Before I get to my health update…

I learned that David Bowie had died at 4 am. Granted, not my most emotionally stable hour, but I found that it affected me more profoundly than I would have anticipated. I mean, I was never his biggest fan (although I do know all the words to quite a few of his songs), but through the course of the day, I realized that my admiration of him was deeper than I realized.

David Bowie was a world citizen, a reader, a performer, and, by all accounts, a genuinely nice person. The fact that we have a shared experience in appreciating his music is tremendous. A friend who is about a decade older than me told me that David Bowie was one of the first concerts she attended while in college. And you know what? Me, too. Despite the gap in years and them being completely different shows, we share that experience.

I’m left thinking that perhaps that will be his greatest gift to us. That he united us, gave us all something to have in common, across…well, across the universe.

It also struck me, of course, that he died as he had lived, privately. Almost nobody knew he had terminal cancer, even among his close friends. That this information didn’t leak is a measure of the respect people had for him, and it also made me appreciate anew the incredible support I’m getting by not going through this health situation privately. I mean, I understand why David Bowie would not want to share his illness with the world. And it makes me even more glad that I have a community I do want to share it with.

Hmmmm…that makes less sense written down than it does in my head. Regardless, on to the health update!

Last Friday I saw Dr. Figueroa, my new GP. Having had the same GP, whom I adore, for 9 years, I was nervous about making a change, but I needed to have someone who accepts my insurance.

Turns out, I need not have worried. Dr. Figueroa is great. She listened and laughed and didn’t rush. She’s smart, but not arrogant in the least. And the folks in the office were terrific, too. So that’s a win. I’m seeing her again in two weeks because she made some changes (probably long overdue) to my insulin regime.

These changes were more difficult than they’ve been in the past, which I can only figure is down to heart wonkiness. But things are leveling out now.

She also signed the form for me to get a handicapped parking placard. In Florida, you’re entitled to one of these if (among other things) you have Class III or IV heart failure as defined by the American Heart Association. Mine is Class III. I thought long and hard about getting this—probably overthought it, to be honest—because I don’t want to need it, and the fact is, much of the time, I don’t. But there are occasions when I do, so now I have it. And now you all want me to go to the mall with you, right?

On Monday evening, I got the echocardiogram that I need to have in hand for my appointment with Dr. Desai on January 28. I was super nervous, afraid that it would say that my ejection fraction has gotten worse. I won’t have the full results of it until I see Dr. Desai, but the tech who did it was quite sure that my ejection fraction has not gotten worse.

Now, she wasn’t, technically, supposed to tell me that (because a doc has to read the images), but she was talkative, and I might have kind of coerced her…and I figure she does a lot of these tests, so if she says my ejection fraction is not less than 15%, I’m prepared to believe her. She did say there was some leakage on my valves, but we knew that already, and I won’t know whether that’s changed at all until the 28th.

So overall, good news. I’m making a concerted effort to be optimistic, which is sometimes hard (mostly when I get fatigued), but it’s getting better.

Thank you for reading. I hope 2016 is treating you well so far!