Barbara Culbertson’s Story


Barbara's Story

It has been a slippery slope for me since the 1980. At that time I was diagnosed as a diabetic. I then changed my lifestyle and lost weight with what I thought was a healthy diet, losing weight and having my diabetes under control, however I did not know at that time that I also started having problems with cholesterol and triglycerides until a Dr that did a checkup on me and called meat work to tell me that I needed to be on medication immediately for triglycerides that were out of the roof, my count had exceeded the highest count at that time. I then started taking medication. During this time I was also a smoker, but when my first grandchild was born I gave up smoking and have not smoked since then. It was not long after I quit that I had my first heart attack and I was forty one at that time. I spent a day or two in the hospital after having the heart attack and then sent home without any instructions other than needing to make appointment with my regular Dr. at that time we were members of Kaiser hospital plan. I was told I could go back to work in about two weeks. During the time I was off I continued to have angina pains, and informed the doctor about it. He then extended my time off from work. I continued to go back to see the doctor and continued to tell him that I was still having angina. After documenting whenever I had angina and what activity I was doing at the time, I was referred to a cardiologist within the system. She was very hesitant to do any tests at that time after all being a forty one year old female I should not be having this problem. Well finally I convinced them that I needed to have a heart cath. Keep in mind that this was eight weeks later. Finally the day for the cath came up. She did the cath and yes I had blockages. Well she could not do and angioplasty at that time because no one was available to assist. I was rescheduled and had an angioplasty two weeks later. Well I did okay for a while but always concerned when the next heart attack would happen. I have always felt that there was not enough counseling for the post heart attack patient. Years went by more heart caths, collaterals develop,  heart bypass single, pacemaker, etc., diabetes during all of this. My cholesterol is down and has been for years, last test it was at eighty with medication. I now have three doctors that are proactive. However my diabetes is not under control. I sometimes throw my hands up and want to give up, but now I have my first great grandchild and life is good. But I really have got to get things under control. So everyday is a challenge.  Between heart disease and diabetes it is very difficult. I work in a hospital billing department and food days are a tough thing to get through and I have not been able to yet.

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