AM A 45-YEAR-OLD MALE who is very athletic.
I have studied martial arts for the past 31 years, and competed
in country and western dance competitions for two years. Many friends
have accused me of having more energy than a couple of young children.
Two weeks prior to Christmas last year, however, I started feeling
weak and fatigued. My endurance diminished to the point of wanting
to sit or lie down. My chest hurt, I had shortness of breath, and
I felt exhausted all the time.
I was brought to the emergency room on Christmas evening. The diagnosis
was the flu. I was told that with breathing treatments and medications,
I would feel better soon. But I didn’t feel better. My girlfriend,
and a friend from my dance class, who is a nurse, kept after me
to go to the doctor. Because I wasn’t improving, I remember actually
telling my girlfriend that I would have to die to feel better.
finally went to see Dr. George Matewere at the CHRISTUS Medical
Group-First Avenue Clinic. He was the doctor that my dancing friend,
the nurse, works for, and she had already told him that I was complaining
about my right arm getting extremely hot to the touch and numb at
times. The doctor ordered a sonogram and also checked my chest.
I was sent home. I kept in touch with the nurse through dancing,
and I told her that I was still tired all the time.
I went back to Dr. Matewere again, and he ordered a stress test.
During the test, I started getting very short of breath and experienced
pain in the center of my chest. Before even the first half of the
test was completed, I was told to stop. There was a possibility
of blockage. An angiocath finally revealed that the flu had attacked
my heart muscle. My heart was pumping at about one-third its capacity!
I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. Since then, taking prescribed
medication, I have been doing much better. The doctor told me that
I could still dance, but needed to take frequent breaks, take my
medication, and return for regular checkups. I have competed in
two dance competitions since, and have done well. My cardiologist
told me that I needed to thank Dr. Matewere for recommending the
stress test. He said that if had I gone on without treatment, I
probably would have died on the dance floor.
I feel as though I am a living miracle, and I do thank God every
day. God gave me three angels: my girlfriend, my friend the nurse,
and my doctor. Because of their persistence and caring, I am here
today. I am deeply appreciative of them and all the others who helped
me through this difficult time.
Lake Charles, Louisiana