Thursday, June 20, 2013
On May 16th at around 2am or so, I had a heart attack. On the wild ride to the hospital in the squad, all I could think was that I hoped I would make it. I still had so many things I wanted to do.
In the days afterward, I have needed to take a serious look at myself and my efforts to become healthier. Those efforts that never quite "took" permanently. I knew that I had arthritic changes in my knees, COPD, and that I had high blood pressure and cholesterol and a big family history of heart disease. I would do REALLY well for limited periods of time, and then always went back to the same old bad habits. I still smoked. I was still an emotional eater, and always eventually went back to eating too much plain old junk. I still drank tones of diet Dr. Pepper. I have the knowledge, as most of us do these days,to understand what a Russian roulette I was playing with my life.
But I think, that with many of us, we see it and know it, but don't fully see that danger as REAL. Sure I'm making it likely I will have a heart attack or stroke, but there's PLENTY of time! I'm only 38...48...58. What? I had a heart attack at 58?
Yes I did, and I was just lucky to have great people in the EMS and the cardiac cath team to get me through it.
Now I am 58 with 3 stents in the arteries leading into my heart. The cardiologist and his team have done their wonders to keep me here. Now it's my turn; and this time I need to keep my eye on the results of my actions.
I don't have insurance, as my employers did not hold my position for me after the heart attack. And cardiac rehab is very expensive for someone who isn't working and has no insurance. But I still need to recondition my heart and my body. I'm still 100 lb overweight. I need to get my body and my heart back into strong enough condition to prevent a second heart attack.
So I'm trying to eat healthy every day. I haven't smoked a cigarette since May 15; am puffing on the electronic cigarette with zero nicotine since then when I feel I MUST puff. The healthy eating is still a struggle. Avoiding drinking diet Dr. Pepper is still a struggle but I try to do it rarely and not a carton a day like before. And My soda, like my tea and coffee, are now decaf.
I'm weaker than I thought I would be since the heart attack, and I get out of breath SO easily. But I'm going to stay with my daughter in Georgia in a couple of weeks. I will be there for a month and she wants to help me do our own version of cardiac rehab, complete with healthy food and building up my strength with easing into the cardio and some strength training, at first without weights, and then gradually adding some weight.
I'm so lucky to have her, and I'm lucky to belong to SP, because I know that all my friends here will also help keep me motivated in getting back into a healthier shape. Heck, I'm just lucky, period, and thankful to still be here.