Cholesterol, out of normal range, triglycerides, kill...words you might not want to hear from your doctor.
But they are words I heard from the cardiologist today, just over six months since quadruple bypass surgery. Before you add me to your prayer list, though, there's more to the story. It was all good news. My cholesterol and triglycerides are out of the normal range, but they are below normal. My lipids have always been good, but they are now even better, thanks to medicines and an improved diet. And that "KILL" word came in the following context, "Most of my patients would kill to have your numbers."
Then he told me that I could wait a year before I come back to see him. Just keep taking my medicines, keep doing at least 150 minutes of cardio exercise per week, keep losing weight, keep the blood sugar in check...keep reminding yourself that you are still, and always will be, a heart patient. "Call and make an appointment any time in the next year, if anything changes. Otherwise, I'll see you next year."
So, in a way, I'm kind of in this by myself, because I am in charge of my own progress. I cannot take much comfort from the good numbers, because my numbers have been good for years, and I still ended up with deadly blockages. It's tempting to try and put the whole thing behind me for the next few months. I have, after all, been sort of cut loose by the surgeon and now by the cardiologist. I feel great, the scars are fading, my numbers are even better. I've won! I've "got" this!
The cardio workouts are still the one area that I really have to force myself into maintaining. Well, that, and being careful about diet... Noting my dedication to the workouts, a colleague of mine said yesterday, "But you ENJOY doing that, don't you?" NO-I-DO-NOT! I-DO-NOT-ENJOY-SWEATING FOR 50 MINUTES THREE TIMES A WEEK! I have to make myself be dedicated to the routine. I told the colleague, "No, I am definitely not one of THOSE people!" Those people who love the burn, who love to run, who love to sweat. That's not me, but the physiologist tells me that I should be working my way up to four or five times a week.
It's the cardiologist's admonition "...you always will be a heart patient" that brings me back to reality. Every day of my life I need to remember that I am, and always will be, a heart patient. It still seems strange... And about those prayers, feel free to go ahead and put me on your list!
Additional posts in this series: