You never think it will happen to you…

Here’s the back-story for something that happened to me back around Thanksgiving for 2016.

Originally posted on a discussion forum on December 14, 2016

You always think “that will never happen to me”… Until it does that is.

For me, it all started a little before Thanksgiving this year. I should have recognized the signs, but I was being my ‘normal’ stubborn self. I wasn’t able to walk as far, or as fast as I could even a few days before. Got winded easily too. Then the chest pains started. Yup, should have taken care of it right then, but I was being stubborn. Thinking that it would pass and I’d be back to normal. Basically being a dumb-ass about it. Time forward to two weeks ago Tuesday (11/29/2016) and I wasn’t really getting ‘better’ so I decided to go get checked out. Being logical (or at least more so than I had been) I made the choice to go to the hospital. Of course, I didn’t want to call 911 and get taken who knows where. So, luckily, I was able to get a family member to bring me to one of the hospitals over in Nashua (Southern NH Medical Center). Went into the ER and got taken to one of those rooms…

Things weren’t looking all that great, but after a couple of hours there, they things more under control. I wasn’t so lucky to get sent on my way right. Instead, they brought me up into the cardio ward. Got scheduled to get a cardiac catheterization the next morning. I was first in line for that day (11/30), being taken down about 7:30am for the ultrasound before they took me into the operating room. They were able to locate the problem area, and [luckily] it was resolved with a single stent (3.5mm x 23mm). Also, fortunately, they were able to go in through my right radial artery, and didn’t need to go in through the femoral artery (which I hear sucks more). I was back in my room by about 9am and was already doing much better. Now I have a piece of stainless steel in my chest/heart… Some people (that I’m telling this too) say ‘now you’re like robocop’… OK, except I’m better armed. BTW, where they put the stent had a 95% closure/blockage in it.

With getting the stent, they want to keep you overnight. So I had another full day in the hospital getting poked with needles during the day and such. Got discharged Thursday around 3:30pm with a handful of Rx’s to get filled and guidelines on what I need to do to prevent this from happening again. With the insurance company I have, they approved some visits from home healthcare, which was pretty nice. Oh, one really shitty thing is not being allowed to drive for 2 weeks after the procedure. Means I need to be taken where I need to go (grocery store, doctors office, etc.). On the plus side, I started working from home last Tuesday, so I don’t have to use up my vacation days for this. I did burn through most of my sick days from the 29th thru that Friday. I already had a vacation day scheduled for the following Monday.

Top all that off and they say I’ve got diabetes too. Fortunately, I do NOT need to inject insulin, but have it under control with diet change and taking medication each day (once a day right now). No more huge bowls of white pasta for me, or some other things. I’m just glad I can control it this way. Not sure what I’d do if I needed to inject insulin each day. For those that do, my hat’s off to you.

I’m getting a good handle on what I need to change for my diet, but I’m scheduled to talk with a nutritionist at the end of the month. I’ve got questions about my parameters. I’ve been walking each day, increasing how long (time) I walk in line with what I was told to do. I’m recording what I eat each day for both issues. I’ve also started a ‘sodium log’ so that I can track how much I’m getting each day. I’m finding that it’s easy to stay under the limit they gave me.

I go to see the cardiologist this afternoon for the two week follow-up visit. I have some questions for her about my diet change and if there’s a range I should target for sodium intake each day.

I have found that items that are supposed to be good for diabetics are really bad for those with a heart issue. Like diet soda might be low/zero sugar, but the sodium content is insane. So, I’ve been going completely without for now. I’m experimenting with fruit infused water to get something with flavor in it. It is OK for me to have a drink, or two, with a meal (dinner for me). Which means I’ll probably be drinking more wine. The only ‘issue’ there is I don’t drink crap, so that could get expensive pretty fast. I will be asking about how many brew’s I can drink each week, so that could be an option. Since I brew my own, and have three on tap, I can really control how much I drink.

Foods I’m pretty sure I’m going to miss at times are things like potato chips, pretzels, white buns for burgers, BACON, plus others. It’s a really good thing that I enjoy cooking. I’m able to tweak my existing recipes to be in line with my new dietary limitations and still enjoy things.

From when they weighed me in the ER (was 245), to today, I’ve dropped about 10 pounds. I’m already wearing jeans that were previously too small to wear. I have just one hole left on my belt, before I need to make additional holes (to get it smaller). My goal is to get to 200 or less by June. They said ~9 months, but I think I can get there sooner. Once I get the weight off, along with the dietary shift, I might be able to get off the diabetes medications. There’s also a chance that they’ll either take me off, or reduce, some of the heart issue medications. I’ll always be on something due to the stent. I’m doing everything in my power to NOT go back into the hospital for another heart problem.

Moral of the story, if I had taken better care of myself, I probably wouldn’t have had this happen. Drinking soda was one issue. Eating white breads didn’t help any. Of course, the boneless ribeye steaks were probably a factor. I know there are more things that I was eating, like deli cuts, that were contributing factors.

January 1, 2017

Getting changed to a different diabetes medication now. Turns out the stuff the hospital put me on tends to make you gain weight. The new stuff is supposed to help you lose weight. You have to transition into the new stuff though, or it buggers up your GI tract. Just what I DON’T need… Fortunately, if you ease into the new stuff (stopping the other at a certain point) that tends to not happen.

Weight loss continues, even if it’s slowed down.

January 9, 2017

Got a NordicTrack treadmill now (put it in the living room so that I can watch tv while using it, if I choose). Got it set up on Friday (with help from family members) and started using it right away.

Also tried buffalo/bison tonight at dinner. I picked up a package of the ground meat at the grocery store on Sunday. That shit is GOOD! Not cheap, but damn. Plus it’s a lot healthier than beef (especially ground).

February 1, 2017

Passed the 20# drop mark (about 22-1/2). That’s in two months time. Puts me about half way to my weight goal. On the last hole in my belt again (of the two I added to it the other week). Within another couple of weeks I’ll need to go shopping for new jeans. I’ll probably punch another hole, or two, in the belt sometime in the next week or so.

When I walk (on the treadmill at home when not at the rehab place), I’m going just over 2 miles in about 45-46 minutes. With all the crap on the streets I was walking before getting the treadmill, this makes more sense to me (at least right now). I expect that once the ice is gone from the roads, I’ll be walking outside a lot more.

Made a new batch of modified chili over the weekend. Used beans again (2 pounds rehydrated) and picked up a lean cut of beef to grind. I made it even leaner when trimming the fat off, and out, of the meat before grinding it. Also used some no salt added crushed tomatoes in the batch. Actually, used two of the no salt added and two ‘regular’ since I was unsure how it would come out from just using the no salt added. Came out pretty good, AND fits within my diet. Next up will be another batch of turkey soup (probably within two weekends).

One of the things that still irks me is what I was told by the diabetes nutritionist in the hospital. Turns out a LOT of what she said was bullshit. Such as no legumes, which is 100% false. They’re actually good for the cardiac diet and good for the diabetic diet (in moderation of course). Then no spuds or winter squashes. Also 100% not true. Again, it’s all about serving size. Instead of a plate of spuds or squash, it’s a smaller amount (like less than a cup, more often about 1/2 cup or 4oz).

February 19, 2017

Passed the -25# mark (three days of numbers in that range and I call it). Next mile stone is -30# (or a 215# weigh-in).

Saw the cardiologist on Thursday and things are looking good. She wants me to go in for a test in a month (ultrasound I believe) to double check that it’s all good.

Been going at least two miles each time on the treadmill (days where I run the snowblower for an hour, or more, I have skipped it). Had a couple of day of 3 miles on it (in about an hour). Right now, I’m ramping up to 3.2 mph on it, then holding for 40-45 minutes before slowing back down and stopping. Ramp-up is 5 minutes to get to 3 mph, then I creep up to 3.2 over another ~5 minutes and hold there for the remainder.

Ended up making another batch of bread yesterday. Using the recipe posted (with gluten) earlier in the thread. Looking like if I handle it less after the first rise time, it comes out a lot nicer (higher loafs). I haven’t tried any of this batch, so I won’t know (for certain) until I do.
Also making another batch of ‘healthier’ chili today. Using 3# (dry weight) of beans, along with less than 3# of very lean ground up beef (ground it myself, so I KNOW how lean it is). Using the no salt added crushed tomatoes in this batch. Also, with the higher bean level, I’ll get more out of the batch (volume). Last batch went way too fast…

March 3, 2017

Saw the cardiologist on 2/16 for a checkup… She scheduled an echo cardiogram, which I had yesterday afternoon. While the tech performing the echo couldn’t “officially” say anything about what she saw, I got a good ‘thumbs-up’ sign. I see the cardiologist again on 4/7 to go over the results of this test. I’m assuming she’ll compare with the echo performed just before I got the stent installed.

Also, ‘officially’ down just over 30# from December first. From 245 to 214.2 this morning. As long as I can maintain reducing at least 5 pounds a month, I’m on track to hit my goal (at or below 200 by June 1st). I don’t think I’ll get to it this weekend (got things to do) but before the end of next weekend I’m planning to see what size jeans fit right.

I’ve shifted to walking in the morning hours on the days I work from home. Getting in a solid 3 miles in less than an hour. I still do the five minute ‘ramp-up’ time and then about a two minute ‘ramp-down’ time at the end.

March 17, 2017

Had another doctor’s visit today (physical)… Along with everything looking good, I got the results from the last lipid panel that was run (on 2/16)… Also got the results from the one when I went into the hospital. She also had an A1C test done while I was there.

A1C difference:
11/30/16: 9.9
3/17/17: 5.0
Normal numbers are in the 4.8-5.6 range. Due to the change, one of my meds (Metformin) is being reduced by half. She also has reduced how often I need to test my blood sugar to once a day (was twice).

Lipid profile results from 11/30
Cholesterol: 195 mg/dL
Triglycerides: 415 mg/dL (high)
HDL Cholesterol: 30 mg/Dl (low)
LDL-Direct: 125 mg/dL

Lipid profile results from 2/16/17
Cholesterol: 100 mg/dL (low)
Triglycerides: 93 mg/dL
HDL Cholesterol: 40 mg/Dl
LDL-Direct: 51 mg/dL (low)

She was happily surprised with the extent of the improvements since 11/30… She mentioned a target weight, for me, of 200# or less. Which has been my goal since I got home from the hospital. This morning I was 211.2#. I want to be at/under 210 by the end of this month. I think I’ll get there without issue…

March 26, 2017

Weight’s been falling really well this week… Down to 204.4# as of this morning. That’s -40# since November 29th, 2016.

Going to be interesting to see how far under 200# I can get before I hit the limit. I do expect it to increase some after a bit as I add more muscle mass. Been focusing more on weight reduction so far. With the current jeans I have, I could easily hide at least a long gun in each leg. About time to get some smaller jeans.

April 3, 2017

Well, today it finally happened… I ‘graduated’ from cardiac rehab…

There was no ‘stress test’ involved (at any point during the rehab program in fact). I did end up getting a ‘certificate’ which seems a bit cheesy to me. No speech was given (by me at least) since I tend to not do that crap. Besides, everyone that was there knew what they needed to do to get to this point.

Slowly creeping down to the 200# mark… Weight loss has slowed some. But, I shouldn’t have any issue hitting my goal. I fully expect to be under 200# before the end of this month. Actually, I expect to be there by mid-month.

Over the weekend (on Saturday) I made a batch of mushroom and beef stew. Used ~20oz of lean beef in the recipe, along with at least a gallon of mushrooms (sliced volume). So easily 4-5x the beef volume in mushrooms. Used some no salt added beef stock (one container) along with some home-brew for the liquid. Came out pretty damned good. Actually didn’t need to add any salt to the batch. Froze most of it, but kept two servings in the fridge. Having one tonight for dinner and I’ll have the other later in the week. I also used maybe two cups worth of cut up fingerling Yukon Gold ‘taters in the batch, plus chunks of carrots. Finding it really easy to make my recipes without adding salt, or adding very little salt.

April 23, 2017

Finally dipped under 200# the past two days… Final goal is now set at 195#. Hopefully, I can get to that point by the end of May. Then it will be all about maintaining the weight. Or it will be until I get to adding more muscle mass. I figure that getting to 195# is a viable goal now. That will put me -50# since November 29th, 2016.

Taking my suit to Men’s Warehouse later today to see if they can tailor it to actually fit. The pants are waaaaay too big now. Those are 44″ waist. Not sure if they’ll be able to take them down to what I am now. New jeans I’m wearing are 38″. I also have some pants/slacks that are 46″ (from about 6-8 years ago) and a pair in 42″. I highly doubt they can take them in enough to fit, and not look stupid. Hope that I can at least get the jacket to fit well. Then get a matching pair of slacks to go with it. Otherwise, I’ll need to get a new suit. Especially since I might be going on interviews soon (one place has shown interest, but I don’t think I’d like the commute).

