the situation is, I accept that and am prepared for when ever my day may come. I just want to have my attitude in place so I can enjoy and live the party while it lasts.

My doctors have told me a positive attitude can add years to my life. I am ready when the Good Lord calls me but if I can get a few more years through something really as simple as attitude, I am going for them.

Am I creating a self fullfilling prophacy, I suppose only time will tell

Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Heart Failure Mortality

October 9, 2008

I came across this article that really makes me realize and appreciate what a lucky man I am. I have been diagnosed with heart failure. Just the name heart failure sound pretty serious and even scary and it is.

What is heart failure? Now I am not a doctor. As I describe it, it is all “according to Bill” being as I understand it. Heart failure in itself is not a disease in itself but is instead a symptom of an underlying problem. In my case 4 heart attacks have damaged the muscles in the walls of the heart causing them to stiffen. We all know a stiff muscle doesn’t work with the same ease as does a healthy muscle. It doesn’t have the same flexibility it once did. It does not pump the blood through with the same efficiency it once did. Basically, this causes the blood and fluids in my system to back up causing fluid retention and edema. The force of gravity I believe comes into play as often the majority of the build up occurs in the feet and ankle areas. But, it does spread through out the entire body. When the build up spreads to particularly my chest it becomes more serious putting extra pressure on the heart and lungs. It seems to be about 2 or 3 times a year I end up going to the hospital (just to check out the pretty nurses) and they help “drain” my system. I take pills daily to help me pee and generally that works well.

I feel very lucky for 2 reasons.

#1. Now let’s face it no one wants to be diagnosed with any sort of terminal illness but we really don’t have a choice in the matter. I always try to put a positive spin on things. Now this is how I choose to look at it. There are cancers and so very many other diseases that are such a much more horribly painful way to leave this world. I am lucky in that the vast majority of the time I feel fine. OK, tired, lethargic, almost constant shortness of breath. Some chest pain but not excruciating pain and that is usually quickly dealt with by my nitro spray. Well I have the memory stuff by that is beside the point. I know it could be so much worse, others suffer so very much more.

#2. Lucky, blessed  I am not really sure how to describe my feelings here. I often search the internet for heart failure news, looking I suppose for new discoveries or what ever. Often I find things such as the article I have copied and posted below. Statistically mortality rates for heart failure patients really suck, read the article I copied below and see what I mean. Those though are statistics and I AM NOT A STATISTIC, I AM ME AND ME ALONE. I have written of how only once have I ever actually been given any sort of time questimate by a doctor. There was a bit more to it but it essentially said, 2 years if I am lucky. Well guess what, come November 1st. it will be 4 years and I am still going strong and plan on keeping it that way for years to come. I think we can get to wrapped up in statics and take them to seriously. I am not a statistic and will not die according to the timeframe on some chart. I will only leave this world when the Good Lord calls me home.

Is the Good Lord giving me extra time, can’t imagine why I would warrant any special consideration. Am I living on borrowed time. I don’t know, but I will take it how ever I get it.

This is the article I found at The British Heart Foundation Statistics website.

I found it at: http://www.heartstats.org/datapage.asp?id=752


National mortality statistics for heart failure

In 2001, just over 11,500 deaths due to heart failure were officially recorded in the UK. However, the number of deaths attributed to heart failure in national mortality statistics is likely to be a huge underestimate of the actual number of deaths caused by heart failure. Guidance on death certificates – that heart failure is not a cause but a mode of death – explicitly discourages doctors from noting heart failure as the underlying cause of death. This means that other causes of death, such as coronary heart disease, are more commonly given as the cause of death in the death certificates of people with heart failure.

Survival after a diagnosis of heart failure

Prognosis from heart failure is poor. Data from the London Heart Failure Study show that around 40% of people die within one year of an initial diagnosis of heart failure.

Comparing one-year survival rates for heart failure with those for a number of common cancers shows that prognosis from heart failure is relatively poor. The one-year survival rate for heart failure is worse than those for breast, prostate and bladder cancer, better than those for lung and stomach cancer, and very similar to that for cancer of the colon.

Better estimates of mortality from heart failure

Combining data on incidence and survival, we estimate1 that in 2001, the true number of deaths from heart failure in the UK was at least 24,000. This means at least 4% of all deaths in the UK are due to heart failure.

1. From incidence rates in the Hillingdon Heart Failure Study we estimate that there are just around 63,500 new cases of heart failure each year in the UK. Applying a 62% one-year survival rate to this figure, means that just over 24,100 of those diagnosed from heart failure die within a calendar year.