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Posts Tagged ‘cardiologist’

I grew up in a “women don’t sweat” type of family.  My dad did not watch sports on television and neither did my brother.  The closest we got to physical activity was once, my brother and I, played badminton.  We did not go to the beach.  We would do a ‘walk’ on our vacation. It certainly wasn’t a hike. I was hardly allowed to ride my bike because I might get hit by a car.  Mom was a bit overprotective, but, then again, I never got hit by a car. 

 

I was last picked to play ball and I hated gym, so when I started the Body for Life program, I was thoroughly amazed at how good it felt to lift weights.  Me, can’t hit a ball with a stick, me and I love weight lifting. 

 

I had worked hard for nine months, alternating weight lifting and the treadmill, in 2005, and I lost (drumroll please) not one ounce; muscles weigh more than fat.  I did lose two dress sizes however, and I felt better than I ever felt: weak ankles, gone; floating knee caps, gone; weak arms, gone; aching back, gone.  I could throw around clay with the best of them.  I was strong and I knew I would never be weak again.

 

The main reason I had gotten into this is that I was watching my mother deteriorate and I said, to myself, that I was not going to go down that road.  That road included weakness, illness, resting to walk down a hall and instability, and I was strong.

 

In 2005, there were no commercials on television telling a woman that one reason she is tired could be her heart.  I could have been the poster ‘woman’ for that commercial.  I woke up one morning so exhausted I couldn’t lift weights, or run.  Just overnight, I was exhausted.  I could barely walk, and over the next two years, I got so bad that I could not make it to open the door for irritating Chihuahua to go outside. 

 

“Why didn’t you go to the doctor, you ask.”  I did.  I didn’t have insurance though so the A.N.P. (some type of nursing practitioner) that I got to see checked my thyroid four times over the next two years and told me I was “just under stress.”  Of course, she never even hinted at a treatment for the “just stress” that was slowly killing me. 

 

Then, the doctor’s office called me in and told me not to return for three months because I was “just under stress.”  There’s a lot more to the story, like blood pressure being twenty points different in each arm and a cardiologist who was pretty sure he knew what was wrong but his hands were tied by the corporation he worked for.  So, when they told me not to return to their office, I came home and announced, “They have sent me home to die.”

 

Then, on the internet, I found the wonderful people of St. Francis hospital.  I went into their free cardiac clinic and two hours later was seeing a cardiologist, who scheduled me for a cardiac catherization.  It took a total of seven days before I was having emergency open heart surgery.  I had a spasming artery to my heart (could it have been caused by stress?  Possibly)  I also had 70% blockage, but they said that could have waited.

 

When you don’t have insurance, you do not have rehabilitation.  So, it has taken me two years but, as a birthday present for myself, I finally felt strong enough to start Body for Life again. 

 

I recently read some negative things about this program, but I am here to tell you there is no pressure.  There is no one saying, “you can’t get anywhere, if you don’t use forty pound weights.”  Just the opposite, is the case.  I am starting off with two pound weights and actually I have also had to modify the program for now.  Last time, I did all the reps right from the beginning.  I have to listen to my body, so that I have the energy to do other things.  It is a great program and I love it. 

 

I am literally using two pounds on the upper body and one set of reps.  I went up to three pounds a couple of weeks ago and my rib cage hurt so much that I went back down. I am also eating smaller portions and healthier food.  It all goes hand in hand, folks. 

 

Since February 2, I have lost eleven pounds, and I’m loving that part too.  I’m sweating and I’m loving it all.

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Having been without health insurance for so long, and now being covered under the Healthy Indiana Plan, I have spent this last three months having everything done that could be done. Today, I do believe, I have found the humor in this whole situation and trust me, I am very grateful to Indiana for the insurance.

There was the Cardiologist who, after doing an ultrasound on my heart, told me that my heart was NOT damaged. I felt like I had been given a reprieve and also like he was either giving me a placebo talk or my brain is totally failing me. He says he has no idea where I got that idea. And, as I said after photographing the wedding, I am capable of much more than I thought I was.

Well, I came home from that doctor’s visit a new and energized woman. I’m not lifting weights yet but that is mostly because it is cold and they are on a screened in porch. After Gaffer returns to Santa Fe, they will be moved into his room: with the rabbit, the upright piano, the treadmill and all Gaffer’s stuff boxed up. That room is shrinking let me tell you.

Then, there was the visit to the Ophthalmologist. The Healthy Indiana Plan gives you gift cards for all sorts of things. I filled out an online questionnaire and got a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card. Gosh, they know the way to my heart. So, I signed up for a Health Coach.

Truth be told, I wanted to do it, the $100 gift card is icing on the cake, which I no longer eat because of the type 2 diabetes. I want to get healthy and strong again and I will do what it takes to get there. But, my personal health coach was more interested in my health problems and was concerned about my occasional blurry vision. Being Pre-diabetic, and she told me that they do not consider there is such a thing, you either are or you aren’t, she wanted me to have a retinal check. I went to the ophthalmologist, who declared my eyes free of diabetic damage however; I have cataracts that are just starting. My husband turns to me and says, “You are too young for cataracts.” He thinks a minute and then says, “No, I guess you aren’t.”

Is there humor in either of those situations? Sure, cataracts can be fixed and my husband, well, he was never been known for tact. Such as the time he stated that the actress on Burn Notice, is in fact sexy and does not look anorexic to him. My look told him never to say that again.

There is the hematologist who wants a DNA for Hemachromatosis. And, yes, HIP will pay for same if it is done because of a parent having the disease. My father died of Hemachromatosis and one family member has already tested positive on the DNA deal. I don’t mind blood sticks, so that one is a go.

I’ve had flu shots, shingles shots, ultrasounds, xrays, and now a DNA and visits with a cardiologist, hematologist, ophthalmologists and twice or more my G.P. But, tomorrow beats them all. It’s the dreaded colonoscopy.

I have, as anyone who has had this done, knows, spent the day drinking the most vile concoction and drinking every allowable drink possible to get the sneer off my face that has been there since 2:30 when I drank the Phospho-Soda the first time and discovering that there is no toilet paper, on the face of the earth, soft enough by 7:30pm.

Now, I drink water, listen to my stomach gurgle and drink more water, awaiting that midnight deadline where my mouth will become parched like the Sahara Desert and I will no longer be allowed even water. I will take a fast shower as there is something wrong with the water heater and wake up at an ungodly hour to go and wait two hours for the test.

Somewhere, somehow there is humor in all of this.

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