The Test Results Came Back and The News Isn’t Good

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Difficult week.

Difficult post to write.

As always, when the post is largely about myself, I carry on a little debate inside my head.

 

  • Should I write this?
  • Should I share what’s going on, no matter how personal?
  • Is it okay to deviate from the main topic of this blog which is interior design?
  • Will 5,000 people suddenly unsubscribe?
  • What happens if I don’t share? Will I bite someone’s head off for asking me what color to paint their nursery? Incidentally, I recommend black or navy for a nursery.

 

 

However, every post I publish comes from what is currently living in my heart. And right now, it’s my heart that’s weighing heavily on my mind, so I figure it’s best to let it out.

 

Besides, we’re all connected in some way. In fact, I just read that at the most distant, we are 40th cousins of each other. Did you know that? I wonder how many great, great, great… grandparents that is?

And, maybe something here will help someone else. As a society, we tend to sweep our problems under the rug. We are afraid to admit a weakness– even ones that we have little if any control over.

 

The truth is– and some of you know, despite my efforts, I’m still not feeling too great most of the time.

 

I don’t like to go on and on about it, but this week, the test results came back and there were some things going on, I wasn’t expecting to hear.

Before, I tell you what’s going on, it would be helpful to read this post to give some background. And this one about the “not normal” diagnosis.

 

I was doing so much better after starting a beta blocker about 16 months ago, but then it stopped working as well, gradually. But recently, I’ve had some horrible episodes of racing heart beats like one time quadruple its normal rate, just climbing three flights of stairs. And then, feeling exhausted like I had just run several miles. Plus, I’m frequently nauseous. And exercising makes it worse. Even my beloved ballet.

Not feeling well has been interfering with my normal activities and that’s no good. And even when I went to One Kings Lane and saw Charlotte Moss and Maura Endres, I was just muscling through it.

And yes, I know that I don’t look sick. But, not everything shows on the outside.

 

So, I went to my doctor who recommended that I see a cardiologist and recommended that I have a carotid artery test. Just to be certain that my heart rate issues aren’t something else.

 

After all, there’s the family history to consider. Always and forever..

The doctor that was recommended was booked for two months, so I went with the new guy cardiologist at the medical group, who has great reviews.

Dr. Cardio suggested that I go in for a cardiac calcium score. It’s a CT scan of the heart, arteries, etc. He told me that he was “very concerned” about my cholesterol and what it was doing to me. Yes, my bad cholesterol is high, but so is the good cholesterol. It’s hereditary. I could live on apples and my cholesterol would still be high.

I did take a statin for a few years, but after waking up a few times with what felt like being pierced with a red-hot poker in my calf, and then reading that statins are no good for you, I stopped.

The cholesterol test I had three weeks earlier wasn’t fasting and so he said that I needed to come in without eating. That didn’t thrill me as morning is a difficult time and not eating can make things worse, but fine. I’ll do it.

Somehow, I was able to schedule all three tests for this past Thursday.

Except Dr Cardio who had made a big stink about the cholesterol test forgot to call it in. (that one didn’t require an appointment.) And then, I had to argue briefly with Dr. Cardio’s nurse until she realized that this was a FASTING test and the previous test was not. But Dr. Cardio hadn’t even written the order in my chart.

I will not be going back to him.

The tests were all at the medical group, except for the calcium test which was a mile away, but something told me to go and see if my internist was available. And luckily, I was able to make an appointment and he already had the results of two of the tests. The cholesterol numbers had improved. Not fantastic, but better and my carotids looked good.

Fabulous! Just waiting on the calcium score.

 

Dr. Great who has taken good care of me for 15 years said, “Laurel, I don’t anticipate any issues with the calcium score.” After-all, I don’t have any of the normal risk factors such as being overweight, smoking, bad diet, etc.

 

However, Dr. Cardio called me up yesterday morning, while I was texting with dropbox because of a problem.

At first, I thought it was a technician as I didn’t catch the name and he was just rattling off information, but then when things came into focus, I heard him say that the calcium score was 239 and it’s supposed to be zero.

 

“You need to take a statin and a baby aspirin every day.”

 

And then after a brief discussion about all of that, he continued…

“They also saw some small nodules on your lungs less than 6 mm and they want you to come back for a follow-up in one year.” It’s probably inflammation. You’ve never smoked. I wouldn’t worry.”

WTF???????? My dear friend Elaine who never smoked freaking died of lung cancer and I’m not supposed to worry?

It’s only been a day and a half and yet it feels like a week.

Let’s begin with the high calcium score.

What is that?

 

It’s arteriosclerosis or as we used to say “hardening of the arteries.” Well, isn’t that just bloodytastic!

 

However, it could be worse. Dr. Cardio told me that he’s seen scores of 5,000 and higher. But they must have a bypass.

It does not mean that I have blocked arteries and I most likely don’t because I am not having any pain and my carotids look good. But it ups the risk factor for that happening. But, Dr. Cardio didn’t tell me that. Dr. Great did later on. And Dr. Great felt badly that he didn’t get to me first, because I think that he knew that Dr. Cardio is lacking in certain areas. But, the results went to Dr. C before they went to Dr. G.

I spoke to my first cousin a little while ago. Her cardio told her not to waste her time with that test because it doesn’t mean anything, in and of itself. And that is also what Dr. G said.

As for the nodules, most of the time, they don’t mean anything either. However, since my BFF died of lung cancer, can I say that I wasn’t just a tad freaked out at hearing anything was amiss.

However, Dr. Great told me that it could just be inflammation or the after effects of pneumonia, bronchitis, both of which I’ve had. Or, it might be nothing at all. But instead of waiting a year, let’s take a look in 4-6 months.

I think that I should take my tests and see the cardio I saw in the summer of 2017, because I’m definitely not feeling satisfied that all I have to do is take a statin and a baby aspirin and then come back in four months for another dose of radiation.

What irks me about doctors is that there is no discussion about how to stop the calcification of the arteries. To be clear, high cholesterol is not the same issue. But having both could be a problem. I stopped taking calcium supplements a while back because of the controversy. Same thing with the statins.

 

But, I googled it and found that vitamin K2 is supposed to be able to stop and maybe even reverse that from happening and keep the calcium where it’s supposed to be– in the bones and teeth.

 

I don’t recall ever hearing anything about vitamin K2. Vitamin D, yes, but apparently, one is supposed to take them together.

In fact, I read on this website that vitamin K2 is good for preventing the following maladies:

Osteoporosis

Kidney Stones

Arteriosclerosis/Atherosclerosis

Alzheimer’s

Heart Disease

Cavities

Wrinkles

Bone Spurs

Stroke

Cancer.

 

Now, here’s where it gets super interesting. In my research, I found out the foods rich in Vitamin K2. By the way, K1 is also good for you, but is found in dark leafy vegetables and other foods. However, K1 has not been shown to do anything for arteriosclerosis.

 

test results and vitamin K2 is so good for you. Did you know that?

 

Below is a list of foods and in the order of how much K2 they provide from least to most:

Cheese

Chicken Liver

Beef Tallow

Butter

Cream

Lard

Ghee

Egg Yolks

Duck Fat

Emu Oil

 

Ghee, I learned is a kind of clarified butter

And Emu oil is from a flightless bird, native to Australia.

 

Okay, great. My arteries will be nice and elastic but will be filled with lard. lol

So, how come I’ve never heard of this magic vitamin? And how come nobody told me that along with my vitamin D3 that I needed to take K2?

Of course, it might all be hokum, but I have to admit that I could very much get into eating a nice spicy/sweet pumpkin pie with a flaky lard crust and a huge mound of fresh home-made whipped cream. I could easily eat that three times a day, if necessary.

And for an in between meal snack, I’ll feast on pâté de foie gras – extra heavy on the duck fat please.

Really, I’m joking. About, the food that is.

Full Spectrum K2 with MK-4 and MK-7 - test results I ordered a supplement on Amazon of K2 that has both MK-4 and MK-7

 

I should check with my doctor as it is a coagulant and the baby aspirin is an anti-coagulant. But, the vitamin K2 sounds like something quite beneficial.

 

What I’m wondering since the maladies that vitamin K is good for are common. Does anyone take it and if so, has it helped you?

All of this has brought up memories of my family members who had cardiovascular disease. And, particularly my grandmother who died days before her 69th birthday which was days after my 14th birthday. She was the most delightful, sunny woman with flaming red hair. Very elegant.

But, in her later years, she hardly ever left her apartment. My grandfather did all of the shopping. And now, I think I might know how she was feeling.

In the meantime, I’m feeling a lot better today. The doctor prescribed more of the beta blocker in the evening which has made a big difference. I even went to my ballet class and took a barre this morning and didn’t get at all sick!

Exercise is so important and not being able to exercise makes everything worse. Exercise intolerance is a real thing. It’s not being lazy. It’s getting sick as a result of exercising.

 

Eileen Lonergan (miss her so much) had sent me many beautiful images on Pinterest and this one, in case I needed a body for my head, one day. Thank you for the suggestion. Don’t mind if I do.

 

Some people drink when they are stressed. I put my face on old portraits. It makes me smile and laugh. And I get to live in somebody elses body for a time.

 

 

You should try it! I feel so much better in my pretty blue party dress and for getting all of that out.

 

Thanks for listening. Your turn. And please feel free to share what ails you!

But… First a few requests, if I may.

I did not write this to garner sympathy. I wrote it because I feel quite alone which might sound funny, but it’s true. You guys are like my family. And I wrote it because there’s information that might be helpful to some, or not. And maybe someone has experience that can be helpful for others.

However, I am respectfully asking some of you to refrain from talking about diets– particularly the paleo diet which is triggering for me because of the death of two friends who were on it.

Ya know… Cave men rarely lived to see age 40. Why would anyone want to eat their diet? I’m hoping that we’ve evolved quite a bit in the last 30,000 years. However, if you’re on it, and it’s working for you, that’s wonderful.

Love to all,

 

PS: If you’re still looking for gifts, there is still time to have them shipped before Christmas. You can check out the holiday shop here.

And the Hot Sales Page here.

 

PPS: It is 11:35 AM here Sunday morning, in New York and I slept in which feels good. I am overwhelmed with the number of responses, but more so, the immense kindness of so many people. I promise that I am reading every one and I am only publishing after reading. Sorry, if I can’t answer every one. I want to and if I don’t, it doesn’t mean your comment is of lesser value. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this at all. I think I learned at an early age not to expect much of anything and over the years, the point was driven home repeatedly.

 

I’m immensely grateful to all of you for your well-wishes, sage words and messages of comfort. No matter what, each of you is a blessing I never believed was possible. Thank you for proving me wrong again and again! I love you all!!!

 

PPS: It is nearly 24 hours since I published this and I’m definitely feeling the love. Can’t tell you how much it means to me.

Thank you to all who’ve taken the time for your wonderful well-wishes and advice. I have taken notes on the things that I think pertain to my particular situation.
However, I need more rest, so I am turning off the comments on this post.

 

PPS: January 5th 2019. Thank you to the many who have responded. Please, I know that you all mean well, but I turned off the comments for a reason. And yet, I am still receiving long-winded emails with advice that quite frankly, not knowing me and the specifics of my situation is like me trying to solve your decorating problems without seeing your space.

However, please know that I am doing much better on my new medication regimen and have been taking a strenuous ballet barre three times a week. Thus, I’m gaining my old strength back and over-all feeling better.

In addition, I have two appointments scheduled with two highly recommended cardiologists. Therefore, what I’m trying to say is… please no more advice; not even if you are a health-care practitioner of some sort. Thank you.

 

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Anita Roark - December 16, 2018 - 11:53 PM

    Laurel, I appreciate your transparency and am praying for answers and solutions for you, that you may feel your best once again. Our bodies are so complex and while I’m thankful for doctors I believe we have to be our own advocates because they sure don’t know it all! Kudos to you for researching! I had my thyroid removed a few years ago and it’s been an adventure finding the right people to help me feel like myself again. Don’t give up!ReplyCancel

  • Holly - December 16, 2018 - 11:40 PM

    Thank you for sharing about this. I am praying for you to regain your strength and health. Your blog is always so upbeat, so thank you for your hard work to teach and help all of your readers, even when you aren’t feeling your best!ReplyCancel

  • Vicky Dowland - December 16, 2018 - 11:36 PM

    Laurel, thank you for sharing your health issues. Your blogging sisterhood are there for you in both good and difficult times. Your sharing about vitamin K is amazing—thank you! You look amazing in your “pretty blue dress!” Blessings to you and prayers for you. XOReplyCancel

  • Dora - December 16, 2018 - 11:32 PM

    Laurel,

    I read your blog carefully, twice. I wish i could say something that could help. Unfortunately, this is one area i do not have a great deal of experience with. Please listen to your instincts- get a second opinion. Sounds like you have been struggling for a while and that is just not normal. Also, ask the question- how long would you be on a statin for? Rest of your life? is that tenable?

    Ideally, you can get to the point, where you are not getting sick every time you try to exercise. i think you are on the right track on trying to figure out if there is a way to attack this through food and other natural means. A few months back i did a talk on heart health at work and was surprised to find out what a difference flossing your teeth could make to help fight heart disease. Let me tell you that i am now flossing at least 4 or 5 times a week! Small steps, right? Here is an article that i found very interesting in case there are any helpful nuggets for you. Sorry it is not in a pretty widget or a beautiful roll arm sofa. My thoughts are with you. Please keep us posted if you feel up to it. i know this post was difficult.

    https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-prevent-heart-diseaseReplyCancel

  • Michelle Eaton - December 16, 2018 - 10:48 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I was reading your blog and the minute you said you had a problem I know what you meant. I am JUST starting to go through
    the same problem. I am a medication but that is it!! Eco cardio set for January. It is ALL a guess work!!!

    I am praying for God’s help for you and me.
    Love & Hugs,
    MichelleReplyCancel

  • Deb B - December 16, 2018 - 10:33 PM

    Dear Laurel,

    Try not to worry, I too have nodules on my lungs, scarring caused by pneumonia, they have remained unchanged for 30 years now. I would follow up though with a good pulmonologist for several years so they can compare X-rays taken in the doctors office on the same machine. You better find a cardiologist, stick with it and takes the prescribed meds. I went off cholesterol meds because of side effects I heard about, I ended up with a fully blocked artery and a heart attack, my cholesterol was not even very high at all. My BP was always good. We are about the same age. I am lucky to be here. Stick with the cardiologist. Love your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - December 16, 2018 - 10:22 PM

    Dear Laurel,
    First, I want you to know how much I love your blog. It’s my indulgence after a long day. I’ve learned a ton from you and it always gives me a good chuckle. I’ve been meaning to write and tell you what a delight you are and thought today was a good day to finally do it. Please know I’m praying for you – that you get clear answers to your health concerns and a simple, effective treatment plan. Blessings and good health to you this Christmas and in the New Year! NancyReplyCancel

  • Donna Carey - December 16, 2018 - 10:19 PM

    Whew, that’s a lot of comments! So much has already been said about your health so I just want to say that I think you look absolutely ravishing in your pretty blue party dress! 🙂 Take care of yourself, girl.ReplyCancel

  • Rose L - December 16, 2018 - 10:09 PM

    I don’t care if this is published or you can’t get to reading it til a week from now. Take care of you. You are cherished by many people. Thank you for sharing your journey, the good and the bad. That’s why I read your blog. Yes, for the amazing advice, but also because you’re human. I cannot handle all the fabulous people living fabulous lives on IG and don’t keep it real. 😉

    I hope you find all the advice you need and we’ll all keep sending you healing vibes and keeping you in our thoughts. I know you’re frustrated, I’ve been there and it took years for doctors to finally listen and get me the right treatment. I hope you feel as supported in your daily life as you do here. Best Wishes for some rest and care during this holiday season.ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne Moran - December 16, 2018 - 10:03 PM

    Laurel,
    Thank you for being brave and sharing your story. Wishing you all the best and hoping you feel better soon. I appreciate how you deal with your troubles with humor and sass.ReplyCancel

  • Paula - December 16, 2018 - 9:37 PM

    Laurel!!! God Bless You!! I have been busy lately so (I’m sorry to admit) I have missed a few of your blogs. Today as I was looking thru my email I stopped on your Blog and read it. I nearly fell out of my chair!! YES YES YES!!!!! She’s talking to ME! I have this little problem of getting sick when I exercise. WTH?? I have always been so ashamed. People would tell me I was out of shape, lazy blah blah blah…No help. Then when I saw this I your blog I wanted to cry!! It IS real! I am not lazy….I just get sick when I exercise. I’m over weight, out of shape, yes….because I get sick when I exercise. Therefore I don’t want to exercise because I’m tired of getting sick. It’s embarrassing and I’m stuck in a vicious circle! I’ve found a Dr who I’m praying can help me (an Internist).

    So all this to just say to you I could kiss your face for making me realize this is a condition, it is real, and there’s hope.
    I pray you get answers you are looking for and feel better.
    Thank you so much, Paula MReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 9:51 PM

      I hope your doctor can help you get to the bottom of it. xoReplyCancel

  • Cherokee B. Cole - December 16, 2018 - 9:18 PM

    I am so sorry you are having these health issues. I will keep you in my prayers. Two years ago I was recovering from cancer surgery and started listening to a lot of YouTube health videos about keto. I have listened to a couple about calcium scores but could not tell you who they were. I can recommend Dr. Ken Berry’s videos. He is a plain-spoken family physician in Tennessee who sounds like your Dr. G. I love when you put your face in the portraits! We are all pulling for you.ReplyCancel

  • Phyllis Sullivan - December 16, 2018 - 8:57 PM

    Mayo Clinic or Cleveland Clinic … they are the leaders in health. Go there.

    You look fab in the blue dress!

    Hang Tough! YOU WILL BE FINE!

    Merry Merry, and Happy New Year.

    Love and hugs, PhyllisReplyCancel

  • Camilla - December 16, 2018 - 8:50 PM

    Hello Laurel:

    TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa CA saved my sister’s life
    and got me on the right path.

    Dr. Joel Fuhrman M.D. (not your usual doctor) in Flemington NJ
    also saves lives.

    Check it out.

    Thank you for all of your wonderful design work and sharing so much.

    Get well. There is a way.

    CReplyCancel

  • Phyllis Sullivan - December 16, 2018 - 8:40 PM

    NOW LISTEN UP LAUREL!!! You will be just fine! Fine I tell you! Your’e doing all the right things; second opinions, research and Vitamin K… thanks for info on Vitamin K. And you’re sleeping in that is realllllly good for you! And you have the most wonderful ladies that have responded to you – how lucky are you? Think positive and keep up the good work in researching your condition. My husband has (for three decades) major heart issues and one thing I’ve realized is how extremely complicated science is! Thousands of things all act and react in thousands of different ways.
    We are all pulling for you! God Bless!

    Love and hugs to you! PhyllisReplyCancel

  • Tammy Stroupe - December 16, 2018 - 8:35 PM

    Dearest Laurel, I am very sorry for what you are going through and just hope you realize that because of your post, you are NOT alone and LOVED by a kazillion people like me & my twin sister from all over the globe! You are in our thoughts and prayers and we appreciate you sharing what you are going through with all of your devoted readers because it reminded us that even though you are a “Super Star” in our minds you are human like all of us too. Sending you lots of prayers, love and hugs from Pinehurst & Southern Pines, NC!ReplyCancel

  • Robin - December 16, 2018 - 8:26 PM

    Sending love and healing thoughts.ReplyCancel

  • aimee - December 16, 2018 - 8:17 PM

    It is ridiculous that mainstream med docs are not educated on K2. Even the ones who have finally realized the importance of D3 do not know that you have to take K2 with it for proper absorption. My D3 was chronically low, even with huge doses. Once I added K2 to the mix my D3 went straight up.

    I also have lung nodules-very scary. Glad you are getting them re-evaluated earlier than a year.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 8:49 PM

      Hi Aimee,

      I was told to take D3 about 3.5 years ago, but nothing about K2 with it. And, at first, there was a big difference with the added Vitamin D, but then it stopped working as well. Maybe it’s because I didn’t take it with K2?ReplyCancel

  • mrsben - December 16, 2018 - 8:16 PM

    Dear Laurel, I am so sorry to hear about your medical issues and feel that you are very wise to have listened to your intuition, are doing your research and following the advice of a medical expert you have confidence in. Reason being; like yourself I do have heredity issues and a few years ago was put on Statins as well as Osteoporosis medications both of which I had adverse side affects to. (The latter in particular when upon the second dosage without exaggeration, I actually thought I was going to die as never had been as ill in all my life! I’ll be celebrating my 75th b/day tomorrow … :)) That stated; it was only until I logged on to the web site ‘askapatient.com’ that my suspicions were validated with pages and pages denouncing the drug(s), so perhaps that is another resource you might wish to consider for information.
    Sending wishes for an accurate diagnosis, proper treatment and a speedy recovery. Fondly -Brenda-ReplyCancel

  • Valerie Welch - December 16, 2018 - 8:07 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    Thanks so much for sharing with us all. I was wondering how you
    were doing and will pray for you. I love it when you put your face on the old portraits. I really enjoy your blog and have learned so much. Take CareReplyCancel

  • Ann Dalrymple - December 16, 2018 - 8:06 PM

    Laurel – I’ve read your blog for years and look forward to every post. You give me hope that my home will not always be a decorating horror show, and your courage starting your business and making it thrive are an inspiration. So sorry you continue to feel unwell, but glad you are seeing the doctor and getting tests to figure out the cause (Doctor C sounds awful though – good thing there are more doctors out there.) Prayers, and stay strong.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - December 16, 2018 - 7:47 PM

    Laurel, so glad you shared this with us! I love that you’re doing the research for your health. Here’s another source for Vitamin K information from Chris Masterjohn

    Also, look into the role of oral magnesium as a natural calcium channel blocker.
    You might be interested in the research of Dr. Caroline Dean and her book on magnesium…The Magnesium Miracle.

    Take care LaurelReplyCancel

  • Donna - December 16, 2018 - 7:44 PM

    Laurel, I am a faithful follower and love your blog, but I’ve never commented before. Now I want offer my support and say you are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for all you give to your readers. Such great content. Now take time for you.ReplyCancel

  • Janet Williams - December 16, 2018 - 7:40 PM

    I needed to ramp up my way low Vit D, so I did TONS of research. Turns out you need D3 coupled with K2. My favorite product is by Live Wise Naturals, because it’s made with natto (fermented soybeans), which is considered a superfood. Their B12 drops are the best too by the way. Highly recommend this company as one that must really care about people because they use the finest ingredients and proscess. And no, I don’t get the product for free and they don’t know who I am from Adam! It’s Live Wise Naturals. The bottle is $19 and I’m still working on the one I bought last February. What a deal. Here’s the link: ReplyCancel

  • Danielle M - December 16, 2018 - 7:25 PM

    Oh Laurel, I laughed out loud at the ‘Laurel in a blue crinoline’ portrait. You are one of a kind!! My only thought for you is get a clear diagnosis, and if you feel uncertain, get a second opinion. Then deal just with the facts of the situation, and not what a worst case scenario might be…wastes a lot of useful energy fretting. So interesting about the vitamin K2, who knew!! I sure hope they can help you to feel better….we need you in our blog firmament, you are part of my landscape now…😘. Big hug!!ReplyCancel

  • Shelley Rose - December 16, 2018 - 7:15 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Just want to share Dr. Mark Hyman with you. He is a functional medicine doctor now, formerly practicing traditional Western medicine, and he is dang brilliant. His philosophy is that the body is whole, not functioning in separate compartments. He is available to visit (has a clinic as well as the Ultrawellness Center) but also to access online for starters. He goes WAY beyond the traditional blood tests. Functional medicine doctors ask the “Why.” Why is this happening? They dig deep. They don’t want to just treat symptoms; they want to get to the source, the cause.

    Keeping good thoughts for you, prayers for answers to come to you …

    xo Shelley RoseReplyCancel

  • Heather Burnett - December 16, 2018 - 7:09 PM

    Laurel! I always enjoy your words no matter what the topic may be! Keep on keeping on! My thoughts & prayers are with you & that fabulous blue ball gown!:)ReplyCancel

  • Amy - December 16, 2018 - 6:58 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I’m so sorry to hear that you’re not well, and I do hope you’ll be better soon! I’m glad you shared your concerns—I love your blog and have learned a lot from it over the months I’ve been reading it, but I don’t follow people just for their content, it’s because of who they are as people, too! I Love your humor and style, and I always feel like we could be settling down for a drink and dinner somewhere and “catching up” when I start reading one of your posts. All that to say, I think it’s totally fine to put more personal things out there when you feel it’s appropriate. And I do hope you’re feeling better soon!ReplyCancel

  • Chris Irizarry - December 16, 2018 - 6:58 PM

    Our stories are similar. I went to my general practitioner who prescribed a statin and ordered the CT. My score was higher than yours and in the 96th% for women my age. Not good. I elected not to take the statin and consulted a naturopathic physician in another state who ordered extensive blood work and genetic testing through Boston Heart. Long story short, I have Sitosterolemia which means my body accumulates plant cholesterol in my arteries. The irony is the very heart healthy diet I followed for all these years was killing me with high levels of plant sterols. Sitosterolemia is genetic and caused by two recessive genes, one from each parent. Anyhow, I wish you well in your journey. It is a very frightening experience but with time you will learn to find your balance. God bless.ReplyCancel

  • G Barrett - December 16, 2018 - 6:58 PM

    It looks like all you need is one more comment to read. This is my opinion based on my story. I don’t take vitamins or minerals in isolation. You need vitamin k, d, magnesium and I think one or two more that escape me right now to make sure the calcium you take goes to your bones and teeth and doesn’t go rogue…meaning landing In ARTERIES or elsewhere. There are calcium supplements available with the appropriate ratios of these. I take one by pure essence super d k calcium plus. My personal opinion is that k helps the blood to coagulate NORMALLY, meaning if you have low platelets or a clotting abnormality it can help to correct that. A lot of people who have had low platelet issues take it. That being said there is a warning on the supplement about people on blood thinners.

    I notice a lot of people comment on their racing heart issues. I was going to emergency rooms and cardiologists because of a racing heart, fluttering heart and one that seemed to skip a beat now and then. I took a sleep test and was diagnosed with sleep apnea. Got a sleep machine with one of those attractive masks and guess what? … no more issues with my heart. I was told that even 15 minutes of low oxygen levels can make your heart struggle for hours later. I embrace my machine and won’t sleep without it. Best of luckReplyCancel

  • Charlene Winebrenner - December 16, 2018 - 6:41 PM

    Good Lord!
    Going through the same ups and downs of docs
    Go to Parkview Integated Medicine here in Ft Wayne
    Dr. Rebecca Minser is a physician, plus wellness doctor,acupuncture etc.
    She put me on Vitamin D3 &K2
    CoQ10, and Theracurin HP. Curcumin and to treat these as Medicine from now on
    Have the spot on lung getting another X-Ray in four months
    Brothers and sister had surgery for spot removal and they were all benign

    This is seriously weird !
    Same diagnosis for so many women
    Have we been over looked?
    Feel your frustration
    CharleneReplyCancel

  • sc - December 16, 2018 - 6:16 PM

    Just sending you love. That is all. xoReplyCancel

  • Julia B - December 16, 2018 - 6:16 PM

    Please check Dr. Johanna Budwig: flaxseed oil and protein combined are doing “miracles”, but one has to do it correctly. And, “see” yourself getting steadier, stronger and better every day – your mind is a powerful tool as well! And thank you for all your wonderful posts!ReplyCancel

  • Roberta Heider - December 16, 2018 - 6:00 PM

    Oh, Laurel, how I sympathize with you. I had very erratic heart beat, felt tired, out of breath, just rotten in general. After several tests, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, which is often treated with beta blockers. In my case, because my heart rate was too slow at times as well as too fast at others, the doc said that beta blockers would not work for me. Conclusion: I would need a pacemaker or an ablation. I chose the pacemaker. Now, I have a new lease on life, and my mental outlook is sooo much better. I had to wear a monitor for a month, and that gave my cardiologist the information he needed. Please don’t take the K2 without talking to your trusted regular doctor first.
    I wish you all the best, and may your outcome be as good as mine.

    Fondly,
    Bobbie HeiderReplyCancel

  • Tina - December 16, 2018 - 5:33 PM

    My prayers are with you. Getting older is difficult, everything slowly or quickly comes apart. I have no advice to give you but know my thoughts and prayers are with you. Listen to your doctor but trust your instincts too.
    I lost my younger brother to a massive heart attack and my second brother needs a valve fixed or replaced in his heart, 2018 has not been a good year.
    Hopefully 2019 will be better. Many blessings..ReplyCancel

  • Angela D - December 16, 2018 - 5:23 PM

    I had not heard of Vitamin K2 before and thank you for sharing that info. I hope between your own research and the knowledge of your doctor, you are able to find a plan that will help you live your life fully. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us.ReplyCancel

  • Maureen - December 16, 2018 - 5:07 PM

    Sending you warm thoughts and wishes. I read your blog foremost for your wit and honesty so please keep sharing your health journey. Take it easy and give yourself a break and some rest by resharing previous posts. It would be like watching reruns of “The Office”. Great the first time around and even better the second (and third) time when you’re reminded of how great it is. Sorry to be bossy but want you to be well. Hang in.ReplyCancel

  • lisa ruddick - December 16, 2018 - 5:03 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    First, a tiny datum: I couldn’t tolerate statins (they hurt my stomach and made me forgetful) and so my cardiologist put me on Zetia (plus red yeast rice, a plant-based statin substitute), and–without side effects–they have greatly reduced my bad cholesterol and brought it well within normal range. I say this for you and anyone else who might have trouble with statins.
    Second, I just want to say it is so like you to reach out to your readers and share what’s going on (not that there’s anything wrong with people who don’t). You chose your own feelings of connection and authenticity over the possible risk of losing readers. But your gift for connection and authenticity is a big part of why we love you! You’re the only blogger whose blog I have ever followed, and that’s the main reason. Take care, and know we are thinking of you–
    LisaReplyCancel

  • Ramona - December 16, 2018 - 4:58 PM

    Dear Laurel,

    One of the reasons I found you has to do with my own chronic illnesses, mainly ME/CFS. It has me largely bed bound since I retired 1.5 years ago. Surfing is most of what I do when I am not sleeping.

    I did take prescription Vit K when I was younger as I bruised easily and my doctor at the time wanted me to try it. I had no negative effects and cannot remember why I stopped taking it. Perhaps, it was as simple as not having that doctor anymore or still bruising. I did up my VitC which I think helped as well at K did for me.

    Any and all supplements must be checked carefully against the whole picture. However, I have taken many over a lifetime of ME, most of which were suggested by a doctor specializing in ME/CFS.

    Keto is the rage, and I can understand your resistance to it. It may not be right for you but it is now recommended for me. Problem is, it requires cooking which is a skill of mine but which requires more energy than I have. I am slightly better when I stick to it, but the energy to cook and clean up is just not there for me.

    Actually, we haven’t evolved biologically since eating Keto, actually not in any way. We could take a baby from 200,000 years ago and raise her to be indistinguishable from a modern day human as all the ‘progress’ is technological. We are changed beings, but not from the inside out.

    But no diet should be prescribed until there is a clear diagnosis and even then checked and rechecked against the latest information.

    Not knowing what is happening is a kind of illness in itself. All you can do is be as careful as possible. I have had to live that way for a lifetime. It is scary and frustrating.

    Good fats are central to a Keto diet.

    I hope I have not offended by typing the word Keto. I am in no way suggesting you ‘try’ it, not unless you have a clear diagnosis with a clear prescription.

    Grains came along with civilization. The ability to grow our staples made all the difference to humans. Unfortunately, we have over eaten grains for our modern lifestyle. That much is clear.

    My physical problems are entirely different from yours, absent some other revelation.

    One can live and accomplish miracles with a chronic disease. The key is understanding it. The Chinese proverb: One disease, long life – was meant to suggest if you are mindful of your one disease, you will avoid what you need to and do the things you also need to.

    It is interesting that you know about exercise intolerance. ME/CFS patients clearly have this symptom.

    All I can do is think the best thoughts I can for you and for all of us.

    Please do what you need to do to take care of yourself. I, for one, will be here for you as long as you have a site. I have learned so much from you that my taste has changed and am therefore very grateful.

    As I obsess about a retirement home in California, I am also grateful for the grey decor in many of the flipped houses. They aren’t getting it right, but at least, I will be able to live in those spaces, making other changes without having to repaint everywhere. One no, no: medium grey woodwork everywhere. Oh Dear.

    Back to your situation. I am very humbled by your courage to share and your desire to answer all of these comments. Do what you can do and leave the rest.

    Lower your stress. That can never do harm. We all love you from afar.ReplyCancel

  • Jane - December 16, 2018 - 4:53 PM

    Laurel, I hate it that you’re having to deal with this. I hope that you will exhaust all other avenues before you decide to go back on statins. The propensity for statins to cause type II diabetes is nothing to mess around with. I’d suggest finding a reputable naturopath/holistic provider for adjunct guidance in all areas of health. The Standard American Diet (including tap water!) is pure killer. It’s full of chemicals and devoid of necessary nutrition…which means we’re all made (purposefully?) deficient in life and health-giving vitamins and minerals. SAD, isn’t it? And the pharma sickness maintenance model?….there’s not enough room in this box for that rant. I want good things for you, my delightful cyber friend. Prayers UP.ReplyCancel

  • Tammy Thompson - December 16, 2018 - 4:46 PM

    Dearest Laurel,

    Thank you for being honest with your readers during this difficult time. You are in our thoughts and hoping that you are in good hands with your physicians. Stay strong and know that you are a blessing to others.

    Thank you for making a difference.

    Smiles,
    Tammy ThompsonReplyCancel

  • Linda Norgart - December 16, 2018 - 4:43 PM

    You never seem to lose your sense of humor even in stressful times🙂 Would you consider going to the Cleveland clinic heart center? A dear friend of mine had issues and was so grateful she got a THIRD opinion!! Please think about it even if it turns out to give you piece of mind that you were checked out by the best in the world!!ReplyCancel

  • Libby - December 16, 2018 - 3:57 PM

    I’m glad the change to your meds has been a help.

    Do you need to work for shorter periods at a time? Now working in one position and the lengthy mental focus may affect you including hydration, blood sugar, fatigue, stress hormones , etc things that may not have bothered you in the past. BTW I recognize that going back and forth to a piece you are writing and pulling images together is likely not a desirable option – re-setting and re-focusing is time consuming and may be mentally draining as well.

    A friend, 65, recently went through a similar lung scare in September. She had some enlarged nodes. Her pulmonary function test & other work entirely normal in December. No enlarged nodes.

    Wishing you the best in health and happiness!ReplyCancel

  • Jane P. - December 16, 2018 - 3:47 PM

    I’m so glad you listened to your intuition! I agree with Kristin who recommended a different cardiologist and everyone else who spoke of finding a quality source for vitamins. Thank you for sharing your information on K2 & D3. I am lucky to have a doctor who is schooled in both western and eastern medicine which I think makes a difference. Your sunny personality and generous sharing of knowledge has helped so many of us here. We are all pulling for you!ReplyCancel

  • Lesley - December 16, 2018 - 3:40 PM

    Hi Laurel! It’s my 1st time leaving a comment, even though I have been an appreciative & loyal reader for a year now. Just wanted to send love & prayers your way. God has a plan! May you be restored to good health by eating as they did in the Garden of Eden, by good rest, & faith. I so appreciate your humor, design talent & devotion to your blog. I hope to keep reading your posts from my remote cabin for many years to come! Blessings to you.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - December 16, 2018 - 3:35 PM

    Dear Laurel, I feel for you. I wish you peace and faith as you travel this health path you are on.
    You asked why didn’t anyone tell you about taking Vit K2 when ingesting Vit D3. Well, that’s because only certain health practitioners are skilled in these matters. There are regular doctors and their form of medicine is called Allopathic; then there are practitioners who are skilled in nutrition and supplements and those people’s practice is Naturopathic; then there are those who are skilled in other forms of treatment of the body and that is
    called Chiropractic. Finally, there are others who address the body’s ills with other approaches and that is called Osteopathic. Also, their many approaches in practice often overlap. If this is mind-boggling, I understand. This is why not every doctor or health practitioner believes the same thing and treats in the same way.

    It must be stated that I have oversimplified the various fields. If you want to find out more information on any of your diagnoses and topics, I recommend going to Dr. Mercola’s website (www.mercola.com). It is searchable and free. He has so many wonderful and enlightening articles that might help you to understand your situation. Upon reading a few, I think you will know which way you want to go in addressing how you want to be treated.

    All the best.ReplyCancel

  • Anita - December 16, 2018 - 3:00 PM

    I too suffer from cardiac problems. I had a sudden cardiac arrest. My husband found me not breathing and with no hear beat. He gave me CPR and called 911. Long story short, it was really bad, I lived. I now can swim, run, hike, ski …

    What you’re going through is really scary. But you’re doing the right thing. One — you’re doing your home work; two — you’re reaching out. There are also some great resources. Since I too am athletic, I really like https://www.facebook.com/groups/cardiacathletes/ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 6:40 PM

      get the f**k out!!! I mean, that’s an amazing story! Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway; thank God you’re okay! And, thank you for the FB group.ReplyCancel

  • barbara - December 16, 2018 - 2:51 PM

    OMG; so happy you shared this; I had CMV (Cytomegalovirus) 4 years ago at age 59 and suffer from breathing issues and “stress” anxiety, etc. I was taking 20 vitamins and some normal asthma drugs; left KY for Alaska in July for 2 1/2 months vacay WITHOUT vitamins and felt great. But after arrival back home in Sept. now have a swollen thymus gland. Pushed my Dr to have blood work, Xray, Ultrasound, and CT ultrasound. Nothing yet …so going to add back some vitamins and K3 and Magnesium is on the list. Glad you shared your experience and DON’T stop asking and visiting DR…something nutritionally is wrong and it could solve many issues.ReplyCancel

  • E - December 16, 2018 - 2:34 PM

    Laurel, I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. I read your blog all the time and just love it’s tone, message and sage advise…Now, I’d like to
    share with you to check out Dr Mercola’s website. I balance what he says with my own Dr, knowledge is power.
    Love your blog and you…EReplyCancel

  • Tammy - December 16, 2018 - 2:27 PM

    Thank you for sharing your medical experience with the good and bad doctors. It’s important to choose one who is both knowledgeable and empathetic. Thank you for the K2 advice. I have osteoporosis and had stopped taking it because I ran out. Will order more. I hope Dr Great can help you feel better and don’t be afraid to push back on the lung scan timing if you don’t want to worry for 4-6 months! Stress increases cortisol: not a good thing for you either. Best of luck. I really enjoy your decorating posts.ReplyCancel

  • Kristin - December 16, 2018 - 2:27 PM

    Brave girl. Thank you for your willingness to share your present struggle. Agree there are times when it seems called for.

