Patricia's Story of Dilated Cardiomyopathy

 My name is Patricia Lyons.  I am Irish but have been living in the Dominican Republic for over 30 years.  I was diagnosed a week ago with Beginning Stage Heart Failure due to Dilated Cardiomyopathy.  My cardiologist told me I am in Class I, stage B.   I should mention that here in the D.R. people go to see specialists or consultants rather than a local G.P.   I have private, medical insurance which allows me to do that.

This diagnosis was a complete surprise to me as I did not have any symptoms.  I went for a routine cardiovascular evaluation as another doctor I go to likes to recommend this on an annual basis for patients over the age of 50.  So, as I recently turned 60 in June 2018, I decided to go along and have my cardiovascular evaluation.

But when of course I started researching it on Google, I entered a stage of shock!  When I read that the survival rates are 5 years for 50% of patients and 10 years for 25%!!  I immediately emailed my cardiologist with these findings, and he put my mind at rest by explaining there are 4 stages and that data was for patients at Class IV, stage c or d.  He told me I would improve and with medication, treatment and an improved lifestyle, I should have a long and healthy life.

I must admit I felt confronted by my own mortality.  However, I did not let myself fall into the grips of anxiety and continued to meditate every day, as I have been doing now for several years, and it really helped me accept my diagnosis. 

I have told my two adult sons and my closest friends and family.  It felt good to be able to talk to people, my loved ones and closest friends. 

I feel good, positive and optimistic and have decided to exercise more and give up drinking alcohol as I have since found out alcohol is bad for this disease.  In fact, in some cases, alcohol abuse can be the cause of it.  I have a healthy lifestyle, but I believe the Universe has sent me a message.  And I am listening …

I have a second appointment with my cardiologist next week, since the diagnosis.  I have a lot of questions to ask him as I need to get more information about Dilated Cardiomyopathy. 

I am interested to know, for example, in the U.K., what do doctors say causes this disease?  My cardiologist here in the Dominican Republic told me that it can be caused by family or genetic reasons, a virus, drug and alcohol abuse. 

That is my story for now.  I appreciate being able to share my story with other cardiomyopathy patients and find out more about the disease.