I also need to take my watch to the jewelers to see if they can take the band in some. It’s a ceramic link band, so not something I want to dick around with. It’s loose enough that it can spin around my arm, just above my wrist at times. I need at least one or two links removed from it. I’m also getting closer to when I’ll get my ring resized. It’s getting close to the point that if I don’t get it resized, I won’t be able to wear it.

May 5, 2017

Didn’t take much to go from 38″ jeans to 36″ jeans… Glad I ordered a pair of each the other week. I got another pair of the 36″ coming today (Amazon).

Been hovering around 199# for the past week. Don’t know if I’ll be able to get closer (or to) the 195# mark. Will see how things look at the end of the month. I’m already at the last belt hole I added. Planning to get a new belt so that I can keep this one as a reminder of where I started. Still, -6″ in jean size is pretty good IMO.

Need to get pricing on getting my one ring resized so it doesn’t spin all over the place. Also have to download/print the instructions for removing links from my watch band so that I can get that done. I don’t have the proper tools to do that, and I’d rather have someone else do it. Would suck major donkey parts to get one of the important pieces flying across the room, never to be found.

I’ve also tuned the bread recipe posted early in this thread. Making it pretty regularly too. I’m using mini-loaf pans, getting three mini-loafs plus a bit ‘free form’ from each batch. I think using gluten in it makes a huge difference. I’ve also been using warm water, plus a few spoon fulls of the water/honey mix to ‘proof’ the yeast in the mixer bowl. Then add the rest of the liquids and the flour, gluten, salt mix (only using 5g of salt). Most days I’m having a few slices of the bread with dinner (for the carbs section of the meal). I also use it when I make pb sammiches. Holds up MUCH better than store bought bread.

I let the dough rise in the bowl for a couple/few hours. Then put it into the pans (as close to level with the top as I can get) and let it rise again until about what you see there. It about doubles in volume in that much time. Which makes for a great texture. Then bake for 24-25 minutes (350F) and it’s done. I do use the old toothpick test to be sure they’re done though. Learned to do that after an earlier batch wasn’t quite done enough, and another was done too much. Set to 23-24 minutes on the timer, then test and add more time as needed.

June 1st

Hit my updated weight loss goal this morning. 194.2#. I wanted to be at/under 195# by my b-day (today), so I’m there. Now I’m switching to ‘maintenance mode’ for exercise. I’ll be happy if I can stay within a pound of 195, 1/2 a pound would be nicer. So, 195# +/-1# or +/-0.5#…

July 17, 2017

Another visit to the regular doctor today. Fairly short one.

Blood pressure is still in the good.
Had another A1C test too. She thought it would be higher than last time since the metformin had been cut in half. Her expectation was about 5.4 (under 5.8 is considered ‘normal’). Nope, still 5.0.

Normal weight is running in the 193-194 range. Today was a bit under that.

Thinking about getting a bicycle to change up what I do for exercise some.

November 13, 2017

Double doctor visit post…

Saw the cardiologist on 10/24. All good there. Got the blood lab results too.
Cholesterol: 96
Triglycerides: 68
HDL: 43
LDL: 49

Saw my primary this afternoon.
A1C at 4.9. Best result so far. Previous (after the hospital stay) had been 5.0.

So, she’s taking me off the diabetes medication completely. In July it was reduced in half. Now it’s gone. I also found out that my cardiologist might be taking me off of one of the other medications at my next visit (in April).

Both visits blood pressure has been in the ‘great’ range.

Need to continue with my diet as I have been. Plus continue with my exercise schedule (aim for 6 days a week).

Both doctors are very pleased with the results. From what they’ve told me, not enough people turn things around. IMO, getting off the diabetes medication at less than a year from getting put onto it is no small feat. It’s not been a cake walk, by any means. But, it was something I was working towards. I was very happy when that was reduced earlier this year. I did not expect to have it stopped this soon. I was hoping to have it eliminated before the two year mark.

November 29, 2017

It’s the 1 year mark (to this date) for when I went into the hospital/ER…

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