Hello again...I just wanted to update.
I have written a number of posts, the last sometime maybe in Sept re: my husband.
He went back to the cardiologist in October and was put on another course of Prednisone, starting at 90mg daily x1 week, then 80mg x1 week etc. His chest pain disappeared after a week or two, his hand numbness is all but gone, energy level was up, and breathing better. He was funtioning pretty well. Also in October, the dr. told him basically that he was expecting too much from himself in terms of physical functioning and that though he "probably" had constrictive pericarditis" she was "not convinced it was severe enough to go through with surgery" and that he likely would need it in the future...that surgery may not be the best option currently. She does take lots of time talking to my husband - and seems to be very cautious and thorough in her approach. We were pretty happy at that point thinking that since he has sold his little business and is out of work - and he is looking for a job! (and we owe lots to the bank! ) that he could work for 1-2 years with regular monitoring and then think about surgery...
NOT. He returned last week to the cardiologist, 2 wks after completing the Predisone. By this point his energy level is way down, he is short of breath, able to do normal activities but barely able to walk the dog. No chest pain. (and oh yeah, his normal 165 - 170 pound weight his whole adult life is now at 203!) He has another echocardiogram....the doc briefly looks at the echo without even comparing it to former echos....and says "well, you definitely have cardiac dysfunction indicative of constrictive pericarditis and should go ahead and have the surgery within the next 6 months". The theory now is that though they "think" the pericardium (via last MRI) is "within normal thickness", he may have a thin cellophane-like membrane covering his heart under the pericardium....even more rare than the "usual viral" constrictive pericarditis. (this film is apparently visible only when looking directly at the heart - and difficult to peel off...) So he is scheduled for surgery Dec. 10....and is having job interviews!
So many ups and downs over the last year. Unable to make plans since "Daddy may be having his surgery"'. SO...we are relieved a date is set and are making plans. Since he is otherwise in good health and still has some muscle tone, he may be up and about in a few weeks and on to rehabilitation. We are praying for good surgical results, quick healing, and a job (how does one explain that in a job interview? My husband plans to tell a potential employer he won't be ready to start until after the first of the year. Fingers crossed).
The thing I want to say to some folks having difficulty with diagnosis....don't give up, do research, definitely get a 2nd or 3rd opinion, find a doctor who explains things and takes time with you, and keep track of your symptoms. Don't ever undergo surgery that you have some choice in without realizing you HAVE a choice - of doctors, facilities, and possibly timing. Trust is such an important factor where your doctor and YOUR body are concerned...particularly with your heart!
We will keep you posted if anything changes and after he has had the surgery.