    You mentioned being irked with docs not discussing how to stop the calcification. I’d add that many seem uninterested in identifying the cause. I’ll offer something I’m looking into and experimenting with at the moment and seems particularly relevant to your situation. A little digging and you’ll find it’s somewhat controversial. It’s possible there are disinformation campaigns afoot. Just suggesting one keep an open mind.

    It’s distilled water. The idea is this: distilled water is pure water. No particulates. No dissolved solids. No inorganic minerals (think inorganic calcium). Just hydrogen and oxygen. It’s essentially man made rain water. Humans are not able to use inorganic minerals. As plants take up rainwater they convert inorganic minerals into organic minerals we can use. Another example of our symbiotic relationship with plants.

    Tap water, spring water, well water, etc all contain levels of TDS (total dissolved solids) easily measured with a $15.00 TDS meter. These dissolved solids (inorganic calcium included) accumulate and settle into body tissues. We think we’re doing our bodies good by drinking 8 cups of pure spring water a day. Hmm. Maybe not.

    Distilled water acts like a vacuum cleaning the ‘body machine’ just like it cleans a coffee maker. It has to do with the negative electrical charge of the hydrogen and oxygen atoms and the positive electrical charge of the particulates, i.e. sediment.

    Forgive my rudimentary understanding of this. I’m certainly no expert. It’s food for thought. Andrew Norton Webber offers videos a plenty on the subject.

    I don’t normally participate in the comments section. On anyone’s blog. But, like you, I guess I decided it seemed called for this time.

    Warm wishes,

    KristinReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 6:06 PM

      Oh Kristin,

      I think that you may be on to something. Every winter, I stick a bowl of water on my radiators. Last year, I used the same dish the entire winter. And sometimes the water completely evaporated. Well… at the end of Winter, there was a HARD FILM on the bottom of the pyrex dish I was using. I mean, like impossible to remove. I put it in the dishwasher at least half a dozen times before it finally all dissolved.

      And THAT is what I’m using to make my coffee after it’s been filtered through a brita filter. My humidified water has also gone through the filter.

      Now, is this the cause of the calcium in the arteries? I don’t know. I might’ve had it for 40 years. Who knows?ReplyCancel

  • sandy - December 16, 2018 - 2:21 PM

    Thank you for sharing, Laurel! You are helping many others by posting this. I’m in my early 50’s and also have Reynaud’s phenomenon, and have calcium deposit issues in my genes. We eat clean and are mindful of our health. I’m a nurse, and do not diagnose (I leave that entirely to the experts), but I do see patterns. I’ve experienced some of your symptoms. Your post has made me decide that I should go to the doctor and have myself checked out. I’m also going to read the links that you shared, which are also good for my husband, who was a ” healthy” 51 year old when he had a heart attack. Hang in there! You are a bright shining light, and I think that your positive energy and your great sense of humour will get you through this. I will put you in my prayers!ReplyCancel

  • Denise Manno RN, BSN, MS , CCP-L - December 16, 2018 - 2:00 PM

    Hydration, particularly before exercise may lesson the palpitations you are feeling. I am on beta blockers for increased adrenergic tone. Beta blockers “block” the adrenaline from binding to receptor sites. Normally I take it at night because of the sleepiness side effects. If you are excercising in late afternoon, the effects may have lessened to the point where you are experiencing symptoms. Try taking it in the morning then.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 5:59 PM

      I am not experiencing palpitations as I understand the term to mean irregular heartbeat. Just want to make that clear, but many are misunderstanding, if I’m understanding them correctly. haha. I am taking the beta blocker twice a day now and it is making a difference for the better, so far. I only upped the dose by half, however, as I prefer to take as little as is necessary for optimal functioning.ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - December 16, 2018 - 1:53 PM

    Oh Laurel, It is so hard to follow or make sense of contradictory medical advice, especially when it all depends on how your own body reacts to it, anyway. Be careful when doing research that all studies trace back to reliable medical journals–with actual references, no “the Mayo clinic said…” stuff! It strikes me that the list of K2 sources are things that we are cautioned against as a rule, but who can keep up with this, when 90% of nutritional advice on the internet is bogus anyway.

    I would stick with the best doctors and follow their regimen, while doing some independent research on the side.

    Please feel better soon and get over all of this! Getting well is the only holiday present that we want from you, and no discount codes are needed (although you can try some of your favorites on the insurance bills!).

    Sincerely, JimReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 6:02 PM

      I always appreciate your logical, sensible responses Jim. That’s why I like my internist so much. He does prescribe vitamins for some things. But also looks at results in a scientific matter– and LISTENS. Really important.ReplyCancel

  • Leslie - December 16, 2018 - 1:43 PM

    Oddly enough, I am online at 2:09 am because my racing heartbeat kept me from sleeping. I picked up my tablet to check on a specific email and saw/read your post – including the links. I don’t always do that, btw. Wow, Laurel. I hope you aren’t feeling so alone since writing. This is some scary stuff. But I don’t need to tell you, do l.
    I know what you mean about feeling alone when news like this hits. It happened to me this fall and even though I shared with some friends and family members, I also experienced an out-of-the-blue diagnosis and wished I’d had something like a blog where I could write about it.
    I know nothing about your illness, but I do have a bottle of K2 sitting on my kitchen counter. Still wary of taking it because I haven’t asked my oncologist about it’s possible interactions with the drug i’ve been taking for 2months now.
    I see him in just a couple of weeks and am prepared with a list of questions about supplements, foods, and body changes since the surgery and the start of The Drug he prescribed.
    I appreciate that list of foods that contribute K2. I just started using Ghee in the past few months because one of my daughters is casein intolerant, of all things. I now use it in baking and in cooking certain times when I think she might be eating. But it’s good to know there’s some nutritional value there for me as well.
    I wish I had something of substance (or cheer) to offer besides an ear to listen and some understanding. Well, maybe this . . . If you or anyone reading this or even anyone you know has missed a routine mammogram, please schedule one and Keep The Appointment. I know they are uncomfortable. But they can – and do – save lives. It had been 2 years since my last routine test. And the result was seemingly from out of nowhere . . . Now all I see on tv are commercials for cancer meds. It’s true; growing old(er) is NOT for sissies.
    I wish you better health. And do encourage you to ease your frustrations by talking to Dr. Great and your incredible primary care doc. You’re in my thoughts.ReplyCancel

  • Dawn Williams - December 16, 2018 - 1:30 PM

    Laurel, I love your blog and am sorry you are dealing with this! My husband is a Pharm D and would be happy to talk to you if you would like. Please feel free to email me and put you in contact with him.ReplyCancel

  • Jen Biggs - December 16, 2018 - 1:29 PM

    Prayers for you, Laurel. You have done a great service for your readers by publishing this-even though it was hard to do. I take D3 w/o calcium at suggestion of my internist; I also take magnesium, but will now check out K2 thanks to you! You’re younger than I am, but you’re learning that getting old isn’t for sissies!!!ReplyCancel

  • Mary K - December 16, 2018 - 1:26 PM

    Laurel,
    Sending you positive, healing thoughts your way…..I’m surprised that no one suggested that you change the time you take your beta blocker. We tell people all the time on anti-depressants that if it keeps you up at night, take it in the morning, and if it makes you tired, take it at night. I’m glad that the change in time is working for you. Beta blockers DO make people feel tired. Sometimes, even splitting the dose can be helpful (taking a little in the morning and a little at night), but using its side effects to advantage is always key to being willing to take medications.

    One of your respondees mentioned taking a magnesium supplement, which might be good, but please do talk with your provider, as too much magnesium is as bad as too little.

    I like the ideas of taking CoQ10 and K2. Always pay attention to moderation. In supplementation, it’s not true that if a little is good, a lot must be better!

    As far as the nodules on the chest x-ray, well, in healthcare, we call them “incidentalomas,” or things that are found when we’re not looking for them. Routine surveillance, aka regular x-rays can determine stability of these nodules. At 1mm, they are even too small to biopsy and you have a history that accounts for these findings.

    We have no control over our fate, but we do have control over how we respond to these difficulties. So, the best advice is something one of my colleagues told me: You only get one shot at this juicy ride called life. Just love it, the good, the bad, and the ugly.ReplyCancel

  • Meredith - December 16, 2018 - 1:12 PM

    Dear Laurel. So sorry to hear about your health issue. I read awhile back that supplements are not effective,and one should be able to get all the vitamins and minerals from your food. 6 months ago my routine blood test came back abnormal , high cholesterol, etc. which I had never had before. My daughter had been on the Dash diet and, was eating organic, no processed food and getting good results. I bought every book by author Maria Heller, on amazon and started on the diet. I recently went in for my 6 months check and my doctor asked me what I was doing not only am I losing weight, my blood work was perfect everything in a normal range. I am optimistic that eating organic and healthy will keep me healthy.ReplyCancel

  • Linda D. - December 16, 2018 - 1:03 PM

    Well, hello there 40th cousin!

    First, a big THANK YOU for this post. As you say, sharing what’s going on helps both you and US. Along with nutrition and traditional medicine, emotional support is critical when my own body needs healing. I’m glad you have Dr. Great in your corner and hope you find Dr. Super Cardiologist soon.

    One thing I found helpful in my own case was to keep a diary on my phone. I noted what I ate, how much sleep I got, amount of steps I took, stress level, etc. just to keep track of any possible invisible triggers. I did this not just for prevention, but to collect enough hard info to help the doctors discover the source of the problem so they weren’t just treating the symptoms. You might ask Dr. Great what he thinks you should track (if anything). I found that one of the places where things ‘fell into the cracks’ with traditional medicine was leaving out info about exactly what went into my body in the way of food, liquids, medication and supplements, and that regardless of what was in my medical records I needed to refresh each doctor’s recollection about this very important info each time we spoke. It takes less than thirty seconds and can make all the difference in getting diagnosis and treatment. You strike me as a terrifically organized person to begin with, and this honestly doesn’t take more than a few minutes, particularly if you use an Excel chart or some other software app. My dad used to call my smartphone my ‘little computer’, and it helped me stay on point very quickly when talking to specialists. Ok, that helped with the traditional medicine portion of my approach.

    As for the emotional support I felt I needed, I went looking for support groups. Most of us begin with family and friends (who are wonderful!), and I also went looking for any not for profit groups dealing with similar problems – again, for sharing information, doctors and personal experience. Google, Facebook and asking friends kicked up many resources. I did this not to replace my doctors’ advice, but to supplement it. It honestly kicked up a lot of questions I could run by my medical team, but also kept me hopeful, anchored and connected to myself. (I tend to be a worrier who can spin off the rails in terror with all the uncertainties.) I was SO grateful to feel like an entire team of folks had my back – with words, with crystals, with prayer, with positive energy of any and all kinds.

    Finally, I kept a journal of all my feelings. Writing regularly helped to discharge a lot of my anxiety. Initially I thought it would make me more anxious, but I found that the blank page was a wonderfully safe place where I could vent without interruption, guilt, or unwanted advice, and get down to clear thinking.

    I think you are a wise woman to ask for what you need, and I support you all the way!

    You are not alone on this trip. Sending Love and Healing Vibes!ReplyCancel

  • Ruth - December 16, 2018 - 1:03 PM

    Laurel, I’m a doctor and I want to reassure you. Small lung nodules are found in over half of people having a CTScan and 95% of the time these are benign so they are never biopsied, and a repeat scan confirms they are just tiny unchanged things caused by maybe an old infection or allergy etc.

    There is a range of statins so keep close followup with your doctor and continue to adjust dosing or change drugs until you find one that works for you…. the treatment is preventing you getting sick so makes little sense to live feeling terrible!

    Definitely talk to your doc regarding supplements , K2 and aspirin most probably ok as long as there is no K1 in your supplement which is the coagulant vitamin.

    I am sure your cardiologist is all over this but it sounds like your heart rate may benefit from 24 hour telemetry to monitor if it is intermittently racing.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 6:16 PM

      Hi Ruth,

      Thanks for the reassuring comment. I did do a holter monitor just before Thanksgiving and there was nothing remarkable there. My heart rate is elevated primarily while standing and sometimes while exercising. It is never racing, sitting or reclining. I did take a tilt table test which was positive for POTS in the summer of 2017. Some of this I’ve had most of my life, but the incidents became far more frequent.ReplyCancel

  • Muriel Harvey - December 16, 2018 - 1:01 PM

    Just to confirm, small nodes in lungs are totally normal, at least according to my pulmonologist.

    I am not a big believer in cholesterol or statins. I think that inflammation is the problem.

    If I were you, I would look at ways to lower your inflammation, Look to eating more vegetables, especially raw veggies. Try to avoid refined carbs including, bread, carbs etc. Whole wheat if from an organic wheat is probably fine, so is potatoes and sweet potatoes.

    Unfortunately, red meat (no matter the source grass fed etc) always causes inflammation, and it also causes high level of “bad” cholesterol.

    Doctors are often 10 years behind nutritionists, so if were I you, I would look for a good nutritionist to help you with your issues. Or I would look for a doctor who understands nutrition very well.

    Walking is exercise. Going to museums is exercise. Shopping is exercise.

    Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Madonna - December 16, 2018 - 12:58 PM

    First, Laurel, you need to know that it is not enough to be proactive about your health; you must be aggressive. My recommendation is to find a FEMALE cardiologist. For some reason our female hearts don’t behave quite the same way as male hearts–in any aspect in life, but also medically. Then, find a functional medicine doctor. You’re not too far from Mark Hyman in Massachusetts. He and some of his colleagues have figured out that treating the whole person has better outcomes. He’ll do a ton of tests and then tweak your diet, vitamins and supplements. You may still have to take other medications, but I have an idea they won’t leave you feeling as healthy and well as you’d like. Hyman has a bunch of books out, so it’s not hard to read about what he does, and he tailors treatment to each individual patient.

    Not so many years ago I might have called what he does ridiculous. Then my son, in order to be allowed to go to school, had to have the swine flu vaccine–you know the one they squirt up your nose. After that, he didn’t have a well day. It was as though he had the flu every single day for more than a year. I got desperate and found a chiropractor who also has qualifications in Eastern medicine, acupuncture, Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique and a bunch of other things that I thought were off the wall. Nevertheless, I was frantic to get my son well, so I made an appointment. It didn’t work right away, the doctor said it was because he was so sick. She explained that the sicker you are the longer it takes to see an improvement. And it looked like voodoo to me, but it did eventually work. Don’t give up hope, and don’t put all your eggs in the basket of traditional Western medicine.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen Fisher - December 16, 2018 - 12:57 PM

    Try reading STATIN NATI0N by Justin Smith
    You may have just started a new blog on heart health.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 6:20 PM

      lol – I keep trying to tell my design colleagues. If you want to create a platform for your business, do it on your own website, not someone elses. IE: FB and instagram, but few heed that because, well… it’s not nearly as easy or as fast. It’s a metaphor for a lot of things. But, in the end, so worth the time and energy required. And for that one thing alone, I’m deeply blessed! xoReplyCancel

  • Pat - December 16, 2018 - 12:55 PM

    Ghee is great! I use it in my coffee every morning and in cooking.

    Also, read The Big Fat Surprise https://thebigfatsurprise.com/

    And, https://drhyman.com/

    You know your own body and doctors are part of your team, indeed. Keep advocating for yourself; you’ve got this.ReplyCancel

  • Patty - December 16, 2018 - 12:46 PM

    Thanks so much for sharing, Laurel. I am anxiously following to see how you follow up on this as I have some calcium-related problems as well. Mine, however, are from an enlarged parathyroid which “induces an abnormally high level of calcium in the blood,” which in turn causes osteoporosis, and other problems. We should all do as much research on our maladies as possible to keep ourselves safe from “professionals.” My doctor’s nurse told me to make sure I take calcium (since I have osteoporosis) and I reminded her that I should NOT take calcium because of the enlarged parathyroid! I will definitely ask my doctor about vitamin K! Hope you are feeling MUCH better very soon!ReplyCancel

  • Ina Jones - December 16, 2018 - 12:45 PM

    Thank you for sharing your information. I had for years, SVT’s, heart rate at weird times go through the roof; also breathless in walking, stairs or no. Had an ablation in the heart and zapped an erratic electrode. All good now. I also have nodules in lungs due to second-hand smoke, inhaled chemicals via environment, windswept fires in CA, and mosquito spray during the 1940’s, and heaven knows what else. So, after deciding to not give in to old age and the like (I’m 77) and must climb stairs, I searched the internet and found a great women’s multi vitamin, plus will be starting Living Fuel supergreens. NO sugar! NO wheat product! NO processed foods! If I want a treat, I have a piece of 72% cocoa chocolate! Go to, the truth about cancer.com and start there! Thoughts of health and blessings to you!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - December 16, 2018 - 12:42 PM

    Good morning Laurel,
    First let me say that I am flattered that you consider us family. But I actually communicate with you more than some of my extended family. So I get it.
    Thank you for sharing your health issues. I truly believe sharing can help relieve some of the stress and depression that comes with getting bad health news.
    Last summer I was diagnosed with an auto-immune condition. I was so upset! Especially since I work out 5 days a week & keep my weight under control. I don’t smoke or drink. I thought I was a living a healthy life. It just goes to show that sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do…
    Just know that we’re all rooting for you.

    And thank you for informing us about K2. I’m about your age so I’ll be asking my doctor about it. Especially since I’m already on baby aspirin.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 2:32 PM

      Hi Mary,

      I so appreciate your continuous support in good times and bad. And yes, I too do not smoke or drink (except rarely, socially a few sips of a yummy cocktail) and am blessed with a slim, girlish figure. It matters not, what it looks like on the outside. Of course, some don’t take very good care of themselves, look like hell but their health isn’t too bad. Go figure.ReplyCancel

  • Leslie Turner - December 16, 2018 - 12:41 PM

    Laurel,

    I understand your frustration. I am sending you best wishes for feeling better soon. Do get a second (or third, if needed) opinion. That is always a good idea. You have always been an inspiration for being our best selves and designers and this post is another example of your leadership and compassion. Holding good thoughts for you, now and always.

    LeslieReplyCancel

  • Kristin - December 16, 2018 - 12:37 PM

    I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this. I am in no way a medical doctor, but the one thing that immediately jumped out at me is that your heart symptoms sound an awful lot like those of atrial fibrillation, as well. It’s entirely possible that they haven’t mentioned it because they’ve tested for it and cleared you, but it’s quite under-diagnosed, especially in women (as I suppose all heart issues are). I have a strong family history of it ( grandmother, father, and his siblings all have it), so it’s something I try to make sure to keep an eye out for. My internist, who is very cool, actually recommended just getting an Apple Watch, of all things. Apparently version 4 has continuous heart screening, and is designed to warn you if your heart is in fibrillation. My doctor said he wouldn’t diagnose based on it, but it is a good screening tool for whether or not they need to do more testing. And it’s about the same cost as some of the initial testing, but you get to keep a nifty watch for your trouble.

    I would also probably try to get into the good cardiologist to review things as soon as possible. The difference in treatment from a good to bad doctor can be life altering. My doctors missed that I have asthma and some unusual allergies for more than a decade until I got to the right doctor who got me to the right specialist.

    Good luck as you navigate the maze that is our healthcare system.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 2:27 PM

      Hi Kristin,

      Thanks so much for the rec. I definitely want to get an Apple watch or fitbit. I am also curious about my sleeping situation.

