Monday, June 11, 2012

Health update

I had quadruple heart bypass surgery on Sept 10, 2008, and for the following few months I wrote about it, about my recovery process, and about the impact it had on my writing.

I haven't written much about my health since, but I thought I should provide an update. Today was my annual visit with my cardiologist, and the news is all good.

First, I've lost 15+ pounds since September 2008, most of it finally coming off this year. (This weekend I even bought new chinos a waist size smaller than I had been wearing.) My cardiologist wanted to know how I'd done it because, for the first time in his life, he's been advised to drop 15 pounds. So, I was giving my cardiologist dieting advice!*

Second, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels are now within "normal" range, which means no changes to my current medication.

Third, and perhaps more importantly, my EKG was normal. The doc says my EKG was one of the best post-bypass EKGs he's ever seen.

So, life is good!
*Here's how I've done it:

1) Improve the quality of my diet by including more fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables and eliminating as many prepared canned and boxed foods. Reduce salt and fat intake. Eat more chicken and seafood and less beef. Also, eat more home cooking and less fast food.

2) Reduce the amount of food I consume. Instead of eating until I'm full, I now eat until I'm no longer hungry.

3) Fight my addictions. For example, I'm a Mountain Dew addict. Each time I've gone cold turkey, I've been back on the bottle within a few weeks. Now, I trick my taste buds. When I want a Dew, I take a big swallow of it and then switch immediately to water. I get that first rush of flavor from the swig of Dew but the water ultimately quenches my thirst.

4) Find an exercise I'll actually do because walking is boring. I've always enjoyed dancing, so I've taken some dance classes and have been dancing several times the past few months. (A dance partner and I even won a Twist contest!)

5) Be happy. Enjoy life. Don't stress over the little things.


Anonymous said...

Most people would require a support system of caregiving and encouragement from family and friends to come through so well and continue a healthy lifestyle. Great job, Michael. Move over Superman!

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Very good news in all aspects. One of my big regrets is I did not walk/move more when I was able to do so.

Michael Bracken said...

I had a good, and unexpected, support system when I first came out of the hospital, Anonymous, but the past year I've been relying much more on myself.

And, Kevin, your lesson is a good one for all of us. We sometimes don't realize the things we need to do until it's too late to do them.