Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A Hearty Scare – One Year (and 80 lbs) Later

It was exactly one year ago that we were hit with an ice storm. That day I walked in the snow to pick up my son from daycare, only to find he had pink-eye. I decided to carry him the three blocks to the nearby walk-in clinic. When I arrived I had trouble breathing and was feeling a tightness in my chest. My speech-delayed son kept asking over and over, “Are you okay? Are you okay?”

The receptionist took his lead and asked me if I was okay, and when I told her what I was experiencing, she quickly ushered me into one of the examining rooms. They took my blood pressure... 198/120. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 and high blood pressure is anything above 140/90. They promptly called 9-1-1. After my wife and daughter arrived to look after my son, I was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital. Several blood tests and ECGs later, the Cardiologist decided I should have an angiogram “just to be safe”.

During this procedure they discovered that my Right Coronary Artery was 99% blocked and “days away from a full cardiac arrest.” So they went ahead and put a stent in the artery to open the block. Less than a week before Christmas, I was given a unique present... a second chance.

At the time my weight was 270 lbs. “Morbidly obese.” The Cardiologist ordered me to get my weight down. He enrolled me into a cardiac rehab program and, for the sake of my family, I decided to take it seriously. I researched heart healthy meals, re-learned how to grocery shop by reading labels and made a change to heart-healthy living. It took an adjustment and dedication but in the end, it actually reduced the cost of our weekly grocery bill.  

One month later, I was down 25 lbs. Two months later, I was down 35 lbs. Three months later, I was down 40 lbs. My Cardiologist was impressed with my progress when I had reached 30 lbs. He said I had added years to my life and if I could get my own weight below 200 lbs, I’ll have added decades to my life.

So now, one year to the day since I was rushed to the hospital, I’m at 190 lbs. I’ve lost a total of 80 lbs, which is the combined weight of my 9-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. I continue to live heart-healthy and plan to lose more weight and tone up. Since I’m a writer, my Cardiologist suggested I write a book about my journey and how I lost the weight through heart-healthy living. It wasn’t a bad suggestion. When I began researching it for myself, I had collected data from several sources and discovered that finding truly “heart-healthy” meals was a challenge.

So I continue to take his advice and have begun writing this book, which will include the steps I took to make the change and some recipes for heart-healthy meals... and snacks. (Snacks are the hardest.) This book will be dedicated to my family – especially my son. If it wasn’t for the sudden detour to the walk-in clinic, I would have likely died while shoveling the driveway during the ice storm. I will be forever grateful for his pink-eye.     

Before and after - exactly one year and 80 lbs later.

No comments:

Post a Comment