      I have worn a Holter 24 hour monitor at least four times in the last 24 years and most recently 3 weeks ago. It did not show any sign of atrial fibrillation. There were a few extra beats, but not out of the range of normalcy.ReplyCancel

      • Kristin - December 16, 2018 - 3:00 PM

        So, my doctor’s concern with the Holter monitor was that it’s quite common not to have an a-fib incident in the 24 hour monitoring period, especially if you haven’t experienced the symptoms you describe while wearing the monitor. It’s apparently one of the reasons that a-fib is underdiagnosed. He said to really know you have to do with one of the longer (super inconvenient, quite costly) monitors that record a week or more. Which is what got us to the wear-an-apple-watch option. Because I don’t want to wear one of their monitors for a week or more (and pay a small fortune for the privilege) if there’s an alternative. That all said, it’s entirely possible your doctor is confident in the Holter monitor results (especially if you had symptoms while wearing it), in which case ignore me completely :-).ReplyCancel

  • Anastasia - December 16, 2018 - 12:32 PM

    My husband is been taking Nattokinase instead of baby aspirin for years and it works great and the good news is you can buy K2 w/D3.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa from MT - December 16, 2018 - 12:31 PM

    Dearest Laurel, thank you for sharing your issues and concerns. From a regular reader and a 20th cousin (haha!), I have no advice, only well wishes for some livable solutions for you. Your writing about your health and how it affects you is not a burden at all and is informative. If you lose any subscribers, they haven’t connected with you yet, that’s all.

    Good that you are taking care of yourself and I hope you can find a Dr. Great cardiologist too. Some good suggestions here and I second the “no supplements online”. I buy lots of things from amazon but have gotten junk supplements and creams from them so I only buy from a real store now.

    Sending r’fuah sh’leimah to you.ReplyCancel

  • gloria - December 16, 2018 - 12:31 PM

    Laurel, You take care, and I feel they will eventually figure out what the best course really is, but let me just sympathize on the uncertainty of the issues and how the doctors don’t say the same thing. I’m in a similar situation with that process,and all I would ask for is CLARITY about what to do/not do. It is maddening. You are great to post this, and I believe it will help many. Of course, it will also pull out the crazies with their nutritional advice, which is a Black Art if ever there was one. Peace and love to you. Don’t even think about responding. You don’t have time.ReplyCancel

  • Karen B - December 16, 2018 - 12:25 PM

    I tried to post this earlier but don’t see it.

    I’m so sorry for your health issues. Sounds like you do your research. If so, please check of Dr Caldwell Esselstlyn and his research on reversing heart disease. Another person also suggested Dr Gregor and his nutritional facts.org. It’s a great resource.

    Also if you look at the photo that you posted on K2 you will see lots of fruits and veggies. These are a perfect source of K2. Animal sources have eaten the veggies so why not just eat the source?

    The last resource I’ll tive you is T. Colin Campbell the author of the China Study.

    I’ve been using food and it’s properties to help increase my health for over a decade with outstanding results.

    Let me know and I can give you more resources or answer questions.

    KReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 2:43 PM

      Thank you Karen. The comments are moderated is all and I believe it might be that one isn’t told that if responding on a mobile device. Not sure. I think actually, that the fruits are K1 but I needed a pretty image. I actually paid for that one.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Saloomey - December 16, 2018 - 12:25 PM

    Hi again Laurel,

    Here’s a postscript – something I want to add to my earlier response.

    If I were in your shoes I would seek out an EXCELLENT Naturopath.
    Oftentimes they will go directly to an accurate diagnosis and solution.
    At the very least their input is enlightening.

    I have a friend who had pleural effusion, and as a result developed scar tissue in her lungs. Also doesn’t smoke. Has shortness of breath, probably related to the scar tissue, can appear “suspicious” in an X-ray. It might be that your lungs have also developed some scar tissue as a result of previous maladies.

    Worth checking out.

    Best, KReplyCancel

  • Geri L Sprague - December 16, 2018 - 12:24 PM

    I am glad you decided to share. I believe when you share with those you choose to share with it is helpful to all. You appear to be on the right path and I wish you the best. Agree that you should drop the Cardio Dr. like a hot potato.ReplyCancel

  • ALISA - December 16, 2018 - 12:11 PM

    This is blogging/the internet at its best. Let’s use this medium to help and support each other. (When I’m feeling low I need to stay off Facebook where everyone else’s life APPEARS perfect.)

    Sending positive thoughts and hope.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 7:18 PM

      We all know that in reality it’s not always how it looks. Blessings Alisa!ReplyCancel

  • Diana McLean - December 16, 2018 - 12:07 PM

    Dear dear Laurel
    Thank u for listening to your heart and sharing. None of your bloggy true friends will run
    You wrote this blog with sincerity and included your wonderful edgy humor.
    “Wait and see” mmmmmm no thank you.
    U will receive so many prayers.
    Please keep all of us informed when u want to.
    You are dear and precious to so many people.ReplyCancel

  • Liz-Anne Platt - December 16, 2018 - 12:03 PM

    Dear Laurel,
    You bring such elegance and inspiration into my life, and to so many others, I’m sure. We count on you, which is why I’m pleased to say that you can surely count on us. I won’t presume to give you any medical advice, except to say trust your gut, as you’re doing already. And from one worry wort to another, easy does it! Knowledge is power, so focus on equipping yourself with as much info as possible as you forge ahead! Wishing you all the blessings of the season.XOXOXOReplyCancel

  • Diane Morse - December 16, 2018 - 12:00 PM

    Dear Laurel, Im a long time follower/admirer and this is the first time Im writing to you. I am sorry to hear you are not feeling well. Im sending speedy recovery wishes and hugs to you.ReplyCancel

  • Debbi Gerard - December 16, 2018 - 11:59 AM

    I’m glad for your post. We all have issues to deal with and saying them outloud…or in print…can help deal with the stress. Hoping to find relief and help with those docs. Enjoy your site!ReplyCancel

  • Linda - December 16, 2018 - 11:49 AM

    Good morning Laurel, Firstly, why is your heart racing? Has your cardiologist monitored your heart for a period of time to determine what cardiac arrhythmia you are having? Cardiac ablation may be warranted for recurrent issues of a certain type. Have you had a stress test/echocardiogram to determine functioning of the heart? These things would be helpful in determining next steps for any treatment necessary. Work with your cardiologist to determine appropriate cholesterol treatment – you may need low dose combination treatment to avoid side effects – check into that.

    All the best.

    LindaReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 5:39 PM

      Hi Linda,

      I don’t expect you to read the links, but they explain what’s been done and going on. I had a tilt table test which confirmed POTS. As my blood pressure dropped 100 points in less than a minute and I nearly passed out while strapped to a table, at about an 80 degree angle.ReplyCancel

  • cee - December 16, 2018 - 11:47 AM

    You might want to check with one (?) of your doctors about the vitamin K. I know that vitK can increase clotting so that they frequently tell people who are on anticoagulants to watch their intake. I’m assuming they have you on a baby aspirin as a mild anticoagulant.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Watson - December 16, 2018 - 11:44 AM

    Laurel, Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I have been down a similar path and understand some of what you are experiencing. When we turn onto life’s bumpy roads it can be a scary and frustrating ride, in other words, really suck!! Having simular issues myself, I suggest you grab the doctor you have the most faith in, and are the most comfortable with, and work closely with him or her. That has made a BIG difference for me in this journey. Sending you love and hugs. LindaReplyCancel

  • Maxine Robertson - December 16, 2018 - 11:37 AM

    First, I have to tell you how happy it makes me to be related to you, lol!
    I have been enjoying your blogs since I discovered you while recovering from surgery. You made me laugh so much I thought I’d pop a stitch! I enjoyed that post so much I made my first public reply. I never do that. I read them, think about them while mulling over an appropriately witty response. It never comes and I remain a silent, but devoted, reader. Now that I know you close comments I will try harder. Why? Because something else you wrote struck me – your firm belief that sharing helps cure. I am a believer, but it took a heart attack to spur me to share. Something I never did, beyond my family. I have a little known syndrome, brought about by stress (truly) that causes part of my heart to balloon. Hence I am learning all sorts of stress management and sharing is part of the self care I am told I need to heed. I offer no advice. I’m not a doctor, blogger or decorator (armchair at best). I’m telling you this because your blog goes beyond designing – it is therapy for some. You make me laugh, plus you teach. Also, you have the most beautiful eye candy. I do hope you get to the bottom of this. I will be anxiously waiting to hear good news from you. Sorry for the long post. Feel free to delete.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 5:56 PM

      Are you kidding? This note is a treasure amongst treasures! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Gail - December 16, 2018 - 11:34 AM

    Laurel,
    I’m so sorry you are going through all of this. Nutrition is complex, but can be a powerful road to health. I’ve had my episodes of health issues and the silver lining was that I found someone that I consider to be the best nutritionist in New York. She combines her extensive nutritional knowledge with old world practices and technology that assesses the needs of your body. She solved issues for me that doctors could not address. If you decide you want a nutritionist, check out her web site at dinakhader.com (and mention my name…maybe you’ll get an earlier appointment). She can figure out the deficiencies in your body and the nutrients you need. And the good news is that she is Westchester based. Good luck!
    GailReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 4:46 PM

      Smith Ave. In Mount Kisco. Know it very well as I lived in N. Westchester for 22 years.ReplyCancel

  • Inna - December 16, 2018 - 11:28 AM

    We are all human, there shouldn’t be any hesitation to share what troubles us, but I can also understand the reservation. I won’t offer medical advice, since it is seldom helpful to do so, but I can offer support and encouragement. Take great care of yourself, enjoy the things you love, and listen to your gut, it is rarely wrong. Merry Christmas, Laurel, I love your blog and the variations of posts you write!ReplyCancel

  • Allyson - December 16, 2018 - 11:26 AM

    Functional Medicine doctors are experts in wellness and in supplements, a tool they use all the time. You can get the advice you need on what supplements to take and possibly alternative ways to treat your symptoms (since you don’t want to take statins, for example.) I am taking Vitamin D drops (very easily absorbed) with K2 already in them, given to me by my Functional Medicine doctor.
    I still have my army of MD’s too.
    Keep fighting and writing with grace, as you always do. Wishing you only the best.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Dietz - December 16, 2018 - 11:24 AM

    Laurel, You are such an open and giving person. I am sorry this has been a crappy health year for you. Go with your gut on choosing doctors, research, make changes, live positive each day. I think you have those covered already so
    I am giving you One Hundred NO’s as a gift. Take care of yourself and use your supply of no’s to self care. When you run out of no’s let me know. I have extra in my linen closet. I keep them on hand to use as gifts for special people. BTW it is never as bad as you can imagine. Believe me I know.
    Cheers, MelissaReplyCancel

  • Carlene - December 16, 2018 - 11:20 AM

    Bless your heart, Laurel! Your message today was very distressing, but what I admire about it was your “take the bull by the horns” capabilities. You got yourself out there, sought advice in all quarters, dealt with unpleasant people, and all this while feeling pretty crappy. Bravo! I will try to follow your lead when confronting harrowing issues. And the blue dress was fabulous…that’s gotta make a girl feel better!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 16, 2018 - 11:15 AM

    Good morning, Laurel,

    Sending light and love to you and great thanks for sharing your immense talent and humor with all of us – you are a gift!

    The week you described in your post is a mirror image of the week I just endured – blood work that revealed frighteningly high LDL; a diagnosis of FH (Familial Hypercholesterolemia); and a CT scan that revealed a high calcium score. I do have occasional cardiac arrhythmia as well so, all-in-all, it was a pretty tough week.

    By way of background: I am 60 years old, a healthy weight/thin and in overall (otherwise) “good health”.

    Instinctively, I reached out to my naturopath. After reviewing my blood work and calcium score, she suggested that my symptoms were related to my “gut ecology”.
    and recommended undertaking a test of my “microbiome” to determine how best to support my gut health through diet and supplementation (Viome is one of several companies who perform this highly-specialized testing – they do not sell supplements). If, “all disease begins in the gut”, then it makes sense to me to find out what’s happening there. And so begins my journey . . .

    Just wanted to reach out to share with you my experiences (so far), and to let you know that you’re not alone!

    Keep Well!
    KimReplyCancel

  • Shelley - December 16, 2018 - 11:14 AM

    Laurel, watch Forks over Knives on Netflix. Lots of examples of people who have reversed serious health issues with plant based nutrition.. My mom had a heartattack and went plant based and she’s 80 with an all clearReplyCancel

  • Lynn - December 16, 2018 - 11:13 AM

    So sorry to hear of your health troubles; very stressful indeed. I’m going to give you some information, I don’t believe in trying to influence people’s personal decisions; everybody is different and nothing works for everyone. I’m not a doctor, I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for many years in the field of cardiology at leading teaching hospitals in Canada….. The same drugs are sold worldwide and since the US is the leader when it comes to guidelines and research, we all just follow along:):)

    If you decide start taking a statin again, start with the lowest possible dose, even consider splitting the pill in half…. from your photos you look to be a teeny tiny person….. many people, especially those who weigh under 130lbs have issues tolerating a full dose. You also need to be monitored at the beginning of therapy, those aches and pains you described with your previous experience are very real; in most people they go away. They’re caused by an increase in muscle enzymes… the same ones that make you achy from ambitious workouts…. in a select few, those elevations do not resolve. It’s worth trying another statin, or there are other types of medications that are not statins that work on cholesterol…. they also can cause the same enzyme issues.

    Since your HDL is high, do you even need a statin? There is a ratio of LDL to HDL …. some people with high cholesterol do not need meds. If you’re on the fence about what to do, see if there is a test to fractionate your LDL cholesterol….not all LDL is created equal. Tiny dense LDL penetrate your arteries and cause heart attacks, angina, strokes etc…… Big fluffy LDL do not….. this test is used in research, I’m not sure if it is available to the public… hope it is as I’ve brought it up…. nothing worse than wanting something only to find that’s not available.

    I have never tried any vitamin therapy so I can’t comment…… if you like the idea of vitamins, Niacin is used to lower cholesterol for real, ask your doctor. You need to use huge doses, and be monitored. It also has a lot of side effects which is why it’s not widely used. That being said, just because a huge number of people can’t tolerate a medication doesn’t mean you will have problems; the reverse also applies, in that a well tolerated medication can in select people can cause huge problems.

    You didn’t mention this, but have you been investigated for Atrial Fibrillation? I’m glad to hear your symptoms have somewhat improved with changing your beta-blocker…. just keep in mind there are multiple beta blockers as well as other meds…. so if one isn’t working, there’s lots of other options available.

    As for diet, there has been a lot of changes as of late and fat is now back on the menu…. seems that awful Ancel Keyes…. his “research” led to the low fat hypothesis….. apparently he omitted all of the data that didn’t support his hypothesis which mean his findings are pretty much fiction. Best advice: real food! Food is very personal, so I don’t like to make specific recommendations.

    I hope you are able to get things sorted and start feeling better soon.ReplyCancel

  • Megan - December 16, 2018 - 11:08 AM

    You’ve pushed through a lot and given all of us a lot of help. We may be 40th cousins, but the influence of what you teach is everywhere in my home, so I think of you as my design big sister. I’m glad you’ve shared this post so you can let us nurture you back a little bit!
    I don’t have any medical advice, only encouragement. You can do this! You have a whole online community cheering for you. Keep us updated!ReplyCancel

  • Maureen - December 16, 2018 - 11:03 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    Take a deep breath. The calcium scan is a screening test. It should be followed by a non- invasive nuclear stress test to confirm if the calcium is indeed in your coronary arteries. I went thru same thing last year. Heart Is fine. Changed to pravastatin for lipid control, no leg issues. Nodules on lungs are common in this area of the US because of birds in this area.

    Please follow up with cardiologist for the next test.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 4:34 PM

      I tried taking a stress test about 22 months ago and got sick almost immediately. I had never been on a treadmill before and the thought of it makes me sick. But, I hung on as long as I could. That cardio was the WORST. He comes in and barks at the nurse. SHE WASN’T ON LONG ENOUGH!!!

      Then he looks at the graph and says it again and then LEAVES!

      It took me an hour before I was well enough to drive home.ReplyCancel

  • Susan - December 16, 2018 - 11:02 AM

    So sorry to hear about your medical issues Laurel.

    I had something similar a few years ago and am alive to tell about it! Please read up on the link between high calcium levels and parathyroid disease. If after your research you think you it’s something to pursue, please be careful – I had a general surgeon early on in my search for answers say he could go in and “deal” with it…felt like I was in Vegas! The Norman Parathyroid Center in Tampa, FL is the place to go – they only handle parathyroid and they will tell you the tests to have done to determine if it’s a parathyroid problem. They are ethical – I was a borderline case and they told me to take a wait and see approach, five years later and some dietary adjustments (no gluten, more good fat, etc) I’m feeling better than ever. They could easily have told me I needed surgery (for the money) and I would have jumped at it just to feel better. I spoke to several folks who did go to Tampa for the surgery and it changed their lives.

    Praying that you find the right answer to feel better soon!

    SusanReplyCancel

  • Susie - December 16, 2018 - 11:02 AM

    So sorry – medical problems are so stressful, especially the waiting for results, etc. My son had cancer when he was 8, so I know all about the gut-wrenching wait for results. He’s 17 now, and cancer free. The best feeling is having a plan for treatment.
    My mother also has high calcium scores, but very good cholesterol numbers, so the two aren’t always related. When you listed your symptoms, I knew right away what was happening. I also started taking K2/D3 when my mom got her bad news. Research indicated that the K2 works better with D3. I believe that if you’re taking certain statins, you shouldn’t take K2, but don’t rely on me for medical advice! My mom is on several meds and they may insert a stent at some point. Good luck with finding a good cardiologist to work with!ReplyCancel

  • JCH - December 16, 2018 - 11:02 AM

    Hi Laurel, I emphasize deeply with your frustrations about not “looking sick.” I have been struggling through an autoimmune disorder for a number of years and it can be very challenging some days to look perfectly healthy on the outside while truly struggling to make it through the day. My family and friends kindly tease that I am the healthiest sick person they’ve ever met because I take such good care of my body and seem to look fine but they see my illness in ways a stranger never could. I too have had years of not so helpful doctors and a few amazing ones. In the end, I have made decent progress through melding Eastern and Western medicinal practices. I wish you much love and renewed health in the coming year!ReplyCancel

  • Justine lemmon - December 16, 2018 - 10:59 AM

    Laurel,
    Please listen to your body, you have written that it has been telling you it’s not well for awhile. Please don’t go on supplements or get information on the web. Most of them are worthless or harmful. Please look into Lyn Genet’s The Plan. She is a nutritionist in NY, she can help you avoid medications and improve your numbers with food and targeted supplements short term. She is very direct. It will change your life.ReplyCancel

  • Mara Smith - December 16, 2018 - 10:59 AM

    Hang in there and be thankful for the warning signs. When it comes to your health, you have to be your best advocate, especially if you are a woman! Do your research and check the sources, there is a lot of junk medicine on the internet. Physicians are overworked and can make mistakes, they are only human. I am sure in the end you will be fine, sounds like you are already improving! God bless you!ReplyCancel

  • Carol E - December 16, 2018 - 10:53 AM

    Oh, Laurel. You bring so much light and humor to your blog and I am so sorry for your news. Reading the comments from your followers, I hope you feel the love and good energy from all that care for you as you work your way through this.ReplyCancel

  • tara - December 16, 2018 - 10:45 AM

    One year ago this month, I could’ve written this same post. Similar story: early 50’s, no signs of heart trouble and they did a scan “just as a baseline.” My CAC score put me in the 97th% for my age (as you know, not good) 🙁

    I understand the stress of hearing bad news, but try not to let it get you down and use the info to help inform your care moving forward (it’s just one marker, of many…). Oh, and look into how magnesium helps the K2 do its job.

    Wishing you much health and happiness in the new year…and thank you for sharing your story.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - December 16, 2018 - 10:45 AM

    Hoping you feel yourself again very soon.
    Thank you for having the courage to be so vulnerable. Some of the aloneness is realizing on a deep gut level instead of the inside your head level, that mortality is hard and no one escapes. Only the lucky ones die healthy and young. You touch a huge number of people.
    You have the courage to re-invent yourself and start from ground 0 in learning tech to become a blogger. Even if your blog was a dud, which it most definitely is not. You are an incredible
    person. The connections are people who choose to be with you and your friends not obligated by birth or employment. Celebrate all the “ volunteers” in your personal world.
    They are “family”. Breathe. Watch the steam rise from the mug of coffee. Breathe. May you find peace. One minute at a time.ReplyCancel

  • Erin Aber - December 16, 2018 - 10:40 AM

    Wishing you well in body, mind and spirit. If there is any consolation, my mom was diagnosed with lung calcifications and they too went away. She had had multiple bouts of bronchitis, etc. it took several years, but we were also told that generally, they know the difference between benign and non benign nodules and so if they felt hers were serious they would have intervened right away. I like that your doc moved your window of observation up, though. Sometimes we just need peace of mind.ReplyCancel

  • Cindy W. - December 16, 2018 - 10:38 AM

    Although there is strong suggestion of a cardiac issue, please please ask for thyroid profile (TSH, T4, and T3 ) and serum calcium levels ( if not obtained previously). These are easy labs to draw (non fasting). Some of your symptoms also can be seen with thyroid/parathyroid disease.
    Wish you the best,
    Cindy W.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 4:14 PM

      My thyroid has been checked up the wazoo but thanks for mentioning.ReplyCancel

  • Janet marchese - December 16, 2018 - 10:35 AM

    Just wondering if they have ever given you a hear monitor to see if it’s AFIB. Which is very hard to catch unless it happens when your wearing the monitor! I hsve very similar symptoms to you and they have not been able to catch it yet so going on to get an implant monitor ! Been on beta blocker also worked for a while but made my hair fall out and get thin! Just a thought ! It’s very frustrating and very disturbing that answers always another pill ! Your in my thoughts and prayers!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 4:13 PM

      Yes, I wore the monitor. I’m not aware of extra beats except very, very occasionally. My heart rate resting is naturally slow.Just took it and it’s 46/min.ReplyCancel

  • Diana - December 16, 2018 - 10:31 AM

    Have you ever looked into the Weston A. Price diet? (It is not paleo.) It’s definitely funky and the people who follow it sometimes get a little fanatical (I do not follow it, but have found his info fascinating). He studied traditional diets from around the world and how they compared to the health of the populations who ate them. I know that Vitamin K and its effects were part of his research. All that to say, you might be on to something there! ALso, I agree with the above poster that sometimes you need diet and conventional medicine combined. Thank you for sharing and I hope you find answers soon!ReplyCancel

  • Susanamantha - December 16, 2018 - 10:23 AM

    Good for you being a good patient with a good Dr. G. Wish we all had one. I think I do with my new one of 2 years. By the way, I take a combo D3 and K2 spray, sublingually, daily. Spray under the tongue, hold it there for 20 seconds, then swallow. “now” brand from Amazon. By the way, I also put my head on others’ bodies. Have been doing specialized FB/Instagram images just for fun. Today I was Donna Reed in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and my husband was Jimmy Stewart. Not having a young one handy, one of our dogs was Zusu. I’ve been Liz Taylor, Maureen O’Hara, Audrey Hepburn, Whistler’s Mother, and a stand-in in Dali’s Persistence of Time, as well as others. My whole family is in the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware. One a week for 85 weeks. It is fun, isn’t it. Let me know if you wish to see any of them. I can send you my instagram name.ReplyCancel

  • Janet Grills - December 16, 2018 - 10:23 AM

    Hello Laurel, I have enjoyed your weekly blog for several years and have learned so much from you. We live in Toronto – so we can’t always take advantage of amazing options available in USA, but you have influenced many of my design decisions, and I thank you for your generous spirit.
    I am an RN and have had a similar cholesterol/statin/supplement debate with my husband and his doctors over the years. There is so much opposing opinion out there!
    I did my own research – as you are doing – and learned so much from Ivor Cummings – The Fat Emperor. Watch his video lecture from Dec 6/18 he explains the Calcium Score and risks and benefits of cholesterol. Also, Dr. Dave Feldman has a great website about cholesterol interpretation & risks.
    Blessings to you, JanetReplyCancel

  • Susie - December 16, 2018 - 10:22 AM

    My mom is 85 1/2 and thanks to modern medical technology and drugs is still going. She could have easily been dead 15 years ago but modern medicine has kept her going. But I would encourage anyone to be their own advocate. If something is not right, speak up and keep speaking up until someone does something about it to your satisfaction. I think some of the best medicine is eating right (OK yesterday I had a Christmas party and ate more than my share of cookies), sleeping and exercising. Now when I say exercising, I don’t necessarily mean trudging away on the treadmill at the fitness center, but walking OUTDOORS and enjoying the peace and quiet of Mother Nature. **Don’t take any tech devices with you!!
    Unplug from all your tech devices and plug in to Mother Nature.
    Enjoy your holiday season, everyone!!ReplyCancel

  • Sylvia - December 16, 2018 - 10:22 AM

    Laurel- May I say to you, sharing your journey with this diagnosis of yours, is a well scripted explanation of what happens when we hear scary medical news about ourselves. I believe that once we hear “ you have” everything shuts down. Then at some point -usually in the middle of the night, we start to rewind the conversations and start to analyze what’s real, and then we start rolling some heads around. What I admire about you always…… is your ability to give all of us the pros and cons of decorating ideas and projects that have worked and some whom weren’t so spot on ! And…..what you did again with this post was quite the same. I learned allot form you this morning about statins and a brand new vitamin that I had never heard of K2( I too am on statins and I blame so much of my memory loss on that creepy( there is a bigger better word I use instead of that word)… drug). Keep being pro active with your doctors, I actually love that about our generation. A very wise head surgical nurse, client of mine gave me this piece of advice that I have shared a million times :
    “ Remember, medicine is nothing more than the practice of OPINIONS!”
    By the way- Your blog is always my most favorite thing on Sunday mornings with my first cup of coffee! I honestly know you are my cousin, 40th removed.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon McFarland - December 16, 2018 - 10:20 AM

    Sending good thought, prayers and hugs. You add so much joy, humor and no nonsense sound advice to my life. Do keep us posted we love you.ReplyCancel

  • C.Beach - December 16, 2018 - 10:20 AM

    Laurel, although we have never met, your story made my heart ache for you. My children introduced me to a fantastic product 4 months ago. It is called Protandim. You can watch a video on You Tube. Put in search box: “ABC Primetime Video and Vitality Stack”. This product is all natural. It has 7 US patents and 5 international patents. 47 universities studies have been completed on this branded product. 23 of those studies also completed the peer-reviews process and are published on PubMed.gov. The National Institute of Aging just proved in a multi-year study that it extends the lifespan of all oxygen breathing mammals. Your body has the ability to heal itself. This product which is sold through Network Marketing WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!!! Please contact me and I would be happy to work with you.ReplyCancel

  • Jeannie Holt - December 16, 2018 - 10:15 AM

    I am really glad you shared this. I think we all have this mentality that “that’s not going to happen to me”. I, for one, think this. I also wonder how I would handle a bad diagnosis. I think that’s one reason I don’t really go to the doctor. My husband, a complete health nut and athlete, got tonsil cancer 3 years ago. That was the hardest diagnosis to hear and treatment was rough. Anyway, I am not really saying much here but do appreciate you sharing. I love your blog. Good luck to you.ReplyCancel

  • Publius Huldah - December 16, 2018 - 10:14 AM

    Well you are a lovely lady AND a fighter. And I too read your posts and enjoy them – the ones about decorating and the ones about your handsome Son. I send my BEST wishes to you.ReplyCancel

  • LINA FLETCHER - December 16, 2018 - 10:12 AM

    I will keep you in my prayers. Having been through a waiting game myself recently, I can only share with you a quote from Padre Pio….”Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”ReplyCancel

  • George - December 16, 2018 - 10:10 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    I wish you the best and hope you find a definitive answer!!

    I work in biomedical informatics….basically finding data/research supported healthcare solutions.

    Soooooo here is my blurb that might make you more irritated then seeing a living room set in all matching brown leather.

    These companies pushing pink salt, coconut oil, whatever supplement is in yoga journal this week, ‘super foods’ that Gwyneth Paltrow eats, not being vaccinated and the over consumption of vitamins, prey on peoples fears and the difficulty in understanding scientific research papers.

    They usually find one study to support their claims and that one study is never repeated and has a ridiculously small data-set. Then they turn around and make millions of dollars. These are scams wrapped in a veil of dubious science. They can also be harmful.

    You are doing all the lifestyle things you can do; seeing your doctors, eating a balanced diet of mostly fruits and vegetables, exercise, not smoking, sleeping etc…

    Again, I wish you the best.ReplyCancel

  • Margaret Robb - December 16, 2018 - 10:09 AM

    Hi Laurel Your knowledgeable sharing is very therapeutic for you – so please continue- and helpful to others. I have had excruciating muscle pain for years -with lots of tests to no avail, but no one has ever asked me about taking statins. So THANK YOU for your research and sharing. I can hardly wait for office hours to call my doc tomorrow. Wishing you a fast resolution to this horribleness. <3ReplyCancel

  • Penny - December 16, 2018 - 10:09 AM

    I don’t have any information to offer but am sending healing thoughts. But I know how the shock of diagnosis and then the research and waiting on more results is extremely difficult. Hoping you find the answer and feel better real soon.ReplyCancel

  • Janet - December 16, 2018 - 10:07 AM

    Your blog brings humor and beauty to us and I hope with can return a bit to you to lift your spirit.ReplyCancel

  • Teresa - December 16, 2018 - 10:07 AM

    Oh wow, a lot to go through. You’re a smart cookie and are already forging ahead though. I’ll be sending good thoughts.ReplyCancel

  • Janet - December 16, 2018 - 10:06 AM

    I hope we, your fans, can lift your spirits while you are dealing with this. Your blog brings humor and beauty to us and I hope with can return a bit to you.ReplyCancel

  • Therese Megan - December 16, 2018 - 9:58 AM

    Laurel, it may be good to get a second opinion on the nodules in your lungs. I hope it all goes well for you. I learned quite a bit while reading your post. Thanks so much for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Pam Cole - December 16, 2018 - 9:57 AM

    Hi Laurel. I’m a loyal reader and fan of yours but have never written to you. But as a cardiology nurse specializing in imaging (specifically calcium scoring/CT angiography,) I wish I could just sit down and talk to you and explain and reassure you.
    Knowing that’s not going to happen, let me just say this: 1) in our large cardiac practice, we live by the rule “Keep your LDL (bad cholesterol) below 70 and the cv disease will not progress.” If a statin alone won’t to it, add a PSK9 such as Repatha.
    2) regarding vit K2: Talk first to you cardiologist. There is a study published in Cardiovascular Magazine which suggests post menopausal women may have worsening of plaque buildup with Vit K, so don’t believe all promotional hype. 3) virtually everone has lung nodules—had they been suspicious looking, they would have said so. In 4-6 months, they will be able to see the normal progression of healing and calcification. So rest easy.
    I feel guilty writing this long message—but I feel like you are a friend. Wishing you all the best!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 3:55 PM

      Oh Honey,

      I can show you something to be guilty and shameful about. Of course, those people will never see it. This is the diametric opposite of that and hardly long! However, it certainly is crazy making when medical sources conflict with information that’s opposing!ReplyCancel

  • Ruth - December 16, 2018 - 9:54 AM

    Good morning Laurel, I hear you. We’re too young for this to happen.
    Like I’ve finally got a handle on my life and the Beautiful Aubusson rugs being pulled out from under us. They call it the Practice of medicine. I’m thinking we lost balance…..too much low fat processed food and not enough raw spinach. Take care sweet cousin, you are an Inspiration, and you don’t get that title unless you Share. XoxoReplyCancel

  • Melissa - December 16, 2018 - 9:54 AM

    p.s. You have Laurel’s Rolodex, no? Every great doc like Dr. Great has one, too. Tap into that network – share concerns and ask. My gyn recommended the best cardiologist I could have hoped for – better actually.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Scruggs - December 16, 2018 - 9:54 AM

    oh my dear friend- I can relate so well to everything you are speaking of. Vascular disease runs in my family….strong!! would you believe I’ve been in the hospital all week with my mama who has had complications due to the MEDICATIONS they had her on?? If I’ve learned anything at all this week, it is to check and double-check everything you are taking. In my mama’s case, had I not INSISTED that they admit her after 3 trips to the ER this week, we could have had a vastly different outcome. You are so smart in researching everything, as always, and I love all the info you found out on K2- thank you so much for sharing. Let’s try to catch up on the phone soon if possible- I’m so happy to hear that are feeling a bit better and able to go to ballet- I KNOW that helped. The good news is that you are on top of this, and we all appreciate you sharing your journey and information. We all love you and are with you in this!
    xoxo, much love and hugs,
    ElizabethReplyCancel

  • Pamela Goldman - December 16, 2018 - 9:53 AM

    I offer no advice, because you are doing an amazing job taking care of yourself. I offer my incredible awe of what you do for others – I love your website, your taste is the exact opposite of mine, and I love it, and I love everything you’ve taught me since I’ve become a loyal follower. I believe that every person is on this planet for a reason, and when a person finds their reason, their happiness is visceral. You’ve found your purpose – helping others. That’s what you do. I’m wishing you good health, well being, and peace of mind. Rock on, Laurel!ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Bozanich - December 16, 2018 - 9:52 AM

    The most important lesson we can take from this post is that we need to be advocates for our own health. You are an excellent example of that. Blind faith in the medical profession leads to death. Good for you for sharing this. And I agree, there is much to be gained from both the east and the west.
    I put my money on you, Laurel, to figure this thing out.ReplyCancel

  • wendy mann - December 16, 2018 - 9:52 AM

    Dear Laurel, You are doing all the right things – getting specialized help and keeping yourself informed. You will prevail.I made it through brain surgery. Do everything within your power to make your outcome positive (diet, exercise, sleep). I have just started Satina… Good luck and all my solidatity. From Wendy who lives in RomeReplyCancel

  • Susan Kilkus - December 16, 2018 - 9:52 AM

    The foods with K2 you mentioned looked like they are part of the Keto diet where you eat lots of healthy fats but hardly any carbohydrates. Supposedly this is supposed to lower your cholesterol. I am going to try this because I have overall high cholesterol too, but my good cholesterol is high….which is good. Hope you get better soon!ReplyCancel

  • Marcia - December 16, 2018 - 9:50 AM

    My husband has the same symptoms. We are also “waiting” 6 months for another look at the nodule in lung. Dr told us most of us have some imperfection when we have these tests and that most are nothing to worry about. Hoping that you will feel better and get good news 😍ReplyCancel

  • ann cariola - December 16, 2018 - 9:50 AM

    Life isn’t just good design…Thank you for reminding us in your usual amazing voice! Sending prayers for good health 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Pattie - December 16, 2018 - 9:46 AM

    Sorry for all the health stress you are going through. I recommend you read the book Wheat Belly Total Health and check out Dr. Davis’ blog, wheatbellyblog.com as well. He is a cardiologist and has so much good info related to cardiac issues. Fair warning, he recommends going totally grain free to reverse the inflammatory effects of grain on the body and cardiovascular system. The results that people get and that I read about on the facebook group are amazing. Personally I have have also had amazing health changes as well as my husband. Good luck and good health to youReplyCancel

  • Amy Strother - December 16, 2018 - 9:46 AM

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I’m going to order the K2 supplement for myself. I appreciate the information and wish you well.ReplyCancel

  • Sue Singelyn - December 16, 2018 - 9:45 AM

    Hello Laurel,

    I don’t want to assume anything so will happily give you the nurses “secret” recommendations. With this I’m sending an abundance of positive energy and healing to you, a special person who does so much for others.

    I have same situation with family genes for high cholesterol and work with an RN also with same

    He said one of the most beneficial things that is helpful and That most people dismiss as something only old people use is the dirty word fiber

    We both take 2 teaspoons of psyllium husks daily

    It absorbs unhealthy fat. Google benefits and up pops lower cholesterol. Why cardio docs don’t recommend this I’m not sure

    I also take plant sterols. Thank you for the Vitamin k recommendation. I will be starting that as well.

    Also I am a social worker who has had two clients with spots on film both negative. Nobody positive. It is more common but doctors have to tell you it could be cancer. If he suspected cancer he would have ordered PET, CT, or MRI.

    Thank you so much for sharing this post and for all you are and do. I’m grateful to have you in my life and I plan on you being in it for a long time to come!

    SueReplyCancel

  • Vivian Kerr-Luce - December 16, 2018 - 9:43 AM

    I can only add to what others have said – keep checking and investigating medicines that will help and sustain you.
    In spite of everything, keep the faith.
    I so much enjoy your posts and look forward to each one.
    If, you are okay with it would like to put you on prayer concerns
    at my church.
    A wonderful Christmas Season and a Happy New Year.ReplyCancel

  • Ruth - December 16, 2018 - 9:42 AM

    Dear Laurel,
    I too have that hereditary cholesterol, no other risk factors, medical history. I also refuse to take statins. (Calcium test okay thus far -although you are reminding me to be vigilant). Another test, which you may have had already is for systemic inflammation which is, they think, a critical issue alongside cholesterol. It’s a blood test for C-reactive protein (CRP).
    I wish you all the best, and hope for a clear answer for you soon.ReplyCancel

  • Leslye - December 16, 2018 - 9:41 AM

    Scary stuff. Hope you get it all worked out. I wish doctors would communicate with each other more.
    Just a word about herbs and vitamins. Years ago I was prescribed a flavonoid for arthritis pain, fairly high dose. I knew something was wrong when I became very tired and the smell of a glass of wine was nauseating. Sure enough my blood tests showed my liver enzymes were off the chart high. I was the one who finally
    figured it out but only after 4 more blood tests and a visit to a liver specialist. I gathered copies of all the blood work I’d had, including before the flavonoid and immediately saw that the RX was the cause buy making a chart.
    My take away is to keep paper or computer copies of all blood work. You may have to be the dectective.
    Sometimes the vitamin and herbal stuff really can cause problems.
    Good luck! Keep us posted.ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - December 16, 2018 - 9:41 AM

    Thank you for sharing this. I have no medical advice except to be as aggressive as you want to be and forget about being “pushy” or demanding. This is your life! Get all the tests you want when you want them, as in NOW. Praying for you.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 3:10 PM

      Believe me. I can be exceedingly pushy and demanding. I have an autistic son. Our school district had a huge party the day he graduated. hahahaReplyCancel

  • Jan Lenoir Harrigan - December 16, 2018 - 9:31 AM

    Sure agree with many of these comments, like Sinatra the cardiologist who is WAY ahead of his time, finding naturopath, and your K2 (balanced with D and A). I’d add one more to the mix: Magnesium. It’s a miracle worker when it comes to heart issues, but it’s important to snag the correct form or it causes, shall we say, digestive upset. I’d highly recommend Dr Carolyn Dean’s book Magnesium Miracle. She is a naturopath and an MD. Eighty percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium, and it’s truly astonishing the sheer number of conditions that a lack of magnesium causes. Oh, and CoQ10, especially if you have to get back on a statin. But according to Dean, Magnesium is waayyyy better for cholesterol than any statin. Meanwhile, i surely sympathize and hope this winds up as a “poorly wrapped gift” that leads you to long term vibrant health. LenoirReplyCancel

  • Christine Pajonas - December 16, 2018 - 9:31 AM

    I too would check with a fundamental doctor to get their opinion and approach. Also, was your thyroid tested, in particular for Graves’ disease and thyroiditis? Your symptoms sound similar to mine, the racing heart and fatigue. I see a board certified endocrinologist with both a medical and natural approach to my care (instead of radiating my thyroid and/or surgical removal). I am feeling quite well under her care.

