Breland: Watching one’s health with an open mind

Published 10:39 am Friday, September 2, 2022

It was my left eye that started things. Last year during autumn, my eye darkened with little light coming through. It did not last long.

I thought I was getting a migraine headache, so I took my usual pill to ward it off. Still a little worried, I went to the emergency room. They checked me out and also thought I was having a weird migraine.

A month later, it happened again. This time I could see no light, and in a short while, it cleared up. The eye doctor checked me and saw nothing wrong with the eye. He suggested I get the carotid arteries in my neck checked, as they could cause tiny blood clots. Carotids checked, no problems.

I was referred to a neurologist, who said he didn’t see a problem in the brain, but called a cardiologist friend and explained my problem. They thought I was having some tiny blood clots. The cardiologist asked the neurologist to prescribe a blood thinner, Eliquis, for me. I also made an appointment with the cardiologist.

In the past I have had two minor strokes and always dread the thought of them, but I had no reason to think there was anything really wrong with my heart. I wore a heart monitor for a month and they found what I thought were a few apparently minor problems. I am getting older and we do seem to physically wear out in some places! The cardiologist said I needed an angiogram.

Apparently denial set in and I couldn’t believe I had anything that required an angiogram. I mean, really, there could not be too much wrong. I felt good and it was only a little blip with my eye. It might not ever happen again. So I put off getting the angiogram.

In six months I went for a check-up, and the doctor repeated I needed to have this test. Something showed up on the EKG that indicated I might have a blockage.

I set a date and then had a mild case of covid and had to put it off. I really was not worried, although I had noticed how much better I had been feeling since I started the blood thinner.

The date finally arrived and after asking the Good Lord’s blessing, I went to have the long-awaited angiogram. My sweet RN sister was there with me for encouragement, as she always is for these things. I was pretty sure they were not going to find very much wrong with my heart.

We should always listen when we are given good advice. When I awoke I was shocked to find I had an 80 percent blockage in an artery near the top left side of my heart, and they had placed a stent there. I had two other 40 percent blockages, which still have a way to go before being fixed. My goodness!

My dad had a great heart and I just knew I had a heart like his. He died with aneurysms. My mom died of heart disease. Mom was a nurse, but a smoker. Apparently smoking destroyed the arteries around her heart. Mom had five bypasses and lived only five years after that surgery. With heart problems also for my two brothers, how did I hope to escape? Most probably wishful thinking!

Health problems as we age can quickly sneak up on us. I am thankful for that left eye giving me a sign something was wrong. I know God did it for me! I am doing well since the procedure.

I have not written this to tell you about my health problems. I am sharing so you will be watching for the usual as well as unusual physical things which may warn you of health problems ahead — like my left eye! Sometimes we may not be quite as smart as we think we are!

Retired as Associate News Editor, Bob Ann Breland writes a weekly column for The Daily News. You can email her at