Nuclear Stress Test

strststThis morning I went in to do a Nuclear Stress Test.

Why is it called nuclear?  Because they inject you with radioactive dye that the camera picks up on to image your heart arteries and see what level of blockage you may have.

I just passed the 6 month mark since my stents were put in and we are checking to see how things are going with them and what the rest of my arteries look like.  The worst part was that it cost me $2400 out of pocket.  Why do I have insurance?  I’m going to have to call them and see what the heck happened.

They gave me an initial dose of radioactive material then put me in the camera for 15 minutes to get a “Before” image.

Next they put me on the treadmill to get my heart rate up to 146.  They start out slowly and my rate went up to 85 then 100.  The last step was up to medium jogging speed which just about took me to the limit of my endurance but I managed to hold out to hit the 146 BPM requirement.  They shot me up again.

They put me back into the camera for 12 minutes and I was done.  The whole thing took about two hours and was relatively painless other than the running and the pain in my wallet.  It will be a few weeks before we get the results.

With two doses of radioactive material, I wonder if I’ll develop super powers.

 

Learning to run again

rnnrI’m supposed to get more exercise but finding ways is difficult when you don’t have a lot of extra time.  I’ve been walking around the block but not really feeling that it is enough exertion.  I entertained the idea of running but every time I tried I felt like I was stumbling and going to fall.  Little by little I would run for a 50-100 feet and walk again.  Now it is starting to feel more natural.

Today is November 22nd and instead of cold it was 77 degrees when I got home after work.  It was already getting dark so I stripped naked and put on my tiny black running shorts and some shoes.  I hit the street and managed to run quite a bit.  My walking app indicated that I had traveled a mile in 13 minutes rather than the usual 18 it takes if I walk the whole way.

I didn’t feel like I was going to fall.  It still feels weird but not entirely unnatural anymore.  The last time I remember actually “running” was when I was in elementary school.  That was many lifetimes ago.

I don’t know much about running so I wonder if it is bad for my knees.  That would suck to have fucked up knees in a few years.  I guess I’ll have to do some googling.  I do feel like the running is effective exercise so I think I will try to do more of it.

 

Heart health update

hrthlthIt has been a couple of months since my near heart attack and I’ve learned a lot about Heart Disease and eating a heart-healthy diet.  I still have a long way to go but I seem to have significantly improved my numbers.

My local grocery store does a screening on the 2nd saturday of each month.  I decided to give it a shot.  They do all the tests right there using portable meters rather than sending a vial of blood off the the lab.  I’m taking these results with a grain of potassium because a meter will never be as good as a real lab test but at lest it gives me an idea for now.

My LDL (Bad) cholesterol is somewhere below 40.  I don’t know the actual number because the meter doesn’t go below 40.  Either way that’s a good thing if it is true.  You want it to be less than 70.  I’m wondering if it might be dangerous to have a LDL that is too low.  Question for the doctor.  I owe my low LDL to the fact that I’ve had little to no meat at all over the last two months.  I really don’t miss it all that much.  Meat seems to have been more of a habit than a requirement.  There are plenty of alternatives that are devoid of cholestrol and saturated fats.

My HDL (Good) cholesterol is still low at 27 where it should be above 40 and preferably higher.   I’m surprised at this number because HDL is boosted by eating omega-3 foods like fish, flax seed and other things that I am totally eating.  It is also raised by getting exercise.  I’ve been walking 2-3 miles or biking 4-5 miles almost every night.  I really expected to see the HDL number higer.

My total Cholesterol is 100 and is good as 150 or less is recommended.

Other than statins for cholesterol, I’m also taking a couple of blood pressure pills that seem to be helping a bit.  My BP ranges between 120 and 150 systolic.  Kind of high still but time on the drugs and exercise should help.  As one gets older, blood pressure naturally goes up.  I hope I can keep it under control.

High blood pressure is also caused by stress.  I caused myself a lot of stress over the last 20 years so I’m sure that was a major contributing factor to my issue.  I feel that I have gotten it under control in the last few years but the damage is done.  I still have more work to do but I am feeling far better about controlling stress.

HBP is also caused by salt.  The American diet is LOADED with salt.  That’s really a shame because it’s everywhere and we love it.  Unfortunately it is also death.  Cutting salt has been difficult.  It’s not too hard when you cook at home but you can’t avoid it when you eat out.  Eventually you get used to not eating all the salt and food tastes just fine without it or at least much less of it.

My doctor said to see him in 6 months but I think that is too long.  I’m sure most people who have arteriosclerosis blow it off so the doctors don’t care if the patients don’t.   I figure I might as well fight it so I plan on calling to get a real blood lab done and discuss it with him as well as all the other questions I have.

51oj3kxawvl-_sl160_I’ve read a few books that have been extremely helpful.  If you have or have a family history of blocked arteries then I highly recommend reading The Simple Heart Cure: The 90-Day Program to Stop and Reverse Heart Disease.  It was written by a cardiologist who was also blindsided by heart disease so I’m sure he knows what he is talking about.  He does a great job of explaining the situation as well as offering a plan to prevent or reverse heart disease to get you back on track.  I’ve read it twice.  Get it if you value your life.

Overall I feel like I did before it happened.  I’m not sure why I am fighting it considering I don’t really have much to live for but I guess it’s human nature to want to live.  I also have to see what happens when Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton becomes president.  You know it is going to be weird and interesting.  Besides, maybe I will eventually achieve my meager yet almost impossible goals in life.  I’ll never know if I don’t live long enough.  Life is short anyway.  There will be plenty of time to be dead later.

 

 

Mow Naked!!!

MownakedThere’s the right way and the wrong way to do things.  When it’s 100 degrees outside, you should mow naked.

Today I came home from work a little early.  The pool bottom was covered in settled algae so I stripped out of my monkey suit and vacumed the pool out.

After that I noticed how high the grass was.  The lawnmower was right there on the patio so I jumped right on and took care of it.

I can’t tell you how much better being outside is when you aren’t insulated with textiles.  When the air can caress your bare skin and evaporate all the sweat as it was intended, you are far more comfortable.

I wonder when the rest of the world is going to realize that naked is better.  Until then, too bad for them.

Buying Healthy Food

hlthyfdNow that I’m a member of the Stent Club I am supposed to eat healthy food that has no cholesterol, salt or sugar.  Not an easy task.

Meat is pretty much out.  Salty snacks, gone. I was surprised to find out that I also have to avoid sugar and carbs.  That really sucks.  That leaves pretty much only vegetables, fruit and nuts.  Things that taste like crap.

Today after work I visited a health food store and walked the aisles for over an hour looking at ingredients and nutritional information.  I found a nice selection of vegetable-based meat and cheese alternatives.  YAY!  I bought a bunch of dried cranberries, nuts and some snacks.  I also found some vegetable-based mayo.  I’m amazed and gladdend to see that such things exist.  These weird things used to be for crazy people but now they are for real people.  I ended up buying $75 worth of stuff.  Sounds expensive but lonely guys have money to burn so what the heck.  I might as well eat.

I can see why humans are so unhealthy.  The stuff we eat everyday are full of bad things and we don’t know it.  It would sure be nice if they could completely replace all saturated fats with unsaturated alternatives.  Surely that could be done.

When looking for healthy food you find that salt is EVERYWHERE.  It’s almost impossible to find anything that doesn’t have salt.  The body does need some salt so I think if I just cut down as much as humanly possible I think I will be OK.

I don’t know.  I’m only 48 and this kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen to me. This whole thing is just a bad dream from which I will eventually wake and find myself where I’m supposed to be.  Just wait.  You’ll see.

The Doctor said I could have sex. LOL!!!!!!

dctrI went to the doctor for my two week follow-up after my heart angioplasty.  We didn’t have as much time as I wanted to ask all my questions.  I also forgot to write the questions down so it probably wouldn’t have mattered.  He received a text that someone was having a heart attack and had to leave for the emergency room.

One of the things he said nearly killed me.  He said, “It’s OK to have sex but take it easy.”

It took everything I had to bite my tongue and not say anything.  I appreciated the fact that he might assume that someone would want to have sex with me.  Or the fact that having sex was something I did.  Kind of like a regular person.

I wanted to say, “As if!!!”

Well?  The doctor said it was OK.  Anyone want some?

No?  I didn’t think so.

 

First day back at work

bktowrkToday was my first day back at work after my heart stents were put in.  For the first few hours I was still a bit woozy and weird but after I sat up for a while and had my mind occupied I started feeling much better.

Looking for a health lunch, I went to Souper Salad and had a huge salad with beans for protein and a fat-free french dressing that had no cholesterol and minimal salt.  After lunch I felt even better.

I still have some nasty bruises and a little swelling in my groinal-region but it’s not too bad.  I’m keeping an eye on it.

My order from BlueApron.com came in today.  It was three vegetarian cook-it-yourself meals.  When I got home I rested a little then hit the kitchen.   It was a fairly easy to cook the first meal.  Unfortunately it didn’t come out exactly like it is supposed to because I had to leave out the salt, butter and three kinds of nice cheese.  Awwww man.  It included crumbled goat cheese to sprinkle on top.  I tasted it just to see what I was missing and I am missing a lot.  The meal is for tomorrow at work so I only tasted it tonight.  It is OK.  Edible.  We’ll see tomorrow.   It seems OK without the salt.  The instructions mentioned “Salt and pepper to taste” on every step.  Sometimes twice.  Damn!  That’s a lot of salt.

I’m mostly doing well now.  I would say 75%.  As soon as the groin heals I’ll be ready to start exercising.  I already walked about 1-4 miles a week.  I can easily up that a bit.

Mentally, I’m still in a bit of a fog.  I have decisions to make about my life but I’m not really of sound mind to do it now.  I’ll just do what I do best.  Go with the flow.  It has worked for me for 48 years so we’ll see what comes next without worrying about it.

There are still a lot of things I don’t know about my health situation.  I have an appointment with my cardiologist next Wednesday and I expect he will fill me in.  I don’t expect anything he will say will be good.  I have some serious shit in front of me health-wise.  Funny how up to now I thought I was super-healthy.  They say heart disease will sneak up on you.  No shit!  It wasn’t supposed to happen to me though.