    Also, were you checked for pulmonary emboli? My daughter had them at age 19 with the same symptoms. I find the more questions you ask, the better. She was almost misdiagnosed but for a persistent ER doctor, who only as a last resort and round of tests, found them and saved her life.

    I hope you get your answers soon.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Gaggion - December 16, 2018 - 9:29 AM

    Laurel, your writing style makes me laugh out loud and so I was very moved to see this blog title. I wish you well, speedy answers and good health. keep your spirits high!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - December 16, 2018 - 9:27 AM

    Having had some scary heart symptoms and significant family history, I know the uncertainty is so difficult. Dr. Great sounds like the voice of reason here. Definitely get a second opinion from another cardiologist – find one who specializes in women’s heart health, if possible. I also started seeing a naturopath who works in parallel with my primary care doc. She reviews lab tests from other docs, orders blood work as needed, and prescribes supplements that have helped stress/overwork and cardiac symptoms. She also told me that while my overall cholesterol is high, since my good cholesterol is super high, I shouldn’t get too worried over the numbers. The cardiologist still wants it controlled. The point of the telling is to say that you need to get a good team in place – doctors who listen to you, look at the whole person, and work in coordination with one another. Supplements can be great but should be part of a larger plan. And talk to Dr. Great about your concerns about the nodules on your lungs. Maybe he can order a recheck in 3 months instead of 4-6. Keep exercising and eating lots of fresh foods – a lifestyle, not a diet. I second what Linda has already shared – good advice.ReplyCancel

  • Patti - December 16, 2018 - 9:27 AM

    Thank you for speaking about your situation because you are a whole person, after all, more than your blog, (which I love reading weekly btw).
    I just want to say that if you have trouble with statins there may be another option. Repatha. My husband has familial high cholesterol, like you, and he said your Dr. has to request it and it has to get approval (a bit of a process) but he’s much happier on it. That said, I have to say it’s a self-injection that you do once every 2 weeks. But then it’s done and you forget about it for 2 more weeks. The results have been great. I don’t have any idea if this is an option for you with your individual cardio issues, but may be worth checking out. I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better. It sounded really scary and I’m glad you did the right thing and got medical help immediately. Cheers and Happy Holidays to you and yours!ReplyCancel

  • Laura Neibaur - December 16, 2018 - 9:22 AM

    Ugh, I’m so sorry for how you are feeling. I know, no sympathy. I have gorged myself on your paint pallets and posts every week while building our nightmare dream house and you are a God send, I have to sympathize. I’ll be brief…I have 7 kids, I’m 35, and spent my 20’s being sick and no husband around to help out. Nausea, chest paint, passing out in front of my kids, and other weird stuff. Bless their hearts, my six and seven year-old boys had to put me to bed at night, then put the other kids to bed and clean up dinner. (My grandpa was a brain surgeon, and we had a baby with a birth defect, modern medicine saved his life, so I have a high regard for modern medicine), BUT, they put me on steroids and other drugs that really did a number on me. My grandpa said they are expected to push certain drugs and they spend little time on nutrition in school, not their fault, just the system. (I think their starting to do better in that department). My third son ended up in the ER multiple times with a heart problem, which motivated me NOT to just throw in the towel. I won’t go into lots of details, you can email me, and please do if you want to! But, def. keep doing your research! I beat some scary odds doing my own research, talking to people, trying different things and one thing led to the next. Now I’m a healthy, albeit tired, mom and my son is a happy 9 year-old. It was a long, dark road but I learned a lot and still use that knowledge to keep us healthier today. Keep researching. And weird about the, exercise making you sick, thing. I remember exercise not being an option because of that but I didn’t know there was a name for it. It ended up being integral in my healing process but not at first. PS. Part of my happiness revolves around Laurel posts on Saturday nights, and I don’t think anyone minds hearing about YOU!ReplyCancel

  • Katy Allen - December 16, 2018 - 9:20 AM

    Oh Luv,

    As I was reading your post I’m thinking “vitamin K” and then you got there on your own.

    I don’t take vitamin K all the time, but I DO take it if I supplement vitamin D/Calcium. Came across that info years ago in my online meanderings. I read a little of everything short of the illicit or plain stupid.

    I sincerely hope that getting more information will give you some mental relief. Being ill and not getting a diagnosis is super stressful.

    I have dealt with a couple of unexplained episodes myself. One put me out of work on disability for a couple of months it was so bad, but I never did get a diagnosis…the symptoms were a lot like mono though I tested negative for it. The second sounded much like what you have described with POTS which I never had a table test for.

    I know that you already embrace the importance and benefit of regular exercise. If you can find the time I highly recommend fitting yin yoga into your week. On youtube you can try Yoga With Adrienne and search Yin. In person I know that a gym chain (Lifetime) offers regular studio classes with membership which they call Surrender.

    It is a real help. It is gentle and meditative and focuses on releasing tension in the muscles and connective tissues. I have been seriously stressed (mid divorce) and the tension was keeping me from sleeping and keeping me in near constant physical pain. I have gone up to three classes a week now and the pain has nearly vanished and I am sleeping much better.

    Sending warm loving wished for healing.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Hil - December 16, 2018 - 9:19 AM

    Prayers for you and sending healing thoughts your way. I have followed your blog for years. Reading your latest post, along with my first cup of coffee, is a ritual that I look forward to every Sunday morning. Take good care of yourself.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - December 16, 2018 - 9:18 AM

    Laurel,
    I am praying for you. I do take Vitamin K. I first read about it on Dr, Mercola’s website. I have high cholesterol but will not take statins. Dr. Mercola’s site has tons of great information and I have been using his supplements for many years now. I feel much better. I have read books by Dr. Mercola, Dr. Furman, Dr. Perlmutter and most recently Max Lugavier’s Genius Foods. The changes I have made have made a huge difference in the progression of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
    Best of Luck.ReplyCancel

  • Gigi Lombrano - December 16, 2018 - 9:18 AM

    Laurel, gosh, this does take the wind out of your sails a bit. Hang in there, knowledge is power! Please continue to update us, we, your loyal readers/groupies would want to offer prayers, good thoughts and well wishes. Hugs!ReplyCancel

  • Margaret Vant Erve - December 16, 2018 - 9:16 AM

    So sorry to hear you have not been feeling well Laurel. I think your readers are a great place to share as most of us have had some part of our bodies that are problematic and its through sharing that we all glean information and possible helpful ideas to make us feel better. Just talking about it helps. Good to know about the vitamin K2. I didn’t even know there were two kinds. Its certainly worth trying. On the diet note, I have seen people overcome/get under control many hereditary illnesses by finding out which foods triggered reactions. But we are all individuals and no one diet suits all. Its all a big experiment. Sounds like Dr. G is the person to work with and getting yourself a new cardiologist recommended by Dr. G might be a good route to go.ReplyCancel

  • Connie Richardson - December 16, 2018 - 9:15 AM

    I greatly look forward to your posts. It’s like hearing from my naughty but nice best girlfriend. Laurel you are sincerely in my thoughts and prayers.
    Hugs and prayers girlfriend.ReplyCancel

  • Susanne - December 16, 2018 - 9:14 AM

    Lots of love to you, and praying that God will lead you to the right things to do. Health issues can be so complex and everyone seems to have an easy answer. Except it’s not so easy when it’s you! Praying for you!ReplyCancel

  • Maggie S - December 16, 2018 - 9:13 AM

    Laurel,
    Thanks for letting up know…it is so frightening to hear bad medical news and not being sure what to do. I had a similar thing happen to me. Chest X-ray showed a spot on my lung…my Dr sent me for a CAT scan (or maybe it was a PET scan) and it showed that the spot wasn’t anything but I do have some blockage in my arteries around my heart. I did a lot of reading and research and decided not to take statins.

    Because I was a nurse (in a previous life)I was able to read the studies, and yes taking statins reduces heart attacks by X% BUT the real numbers were something like 16.8 people (out of 1,000) had a heart attack VS. 14 people with the statins. So yes statins reduce heart attacks by 20% BUT in real numbers it is 2.8 people for every 1,000.(I’m not sure I’m remembering the exact numbers but it was very close to this).

    I read several books by Dr. Mark Hyman, and he feels it is sugar not fat that is the problem. I recommend his books, they are written for the public.

    You can also ask for a test to see the SIZE of the HDL and LDL–VERY important! About 1/2 of the people that have heart attacks have normal cholesterol…that is because of the SIZE of the cholesterol.

    Also I’m (almost) sure that a calcium score of 239 is pretty good..I recall that anything under 400 was OK in older adults.
    Sorry to ramble on but this is something I feel strongly about! Feel free to email me if you want more info.
    Maggie S
    PS the other link Dr. Sinatra doesn’t work–
    ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 2:56 PM

      Thanks so much Maggie and for all of your support for quite some time!ReplyCancel

  • Melanie Brooks - December 16, 2018 - 9:11 AM

    Laurel-
    I think you’re right to see the 2017 cardio. It’s a great idea to get a second (or third) opinion, and maybe he can suggest an action plan. In the meanwhile, hang in there… You are not alone!

    I know what you mean about family history! We have cancer and thyroid disease on my mother’s side; diabetes, cardiac disease, and hypertension on my father’s side. Ain’t family grand! Lol! It’s like dodging bullets!

    I’m not familiar with K2, but I’m going to look into it. Maybe 2017 Cardio has some insights as well?
    Keep us updated please.🌷

    Keeping positive thoughts for you!
    MelanieReplyCancel

  • Liska - December 16, 2018 - 9:10 AM

    It’s anecdotal, but for like 15 years I’ve “failed” my screening mammograms and had to come back for a more comprehensive testing due to calcifications in my breast tissue. Every year there would be more calcified spots and since they can be a sign of cancer, they would give me the whole workup – extra mammorgram, ultrasound, and mri. It sucked. I started taking Vitamin K2 a few years ago as part of a supplement plan that a more “natural”-type doctor came up with to try to help my thyroid issues. I still feel like crap from my thyroid issues, but it must have done something for the calcifications because I have not failed a mammogram since starting the K2. They haven’t specifically told me the calcifications were gone or anything, but since they aren’t calling me back for extra testing and they called me back EVERY SINGLE YEAR for 15 years, I assume they at least aren’t seeing any new ones. So I do think there is something to the K2 and I plan to continue taking it along with D for the rest of my life. I too have a strong family history of heart disease and high cholesterol and women in my family having heart attacks in their 50s and I had never thought about calcifications in my arteries — now I have another reason to keep taking the K2. Good luck – I hope it helps you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 2:52 PM

      I can’t imagine except only one time ten years ago had a calcification and they made me do a stereotactic biopsy.ReplyCancel

  • Jane - December 16, 2018 - 9:10 AM

    Laurel- I am genuinely sad that you are struggling with health issues and all the fear that accompanies those dreaded wait-for-the-results tests. Been there myself – as is the case for most of us who’ve ventured passed their 5th decade. But like others who have responded, I hope you will get 2nd and if necessary, 3rd opinions. For me, doing so prevented totally unnecessary surgery – (hysterectomy and double mastectomy!) In a nutshell, a cyst on an ovary set off alarm bells. With a sister who died from ovarian cancer, the gyne was adamant that a total hysterectomy and “prophylactic” mastectomy were in order. Fast forward and after genetic testing proved neither I or my deceased sister carried the BRCA gene. Oh, and that cyst, monitored by my new gyne (less motivated by visions of another new Mercedes I suspect) disappeared after a few years. Like poof, just gone (which was what my new gyne said was a possibility while closely monitoring with bi-annual internal and external ultra sounds.) I hope and pray your nodules go the same path and that your cardio issues are appropriately addressed and managed. You feel like an old friend. You enlighten me, make me laugh out loud, validate decisions I’ve made and steer me towards making better ones. I wish you great health and energy, tremendous joy and the support of friends (real and virtual) and family to bolster you always but particularly during life’s most challenging times. Your faithful reader, fan and friend, JaneReplyCancel

  • Shelly - December 16, 2018 - 9:06 AM

    Your post struck a chord with me. My favorite quote is from a Dawes song “The only time I am lonely are when others are around. I just end up never knowing what to say”. I am so glad you ended up knowing what to say! I eagerly await your blog and devour all of the wonderful information you give us. It feels good to give back to you ~ with an attentive ear and heartfelt support. We are with you through this difficult journey!ReplyCancel

  • KarenB - December 16, 2018 - 9:04 AM

    So sorry to hear of your heath concerns. If you’re doing your own research, try Dr Caldwell Esselstyn and look at his research on reversing heart disease. Also Dr Gregor and his talks on how not to die. And the person who has done the most research is T Colin Campbell of The China Study. Plant-based eating for reversing diseases is a great way to go, I’ve been doing it of about a decade, but do your own research and decide for yourself. I’ve also got more resources if you’re interested. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - December 16, 2018 - 9:04 AM

    Thank you for sharing your story – I do believe that sharing can help others experiencing such things in their own life.

    I cannot give you specific advice, however, in my own life I can say that traditional medicine has not been helpful for “quality of life” problems that have popped up in my life. It is magnificent for things like appendicitis and heart attacks, but not so good for I-feel-terrible things that cannot be measured well. I ended up doing a lot of research on my own, and a lot of trial and error. In the end I am a healthy, happy woman, a far cry from what I was 10 years ago. If conventional medicine fails you, please reach outside the box until you find the help you need.

    My prayers to you!ReplyCancel

  • Bobbie - December 16, 2018 - 9:03 AM

    Hang in there, girl! You can do this. Many of us are at that age when something is likely to go off kilter. It may take a little time (and worry) to figure it all out, but you’ve got a whole network of love and support to hold you up. Keep your game face on and your sense of humor intact. We’ll all sit with you. I’ll bring snacks. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Christy Scott - December 16, 2018 - 9:03 AM

    I’ve heard about K2 being good for keeping calcium where it is supposed to be. I know you will get all kind of advice, but google on Dr. Mercola’s site. He could explain all kinds of things better than I could. And I refuse statins. It crippled both of my parents, fortunately temporarily. Your good cholesterol being high is great! Diet is key.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - December 16, 2018 - 9:01 AM

    Dear Laurel,
    I’m praying that you will feel well soon, I’m asking God Who made us to heal you. Celebrating His birth, Merry Christmas and a very happy and HEALTHY New Year for you!
    Blessings,
    MichelleReplyCancel

  • Carla - December 16, 2018 - 8:59 AM

    My Atrial Fibrillation was finally documented a few months ago, and, my treatment seems to be going well except for a few short episodes. I am wondering if it might be beneficial for you to see an Electrophysiologist to assess your arrhythmia?? Dr. Great might be able to recommend someone. Here is a link that will explain the Electrophysiologist’s role better than I can:

    https://www.everydayhealth.com/heart-health/do-you-need-an-electrophysiologist.aspx
    I am really sorry that you have not been feeling well and wish you the best with your new treatment plan. Definitely keeping a good thought for you! By the way, you look gorgeous in blue!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 2:23 PM

      Thank you Carla. I very much appreciate that info. And, at present, do not appear to have an arrhythmia. I wore a 24 hour heart monitor to confirm that. The heart beat is slow and steady until I stand up and then it steadily speeds up due to orthostatic intolerance. But the beta blockers are helping with that.

      In other words, I have more than one issue with my circulation, including a mild case of Reynauds Syndrome. But that and POTS are not in and of themselves dangerous, just debilitating; especially POTS. And in that situation, my case is also relatively mild. There are people who can’t get out of bed without fainting!ReplyCancel

  • Timi - December 16, 2018 - 8:58 AM

    Hi Laurel – I know health issues can be so frightening. I, too, was found to have moderate calcification in my coronary arteries from the same type of scan. My internist recommended a statin but I found a functional medicine doctor (also trained in conventional medicine) who agreed to work with me on diet, stress, sleep and exercise as an approach to improve my health and cholesterol, which is at the high end of the good range, and overall inflammation (now believed to be a leading cause of most disease). I am also now taking red rice yeast extract (naturally derived but chemically similar to a statin). My cholesterol has improved. I also found a great cardiologist on YouTube, “York Cardiology,” who does an excellent job explaining heart disease and approaches to treatment. Best wishes, Laurel, for your health and for a lovely holiday. TimiReplyCancel

  • Susan Feldtman - December 16, 2018 - 8:56 AM

    Good morning from Texas, Laurel! Wow, you’ve been pulled through a knot-hole backwards as my dear mother used to say! Health issues can be terribly frightening and discouraging esp if you’re dealing with ‘dumb…’ doctors. I’ve been following you with joy in my heart for over a year…and bought both rolodexes in the process. Love you, your humor, and your posts! You’ve become a VIP in my life! All that to say, I’m married to one of the best heart surgeons in Texas…I also am a nurse (from a prior millennium as he likes to say)…so this post was run by him this morning. Go to Feldtman.com/resume.html and you can see his cv and judge for yourself. We currently live in Dallas but were in private practice for 20 years in Houston after Bob finished his residency with Dr Michael DeBakey. Bob still practices at DFW Vascular Group here in Dallas. He is the Marcus Wellby, MD of hearts…and he can pull the strings to get you to the right tests, doctors and whatever else you need. I’m glad you’ve had a better day and were able to get to the barre. The body is amazingly made…a wonder…and we are told to take care of it as it is the temple of God’s spirit. If you would ever consider coming to Texas it would be our pleasure and joy to help you get good care. I’m hesitant to post my cell online but happy to send in a private email. In the meantime, you’re in my prayers and thoughts. Merry Christmas with a big Texas hug…your ‘yippeekiya’ friend, SusanReplyCancel

  • Jen - December 16, 2018 - 8:56 AM

    I’m hoping everything turns around for you on all fronts, so you don’t suffer and worry!
    One thing I will mention, is that I would investigate the whole food approach (including the foods on the vit K2 list that are fatty). Much research has shown we need high quality fats for many of our body systems, and that taking in a food in its whole form has additional benefits – when vitamins and minerals are consumed in concert with each other, as they occur in nature, they appear the have the best impact on our ability to use them in our bodies.

    Here is a researched, scientific article that touches on so many of the points of concern you mentioned:

    https://kresserinstitute.com/vitamin-k2-consuming-enough/

    Thank you for sharing all that you do with your readers! I have your “Six Figure Income Blogger” book, have read it once and working on a second reading to spur my long-simmering blog aspirations. Best wishes for the holidays!ReplyCancel

  • Michi - December 16, 2018 - 8:51 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I am so sorry you are facing these challenges. I know how scary it can be. I was in terrible shape 10 yrs ago. Racing heart, no energy, brain freeze (I would conduct meetings and forget what happened in them the minute I left). I retired because I couldn’t function well enough to work. Long story short, I had elevated calcium levels, which were in fact because I had hyperparathyroidism. Check out Dr Norman in Tampa. People from all over the world go to him. I was suffering with this for years and none of the doctors I saw put it together. Not saying this is what is going on with you, but since you mentioned elevated calcium I thought I would mention it. Within a day of surgery to remove one of them I was feeling better than I had for years.

    You have thousands of people who wish you well. I hope you get to the bottom of this soon.

    Hugs,
    MichiReplyCancel

  • Joy - December 16, 2018 - 8:48 AM

    Hi Laurel, I’m so sorry to hear about your health issues and I do understand all the worry that goes along with this. I take Vit d3 with k2 added for osteoporosis. I am hoping it helps. I guess as I’ve grown older, I realize that sometimes it takes a bit of experimentation with choice of doctor and treatment to find just the right combo. I use both traditional and wholistic remedies.
    I am hoping you find just the right combination! Thanks for your wonderful and personal posts!!ReplyCancel

  • Fenella - December 16, 2018 - 8:46 AM

    Oh, my, you poor girl!

    I went back and read your medical history as shared here, and the only solution I can think of is a chaise longue. A really REALLY beautiful, really REALLY comfortable one, so you can work without having to stand up. Or sit down. You can lol elegantly.

    The only thing I know about Vitamin K is it’s essential to consume it in large amounts if, like my dogs, you ate a BOX of Warfarin (BLUE rat poison, ffs). They recovered with great ease and went on to live long and happy lives. Can they set you up with a good dietician? Mmmm, lard. Quebec foie gras is humanely “harvested,” apparently.

    I do think you’re absolutely amazing though. You take a sheet sandwich and turn it into a fascinating, illuminating and amusing blog post. THAT takes talent and determination and class, in spades. We’re here for you, Laurel!ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - December 16, 2018 - 8:38 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I just couldn’t help but send an “important” suggestion regarding your search for “vitamin supplements”. My husband went through terrible sickness (flu that turned into pneumonia) last Jan..he is not a smoker etc either, took vitamins regularly..but was told he had vitamin D deficiency and the likes..So we did some vitamin supplement information searching ourselves, was shocked at how many synthetic and chemical “ingredients” are sold to us that we have swallowed over the years and the reality of it all hit home.

    We have “learned” to only have pure plant based vitamins and supplements..as well as eating only organic foods as much as possible.. such a big difference in us over the last 7 months…

    I wanted to share a website, ONLY in case you want to read up on some interesting information on plant based vitamins and supplements…it made such a difference for us anyway…

    Healthwise.thegoodinside.com

    We love you and appreciate your sharing and humble “openness” in all you do ~ReplyCancel

  • Orion - December 16, 2018 - 8:32 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    Web words aren’t a great way to express how I’m feeling, but please know I’m sending you hugs! Wish I could just have you over for a home cooked Maine meal with a good, stiff drink (or a cup of tea). Laurel, you are the first presence I hang out with every Sunday morning, I so enjoy your wit and your wisdom (as well as your gifts of knowing and expressing beauty)- along with some jasmine tea. You’re a talent and light in this world (packaged up in a caring, funny person) – so appreciated! You are medicine for many of our souls!
    Hang in there….something deep inside says it will all turn out well.ReplyCancel

  • gillian goodwin - December 16, 2018 - 8:29 AM

    Oh no! I’m sorry to hear you are not well. Calcium is deposited in your arteries, if you do not balance it with K2, D3 and magnesium. Almost everyone in the US is deficient in magnesium, and it is very hard to absorb from food. The best bet is to go transdermal. Soak in warm, not hot (hot leaches Mg) bath water for 30 min a day for 6 wks, using 2 cups of epsom salts (Ancient Minerals is more expensive, but better absorbed). Then shower.It is helpful to document Mg levels before and after 6wks to check your progress. You could also use a magnesium spray daily, if you are short on time. Ref the website of Dr. Mark Sircus for more info. I also second the visit to a naturopath. Allopathic doctors are not trained in nutrition. Hope you get better ASAP!ReplyCancel

  • kelly - December 16, 2018 - 8:27 AM

    Laurel,
    Check out Ivor cumminsReplyCancel

  • Kaycee - December 16, 2018 - 8:25 AM

    Thank you for sharing this, Laurel. I’m praying for you as you struggle through this difficult season of waiting and uncertainty. Though I didn’t receive the same diagnosis, I went through a very difficult health scare, and remember the turmoil. You are not alone.ReplyCancel

  • Rose Boccella - December 16, 2018 - 8:21 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I enjoy your blog very much and feel like I have learned a lot. Thank you for that. I take D3 and K2 together. I also take resveratrol, a great antioxidant and ubiquinal, the active form of CoQu10, wonderful for the heart and necessary for anyone who takes statins. Suzanne Sommers has written some great books where she interviews cutting edge physicians. They are not interested in just treating symptoms but in real healing of the body. These are fascinating interviews! Once you get into learning about keeping yourself healthy, you will learn a lot. It is a journey that never ends. Best wishes!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - December 16, 2018 - 8:21 AM

    I’ve been a long time reader but have never commented. I’m sending good wishes. I’m angry at the medical system for being so disorganized and non-data-driven. And from a business perspective I appreciate your acknowledgment that you’re a real person with a real life behind the experience and content. Good luck with everything.ReplyCancel

  • Joni - December 16, 2018 - 8:20 AM

    I have a heart issue, too and I know how worrying it can be. Hope you will continue the quest to find a great cardiologist; one that will truly consult. I finally found a fabulous woman that took the time to talk me through the entire thing, plus preventative measures. I know you will persevere and find answers, Laurel. We’re here for you XOReplyCancel

  • Ani - December 16, 2018 - 8:20 AM

    Laurel,
    I wholeheartedly second Linda’s recommended website – nutritionfacts.org. It’s associated with a book called “How not to die”. Best book I ever read about the role of food in preventing and reversing major health issues. Recommended to me by a client and I could not put it down. I think it’s a must read even if one is feeling well and wants to maintain control over their health over the long term.

    Regarding doctors, I’ve concluded you have to search hard, no matter what city you live in, to find someone highly competent.

    Always wishing you the very best,
    AniReplyCancel

  • Karen W - December 16, 2018 - 8:15 AM

    Laurel- I agree with Chrissy, also get the opinion of a naturopath. My naturopath has improved my health greatly, and really changed my life. Please know I’m thinking of you, and sending love your way.ReplyCancel

  • Carolina VG - December 16, 2018 - 8:13 AM

    Dear Laurel,
    I think a second or third opinion might show you if you are on the right track. Checking family back too. Use your common sense always! Try to stay focused in order to be calm.
    Wish you lots of strength and keep doing what you love and your beautiful blog!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Patti - December 16, 2018 - 8:05 AM

    No advice, but lots of love and prayers for you. I know it’s hard to wait as you’re a woman of action and movement, but you are doing the right thing by gathering info and making a plan. My favorite brilliant decorator (you!) always says to start with a plan! I agree, replace Dr C and keep moving.ReplyCancel

  • Alicia Whitaker - December 16, 2018 - 8:02 AM

    Hi Laurel, I’m a friend of Maura’s and we met at the Charlotte Moss event. I was talking about my sisters recent lupus diagnosis and expressing worry about her faith in alternatives as her primary medical resources. I think that your intention of using a blended approach is perfect. I would only counsel you to make sure that your docs know that you’ve started the vitamin K regime. And maybe they can find a statin that will work for you! You deserve to feel great and I hope that this new path leads you to better health and vitality. You deserve to sparkle – you do on your blog and need to be a light in your real life. Sending you great energy and affection, AliciaReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 2:00 PM

      Yes! Hi Alicia! I remember that and also that my doc has thrown around the Lupus word with me, as well, but two rheumies say “no.” Its just that I have a lot of the symptoms and a highly elevated ANA test. But, no matter, something’s clearly out of whack. I will definitely discuss any vitamins with my doctor. He’s actually quite big on them and recommended L-Lysine for recurrent mouth sores to boost my immune system, they said.ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia Lambert - December 16, 2018 - 7:59 AM

    The nodules are fairly common. I just had one checked out also. Don’t worry too much about it.But fatigue is a tough one. It’s debilitating. Have you been checked for Epstein-Barr syndrome? Cher had that. Or even mononucleosis? Those sap your energy. And statins are not a good idea. There’s a reason they make us feel badly. I can’t take them either. They’re making new discoveries every day about cholesterol, and it’s not as bad as they say, so some doctors are moving away from statins. Do your research. Be your own health advocate. Don’t believe everything the doctors say, especially if pharmaceuticals are involved. Best of luck – you’ll figure it out. I did, with my thyroid. I had constant fatigue, wait gain, etc. 10 classic symptoms of hypothyroidism, and a direct family history. And yet the doctors wouldn’t help me, so I figured it out on my own. Hope you feel better!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 1:56 PM

      Hi Cynthia,

      Well, I was told by both docs that the benefits outweigh the neg, but I am on it, for sure. This is Laurel who some have said should be working for the FBI doing research! And so far, I have at least 200 assistants. Thank you so much for your kindness and support! And so glad that you were able to help yourself with your medical issues.ReplyCancel

  • Laura N - December 16, 2018 - 7:55 AM

    Ugh to how you are feeling! I have selfishly gorged on every post while building our house this year and your paint pallets and everything else have been a God send! I’ll be brief…I’m 34 and I have seven kids and I wasted my 20’s being sick sick sick! Heart racing, nausea, passing out in front of kids, other weird stuff. Had no husband to help out, so my six and seven year old boys had to put me to bed every night, then put the other kids to bed and clean up dinner. Bless their hearts. Docs said maybe cancer. Went to lots of doctors. (I had a baby with a birth defect and modern medicine saved his life, and I have a grandpa who was a brain surgeon) so I have a high regard for modern medicine, but they put me on steroids and other drugs that almost ended me, so I had to go other routs. I won’t go into lots of details here, you can email me, and please do if you want to. But definitely keep doing your research. My grandpa said they are encouraged to push certain meds and spend little time on nutrition in school…not their fault, just the system. I know some things are out of our hands, but I beat some scary odds doing my own research and getting some help in other places and random people had ideas and one thing led to another. My third son ended up in the ER with weird heart problems during this time too, and that’s what motivated me to not just throw in the towel. He’s a happy, healthy, 9 year-old now and I’m a happy, healthy, successful…albeit tired mom. Long road, but learned a lot! And thanks again for all of your posts! Part of my happiness revolves around Laurel Posts on Saturday nights!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 1:54 PM

      Honey, Honey! You had me at seven kids well before age 34. No father, wasted your 20s??? Sounds like you were busy makin’, birthin’ and recoverin’ from all of those pregnancies as a single Mom. But maybe you have POTS? Dysautonomia.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - December 16, 2018 - 7:48 AM

    I did not finish reading past the part about your lungs. Get chest x-rays, and other tests NOW. I had a friend (yes, had) who was told last year at this very time, not to worry about those spots, its related to her cold. A cold that got worse and worse. Sadly she was not proactive, and listened to what I deem to be a very bad Dr. March they realized it was lung cancer, in a non smoker. This past May she was buried. Aggressive lung cancer.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 1:49 PM

      Hi Linda,

      First of all, I am so sorry about your friend. My BFF also had aggressive lung cancer and died after 17 months of treatment but it was already stage 4 when she was diagnosed. In your friend’s case, it sounds like they totally screwed up as it appears that her “cold” was not actually a cold but symptomatic of a serious illness. Okay, I had more than an xray. What I have would not have showed up on an Xray. The calcium score is obtained through a CT scan and I do have plans for a follow-up, however, ANY change between now and then, I will be on it.

      Many doctors have confirmed that these small nodules are very common and are rarely cancerous in one who never smoked and with no family history. However, continuously getting pumped with radiation is not healthy.ReplyCancel

  • Deborah Dawe - December 16, 2018 - 7:39 AM

    Dear Laurel, I anticipate your posts and enjoy them so much. I suggest one thing: Magnesium. Cheap to get at the store. No side effects for a normal dose. When I became post menopausal I started having a lot of heart palpitations, I found that just 500mg in the evening stopped the palpitations and helped me sleep better. With today’s diet we probably don’t get enough magnesium…. it’s worth a try.ReplyCancel

  • Sus - December 16, 2018 - 7:38 AM

    Thank you so much for sharing. It does often feel like a family here and our good thoughts are with you. You’re fortunate to have medical practitioners who are following your health so closely but I can understand your concerns as you have always been so active and it contributes greatly to your quality of life. My husband had similar issues (racing heart, calcification of the arteries) and was distressed when he was forced to slow down due to the symptoms (he was a professional sports person early in life). Finally, once his medications were all sorted out the symptoms diminished and he could become active again. I have faith that your doctors will find suitable medications to treat your cholesterol problem but most important the regular monitoring by a cardiologist is what makes the most difference-especially if there is a family history. I’m sure you’ll find someone you trust more than the current one. You’re also fortunate because you have always been active (strong heart muscle) and you have never smoked or been overweight (huge contributing factors). There have been so many advances in medications that can significantly improve outcomes so I suppose we’re all fortunate in this regard. Take care and enjoy the holidays. XOReplyCancel

  • Connie Fowler - December 16, 2018 - 7:34 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    Thank you for sharing this with us. Your regular readers do care about you–and that is because we know quite a bit about you. Of course we love your humor and decorating chops, but knowing a person just rounds out the whole experience. I’m always so delighted to see your name pop up in my inbox.

    Everyone needs a Dr. Great for guidance through something like this. I get so frustrated with all of the contradictory diet advice out there–I’ve read books by experts in nutrition who say the complete opposite of each other. You’ll figure out what works for you. I’m just so sorry that you feel so bad so often. I do agree, however, that at least a weekly dose of pate de fois gras might be a lovely addition to your treatment regime!

    BTW, I have had osteoporosis now for several years, since I went off hormones at age 50, after my hysterectomy at age 43. After years of trying oral medications, I am now on twice-yearly Prolia shots. I’ll have my umpteenth bone density test in another year or so. I’ve taken good care of myself, and I’ve always exercised and eaten right. But my mother had it, so there you go. I will go back and look at that list of foods with vitamin K–maybe they will help my fragile bones. See, your post has helped this reader, so thank you.

    I hope you are feeling better very soon. Please keep us informed. And I hope you are enjoying the season. Doing anything special on Christmas Day? We are going to our Jewish friends’ house for the day in Chicago. She loves Christmas!

    Take care–I know you will.

    ConnieReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 12:42 PM

      Thank you Connie. Please note that it’s vitamin K2. K1 is good too, but different. And, as some people have said, there needs to be a combo of K2 with D3 and I believe magnesium, as well, but definitely D3. Most adults are deficient in D3.ReplyCancel

  • Joni - December 16, 2018 - 7:31 AM

    I would be feeling a mix of emotions with the results, too. Some of your symptoms ring bells of similarity with my mother’s. First, let me say that I have been a paramedic for over 20 years and even I didn’t figure out the etiology of my mother’s medical changes. She was supervised by a cardiologist. Over a period of a couple years her blood pressure medication was significantly increased as she went from borderline low blood pressure readings to hypertensive crisis levels regularly. Her heart rate was always controlled…40-50 beats per minute. Her HTN medication was not a beta blocker…so her heart rate was low intrinsically. About a year and a half ago, my mother began experiencing feelings of apprehension…a kind of anxiety which was unusual as she didn’t normally have anxiety.. She would check her vital signs and her BP would be high. So we wondered if the issue was related to high blood pressure. She had already had the CT to examine calcium deposits in her cardiac arteries and she didn’t have any. She wasn’t on statins anymore because of that good result. Luckily, her cardiologist ordered a 24 hour heart monitor test…periodically, especially at sleep, her heart rate would drop to around 30 beats a minute and her body would respond by elevating her blood pressure to a high level since her heart rate would only compensate to around 50 beats per minute. The reaction looked like a hypertension crisis and felt like anxiety. My mom had a pacemaker placed promptly and immediately felt better. She no longer has the hypertensive crisis level readings. You haven’t described the same primary complaint as my mom…but the results you’ve listed don’t exactly point to a diagnosis either. So I described my mom’s history to encourage you to keep searching…you don’t have all the answers yet.ReplyCancel

  • Nanci - December 16, 2018 - 7:27 AM

    Laurel, I’ve only been a reader for a short time now. I’m sorry you’re facing this but glad you headed warnings. I think doctors are reluctant to recommend supplements because they aren’t trained in it and also they aren’t reading studies. I’ve been taking K2 MK7 for quite some time. Mainly due to my osteopenia and take it with my D3 and calcium w/ Mag. By the way those calcium scares are now debunked. My husband also had hereditary high cholesterol and finally is on a statin. If you take one know that it depletes CoEnzyme Q 10, therefore you should take that supplement with it to prevent muscle aches. As adults we make less of it naturally as we age and low levels can affect the heart. You can research it. You can get better and I hope you will get all under control soon. Best to you.ReplyCancel

    • deb - December 16, 2018 - 1:14 PM

      Yes taking CoQ10 is extremely important when taking a statin. Statins block the pathway in the liver of CoQ10. Thats why the muscle weakness. The best is the ubiquinol form of CoQ10. There is another new product on the market called Mitoq (CoQ10 form) that is amazing for energy as it applies to your heart.
      So very scary and frustrating when we don’t feel well and we keep searching for answers! Sending you prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Leyble - December 16, 2018 - 7:20 AM

    Hi Laurel…was so sad to hear about your news. I’m so used to laughing as I read your posts, but when my favorite blogger is hurting – I hurt too. I hope that everything turns around for you and that the New Year brings better news. I’m always amazed that most doctors know nothing about supplements…like Vitamin K etc. My husband has cancer (a rare form it that is very slow growing) and after his first operation, not one doctor said anything about diet, vitamins, supplements etc. I hope that medical schools today are changing that.

    My best wishes and prayers for you,

    Linda

    PS…i tried putting my face in an Old Masters’ painting a few years ago and I put put it up on Facebook. I loved it, but it freaked my kids out!ReplyCancel

  • Martha - December 16, 2018 - 7:16 AM

    GET WELL SOON! He wants you well: John 10:10 – The thief cometh not but for to steal and to kill and to destroy. I am come that ye might have life and have it more abundantly.

    Jehovah Rapha – I am the Lord that healeth thee!!

    (let’s obey natural laws as well!!) and continually confess His Glory and healing power!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy - December 16, 2018 - 7:07 AM

    I understand as my family has a terrible history of heart disease…but having said that both my parents are still alive at 91 and 94. Each are on their third pacemakers! They got to this great age by listening to their wonderful cardiologist. So, my advice….and some tough love. You need to get serious about taking care of yourself as you, like me (i’m 67), are no longer spring chickens. Sad, but true. If the doctor says beta blockers and statins then that is what you need to take. If one does not work, there are alternatives that may have fewer side effects. Drink lots of water, that may help with leg cramps. You must work with your doctor to figure out what’s best for you! Flopping around hoping for a natural cure is wishful thinking. There is no magic natural bullet. Use to supplement with prescription meds if doctor thinks that is ok to help alleviate side effects. Do you have high blood pressure? Make sure you check that out as well. Understand what RX drugs are used for and again, work with your doctor to explore what will work. My grandparents died in their late 70’s and early 80’s because of heart issues but my parents are thriving in their 90’s because of modern medicine. There have been real strides in cardiac care over the last fifty years! Calm down and pick one level headed friend who can be your support…or go to a counselor. You must deal with this sensibly and logically to get through this health crisis and get to a solution that can allow you to live healthfully into old age. Yes, I said it: you are transitioning from middle age into the next phase that comes with physical issues you must address now. Go, you can do this girl. Get good medical advice and support and figure it out. It’s your life, take some time to work this through and you’ll feel a lot more in control…and feel better, please. love your columns! 😘ReplyCancel

  • Emily - December 16, 2018 - 7:04 AM

    Laurel, I understand your dilemma in sharing, but I do think it helps link us women together when we are fellow “sufferers”! I have MVP (mitral valve prolapse) which is accompanied by Dysautonomia. I know lots of people poo the MVP effects, but I tell you the effects of Dysautonomia are REAL (I think 27 possible symptoms at last count)! I have the exact symptoms you have: thumping heart, racing heartbeat, nausea every morning, inability to do more than walking for exercise, extreme tiredness, all made worse by chronic daily migraines. Go to a Dr specializing in these areas & see if they can help you. Beta Blockers are magical and Zoffran is awesome for nausea, but neither are natural cures-but what is these days? Best of luck, I’m a partner with you in this battle!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 12:31 PM

      I have been told that I have MVP ever since childhood, but Dr. Cardio heard no murmur. hmmmm… well, we already know that he’s sub par– and history!ReplyCancel

  • Christine Murphy - December 16, 2018 - 6:58 AM

    I had a heart attack 3 yrs ago at age 42. I did not have high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Picture perfect health until I collapsed and went to the same hospital as you. We live fairly close. Unreliable family history and stress was why I had mine. I have the purple toes AND fingers too. I now go to a wonderful female cardiologist at a Manhattan hospital who is very prominent in cardiology. I have two stents in my heart, but no heart damage. I was lucky. Medications are now minimal. Please take care of yourself.ReplyCancel

  • Sue Robets - December 16, 2018 - 6:52 AM

    I love reading your posts and know with your tenacity you will get the results you want. I live with a chronic liver disease and know you must be your own advocate when it comes to health care. It sounds like you are on the right track.
    Your sense of humor will take you far.
    I will be thinking of you and wish you and yours a happy and healthy year!ReplyCancel

  • Ludmila - December 16, 2018 - 6:50 AM

    Hi Laurel
    A little bit of raw kale juice every morning might solve all your problems. Or just a piece of kale leaf mashed with some lemon juice (in a blender). When kale is not available, other dark leafy vegetables will do.
    Thoroughly enjoying your blog!
    xx LReplyCancel

  • Erika Hollinshead Ward - December 16, 2018 - 6:50 AM

    I sincerely appreciate your wilingness to share, Laurel. I’ve learned so much from this post and can tell you’ve been doing your research. We certainly have to be our own advocates and your wisdom has gotten you to more answers that you were prepared for. This is where our faith comes into play. You didn’t say I couldn’t mention anything about prayer so here goes. I pray for a remarkable turn around of your symptoms and that your energy is restored. I pray for your continued understanding of all that’s taken place and the wisdom to know what to do with this info. I pray that this post reaches someone else, like it did me, to have the courage to investigate their own health maladies. 🙏🏽ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 12:23 PM

      Hi Erika,

      I have a strong faith in God, but not affiliated with any religion because I find too much hypocrisy there, but of course, whatever works for people is fine with me. Thank you for your prayers. They are most welcome and I am grateful to know that something I said has encouraged you beautiful friend!ReplyCancel

  • Ivis - December 16, 2018 - 6:47 AM

    Thank you for sharing. It must have been a difficult decision but so many of us can relate! Praying that you and your docs can find a plan of treatment that works. Stay as strong as you are!ReplyCancel

  • Dolores Pap - December 16, 2018 - 6:42 AM

    Dear Laurel
    As a now 15 yr. post breast cancer survivor I can totally understand the fear that struck you when the doctor mentioned ’small nodes’ on your lungs, and I am praying that all will be well with you! This was such a year of loss for us, and I say- ENOUGH!! There just HAS TO BE some good news, and that your nodules are benign and insignificant, would mean that our ‘prayers are answered’-that’s what we all wish for you- and of course, for us..
    We are all rooting and praying for you.xoxoxoReplyCancel

  • Carla Ballman - December 16, 2018 - 6:40 AM

    Laurel, check out “Forks Over Knives” on Netflix. I have heard that it is very easy to email Dr Mcdougall and he responds within a few hours. I will keep you in my prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Matthews - December 16, 2018 - 6:08 AM

    Laurel dear,
    I am so sorry you’re going through all of this! It is so stressful, especially when doctors don’t seem to be able to put it all together. When you mentioned exercise intolerance, my ears pricked up, because I have mast cell disorder and exercise intolerance is one of the big flags. And facial swelling, as in your earlier post. Mast cell disorder is fairly common but 99% of Dr’s haven’t a clue. is a website that talks about it, if you’re interested.
    Sending hugs and wishes for better health in 2019!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 12:11 PM

      I will look at that. I have a diagnosis of POTS. Elevated heart rate, standing. Mild exercise can make it go through the roof! Blood pressure drops and I feel like I’m going to pass out. I did one time. That was 8.5 years ago.ReplyCancel

      • Elizabeth Matthews - December 16, 2018 - 12:24 PM

        Hmmm…POTS is concommitant with mast cell disorder. I used to get lightheaded very easily and now, after being treated by my geneticist, when I stand up my blood pressure actually rises. I hope you get answers…in my experience, regular MD’s don’t have experience with many “new” disorders. My life is so much better now that I understand what my issues are. I wish the same for you! You are a shining star to so many people.ReplyCancel

  • Susan - December 16, 2018 - 6:05 AM

    You are not alone. Sharing is good. Lean on us. Breath. You will get through this.ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia Novotny - December 16, 2018 - 6:00 AM

    Wishing you a healthier New Year. Please take care of yourself and let your sons know how you are doing. When living in NYC I always found it important that the Dr.’s hospital affiliation was
    important.ReplyCancel

  • Melody Eckert - December 16, 2018 - 5:33 AM

    Laying in bed reading this at 3:00am, after having food poisoning from dinner. Your post stunned me – Friday I got the same call about an “incidental finding” of a 1mm nodule on my lung, after having a heart CT. (Calcium test) I never smoked either. My doctor said it was probably nothing but that I should have a follow up lung CT. So I return the 27th.
    Please know I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and that you are not alone. Thank you for your courage in sharing this with us. All the best. MelReplyCancel

  • Pat Haley - December 16, 2018 - 5:03 AM

    It’s all mind consuming I know…..keep doing what you are doing – You are your biggest advocate!

    Sending prayers and healing thoughts 🙏🏻💕ReplyCancel

  • Pat Haley - December 16, 2018 - 4:59 AM

    Sending caring and healing thoughts – 🙏🏻 💕ReplyCancel

  • Rosemary Salow - December 16, 2018 - 4:48 AM

    It is a bit of a shock when you first receive a serious medical diagnosis having previously enjoyed good health. If you don’t already have one, get a good primary care board certified internal medicine specialist because he or she will become your gatekeeper and will have established relationships with all the specialists you require. You proximity to NYC means you can access some of the best specialists in the world. I believe the top rated NY cardiac hospital is NY Presbyterian and you can call their excellent referral service. You can also reference NY Magazine’s Best Doctors issue to identify the top NY metro area specialists. You local library will likely have a copy of Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors- which is a publication listings the very top MDs in each field.

    I too get horrible leg cramps from the most commonly prescribed statins. My doctor prescribed a statin called Livalo with a generic equivalent pitavastatin that is not associated with leg cramps. The generic is not available in the US ( and brand name Livalo is quite pricy) but I order the generic online from a reputable Canadian mail order pharmacy, Northwest Pharmacy, for a fraction of what the brand name costs in the US. You simply fill out a medical history on-line, scan or fax your prescription, provide credit card info and your medicine will be shipped to you in about 10-14 days. I usually order a six month supply. Hope this helps.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 12:03 PM

      Excellent, Rosemary. I’ve made note of that. And my primary care doc, Dr. Great is amazing and smart. He always listens and helped me get my POTS diagnosed. (elevated heart rate, from standing and a severe drop in blood pressure) Yes, I still have that, because just standing doing the dishes, my heart rate shouldn’t be going from an average 50 resting (yes, that’s average for me!) to 108! Just doing dishes! But, the second beta blocker is helping that.ReplyCancel

  • GL - December 16, 2018 - 4:37 AM

    Well, Laurel, your “Portrait of a Lady in a Blue Dress” made me feel better too! You look stunning, just as you do in real life in that (fairly) recent photo reclining on a corner sofa in some showroom or whatever — I’m too lazy to go back and find it.

    No suggestions from me, I’m not a doctor. From personal experience, I can only echo what Linda said, reinforced by my own GP, the kind of doctor who makes you feel better when you see him, even if you’re heading for urgent surgery.

    All I can offer is sympathy and good wishes for all the future, not just the holiday season. So here they are, with all the intensity I can put into them!ReplyCancel

  • Adrienne - December 16, 2018 - 4:16 AM

    Laurel.
    I have survived cancer too, likely because I allowed my doctors to treat the advanced disease they dicovered. This is why I don’t like friends depending on herbal remedies for serious problems. There are acute situations that only the modern medicine machine can cure. Hope I don’t sound too gruesome.
    At this point I am dealing with the same hereditary cholesterol and as well an ectopic heartbeat.
    My doctor prescribed the prehistoric statin Crestor, for me; which I did resist until resisting seemed foolish. Despite all warnings of horrible side effects ( even from my pharmacist ) the drugs is lowering my errant bad cholesterol and not causing any other symptom.
    My ectopic heartbeat is being controlled by another drug, Diltiazem (sp?) which is shaped like a horse pill ( the # of extra beats per day has gone from 18,000 per day down to 7000 which is below the level at which they can cause heart damage.) ( it took over a year to find this regimen.)
    All this to say the worst thing is fear. It causes one to grasp at straws.
    Ps the baby aspirin is a medical place holder to protect you until they know how to treat you. I was bruised awfully before they found the right combination for me.
    Ask questions. Ask your doctors if the Vitamin K is helpful for your condition. Your doctors may get sick of you, but it is your right to guard your health.
    You don’t need to publish this, I just wanted to try to help lower the panic in your voice. love to you – AReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 11:57 AM

      This is terrific. So sorry for your health problems. I know that so many of us have them and the sharing is good. I did wear a Holter heart monitor recently. Dr. Cardio reported a “few extra beats.” The difference in the way he explains things and my internist is alarming. But Dr. Great is really great. Very lucky to have that doctor. I just need to find a cardio that isn’t a dick.ReplyCancel

  • Lorri - December 16, 2018 - 3:56 AM

    Dear 40th Cousin,

    Do eat some butter. I can’t remember exactly, but I read something about butter preventing some serious illness a couple of months ago. Can’t remember what it was supposed to prevent, but it was interesting at the time.

    I will get out my healing crystals and say some intentions for you. Don’t laugh. 😉ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 11:52 AM

      We might be 20th cousins! You know, my Millenial son makes ghee. That’s the clarified butter which is supposed to be better for you because it’s missing the thing in butter that’s not good for you. I think it’s called “that delicious butter flavor.” lolReplyCancel

  • Jules Belanger - December 16, 2018 - 3:49 AM

    My father in law took Co Q 10 supplements with his statins. He said the side effect of muscle pain from the statins went away. His nutritionist/supplement advisor from Duke reccd it. We all take it now. Prayers for you & your family. 🙏🙏🙏😘ReplyCancel

  • Cyndia - December 16, 2018 - 3:03 AM

    Laurel, I know from experience how frustrating all the varied opinions/treatments are, and it often seems they only treat the symptoms and not the actual disease! I want to get to the bottom of WHY things are happening and fix that! Sadly, allopathic medicine doesn’t work that way. All that to say I empathize with what you’re going through and I hope you get all sorted out soon. Being too tired and sick is no way to live. Will be thinking of you on your journey back to good health!ReplyCancel

  • Molly - December 16, 2018 - 2:55 AM

    Without going into a lot of detail, this post was very helpful for me. You must have been inspired to share. I don’t have answers for you but will be checking back in to this post to see if your great community does. I hope you’ll continue to keep us posted on all things Laurel, even the hard things.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 11:48 AM

      This one was hard and I still doubted myself as I hit publish, but I feel the presence of God all around me and despite all, knew that I needed to do this. My late brother, Donald died at 38 from cardiovascular disease is also with me. He had an arrhythmia and 80% blockages in some arteries. He also ran 80 miles a week. Yes, crazy! We need to take care of each other.ReplyCancel

  • Renee Marais - December 16, 2018 - 2:52 AM

    Dear Laurel, through your wonderful posts that I always await with eager anticipation you have really become to me (in distant South Africa) a virtual friend and an excellent teacher. I sincerely hope you will find the right way (for your condition) of managing your health to enjoy quality of life. Thinking of you fondly, trusting and praying all will be well.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 11:41 AM

      I have been to S.A. – Actually my honey moon which was the first and last over-seas trip I took with my wasband (ex-husband).

      Gorgeous, gorgeous country. My S-I-L at the time was living in house in Clifton, Capetown overlooking the ocean!ReplyCancel

  • Carole Baker - December 16, 2018 - 2:49 AM

    Greetings from Sydney, Australia. I am sorry to hear about your woes. I’ve had a not too dissimilar experience this year. However, based on my experience, get a second and even a third or forth opinion to be on the safe side. Leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of this. And, remember, Laurel, laughter is a good medicine, too. Best of luck and thank you for sharing your knowledge and your humour.ReplyCancel

  • DancerinaDeux - December 16, 2018 - 2:42 AM

    So sorry to hear you’re going through this. Some advice:

    – never, ever buy supplements online, especially Amazon. Tons of fake pills. I know someone who works in the industry.

    – great health food store in Danbury with two naturopaths who work there. They give tons of free advice, you can also consult with them. Chamomile Foods.

    I wish you the best of luck, Laurel. Big hug from a stranger who reads you a lot.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 11:40 AM

      I used to live only a 20 minute drive Danbury, from Goldens Bridge, NY. Thank you for the advice. You are right.ReplyCancel

  • Catt - December 16, 2018 - 2:36 AM

    Laurel, no advice here other than stay positive and keep researching.
    I so enjoy “knowing” you….your humor and your design genius and advice. I do believe in the power of prayer and you are in mine.
    Catt-in-KYReplyCancel

  • Louise Perry - December 16, 2018 - 2:33 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    New subscriber here and what a boon to have found your blog! I enjoy it so much, not to mention finding it tremendously helpful as you often answer questions, which I myself have been wrestling with.

    So now I’m going to help you, maybe. Laurel…calm down! I have many of your same symptoms (cholesterol ridiculously high due to genetics) and after suffering a middle of the night “episode” had three stents put in. Am now on beta blocker forever probably and certainly baby aspirin as well as a statin drug. But wait…don’t panic. I feel way better than I have felt for the past few years (before heart attack) because now those arteries are unblocked, and I have worked hard to learn to deal with stress. Finding a cardiologist that you trust completely is priority. Noting your symptoms and reporting to your doctor is so important and it’s a sure thing that the first drugs you try are not going to be the best for you, experimenting always required. Together you and your dr. can find the best way for you to move forward and feel like your old self. It WILL happen, I promise you! Yes, it’s a pain to have to deal with and I’m sorry you are having to… but piling on more stress by worrying constantly about it is just the absolute worst thing you can do right now. You try to keep doing what you love, eliminate the stress in your life wherever possible and know there are a lot of readers out here cheering for you!

    Best of luck,
    LouiseReplyCancel

  • Norma Fournier - December 16, 2018 - 2:26 AM

    Laurel~ I’ve just read all about your health challenges and want to send my best wishes to you. I love your blog. Your writing and sense of humor are wonderful and I look forward to reading everything I get in my inbox from you. And now I will hold thoughts of healing and health for you in my heart.
    NormaReplyCancel

  • Runningonempty - December 16, 2018 - 2:25 AM

    I think I survived my stress induced heart attack because I’d cut the fat off meats and avoided very fatty foods for decades. I just imagined that fat in my arteries and got rid of it.ReplyCancel

  • Gail Caryn - December 16, 2018 - 2:20 AM

    Laurel your post today was brave and generous. It’s beautiful that you think of your readers like family. You’re not alone. I’m sending healing energy all the way from the wet coast of Canada 🇨🇦.
    I have suffered from a couple of conditions that cause chronic pain for all of my adult life. My illness is not visible but it sure is exhausting. You never know what someone else is dealing with as they walk through life, so best to be kind and to hold ourselves and others gently. Take care of your lovely self.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 11:31 AM

      Thank you Gail. I so appreciate your unwavering support, no matter what’s going on. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Émilie - December 16, 2018 - 2:18 AM

    Hello Laurel,

    Just a word to say that I love reading about your story. I think that many of your readers, like myself, are quite fond of you in many ways, and if we met you we would talk, hug, and laugh with you with great delight. You are basically any person’s mom who made lemonade with life’s lemons. I would love to know you personally but I live far away, and reading your blog and this particular blog entry is the next best thing.

    If I may offer a tidbit of information, vitamin k2 is present in greater quantities in butter from grass fed animals vs corn or grain fed. So checking those sources might help. But taking vitamins in combination with your D3 is fantastic too. I did a holistic nutrition program at school before interior design, and that was one little thing we learned.

    Life isn’t easy as you know very well, and I’m sorry about your health troubles and potentially worrying diagnosis. But you always find a way to smile, and I really hope that life responds by filling your heart with love and joy daily.

    EmilieReplyCancel

  • Marianne - December 16, 2018 - 2:12 AM

    I would feel very frightened and frustrated by all that! Hang in there! I would recommend reading info on a site called k-vitamins.com. They have loads of information and study citations regarding many uses of vit K, including cardiac issues. (And they sell a high-dose supplement). Keep us posted – we care!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Susan - December 16, 2018 - 2:11 AM

    Oh, Laurel, I’m so sorry to hear about your health issues. Have missed your last few blogs, because of health problems of my own……fibromyalgia and polymyalgia rheumatica. My meds make me gain weight, and I feel goofy a lot of the time. This is about you, though. Your column has made me laugh out loud every time I read it, and that was very welcome, indeed. Please keep us posted on how you’re doing. We do care. Rainbow colored, positive, healing love to you.ReplyCancel

  • Ann Dwelle - December 16, 2018 - 2:02 AM

    Laurel,

    I had cancer, so really do understand the angst in waiting, wondering, and worry. I was blessed to have an amazing primary care doc who sent me to wonderful specialists. Am alive and well today thanks to them, my incredible husband, and my decisions to handle the issue aggressively.

    Thinking of you. Wishing you well. Hoping you have a wonderful holiday season filled with beauty and love.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - December 16, 2018 - 1:57 AM

    I know you don’t want sympathy, but I offer it … as well as a source of information. Try nutritionfacts.org. It is run by a physician and has no sponsored content. Also, with cardiac problems, it takes a while to get the dose of medications correct. How do I know this? My husband survived a heart attack and my son is a physician. You can bet my husband now takes statins. You are likely to need both nutrition and conventional medical care. They are not mutually exclusive, and supplements in general, assuming no difficiency, are not as effective as diet. Just my 0.2.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 2:04 AM

      Thank you Linda. I appreciate the information and will look into it.ReplyCancel

  • Chrissy Roberts - December 16, 2018 - 1:56 AM

    Laurel-I would get a second opinion about all this from a naturopath. I have both a general practitioner and a naturopath. They’re both great.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 16, 2018 - 2:01 AM

      I’m a believer in both traditional and eastern medicines. Or more specifically, treating illness at its root if that can be found. Thank you, Chrissy.ReplyCancel

  • Jeanni Sarachelli - December 16, 2018 - 1:53 AM

    I am using Dr. Sinatra Advanced Cholesterol Solutions for my high cholesterol – I haven’t taken test yet but giving it a few months – Maybe you would like to check it out its natural Vit.C & Bergamonla & other stuff by Heathly Directions – http://www.Dr.Sinatra.com – Good Luck & Take care of yourself, JeannieReplyCancel

  • SPM - December 16, 2018 - 1:46 AM

    You’re a lovely light on the world. Although I’m ‘only’ a recent and distant follower (related by 40th cousins or so), I sincerely wish you all health and happiness. Keep on keeping on!ReplyCancel

  • Meg Beauchamp - December 16, 2018 - 1:45 AM

    Prayers to you, I love reading all your posts and recognize how hard this was for you. Hoping better news follows!ReplyCancel