It’s hard to believe it was a year ago when Bill received devastating news: He was at risk for a massive heart attack and/or had heart disease. WOW, what a shock since he was asymptomatic. I guess that’s why it’s called the silent killer. We’ve written a number of posts about the diagnosis and how he’s learned to live and THRIVE with it. The “Table of Contents” is found here if you missed the posts. I wrote about it in my personal blog as we tried to keep this one for our travel adventures….but then, this was an adventure, just a different type!
I decided to “interview” Bill for this post – after he said he didn’t want to write it!
What’s the first thing you thought of as you approached your one year anniversary? “I’m alive!”
Hallelujah! That was our goal and he’s hit a home run!
But maybe he didn’t understand exactly where I was coming from. I asked him, “Remember when we started this journey and I asked if you could do this (eat a heart healthy diet, exercise more vigorously, and manage his stress) for the rest of your life? You replied, “Ask me in six months.” I did ask him at six months and he said there was no turning back. But now at a year, I wanted to know more.
It was an ordeal to drastically change how we lived, ate, worked out, managed stress – while not thinking you could drop dead any minute! But he did it and is THRIVING!
He has done exceptionally well (as you may have figured out by now) and is committed to this new lifestyle – it’s not a diet, it’s a way of life he now says. He has not been tempted to “cheat” once. He’s stopped eating candy (started as a youngster and kept it up until that dreaded day), cake, pie, ice cream and junk food in a bag (like potato chips – but at least they were “baked” in the last few years). He’s eliminated soy products (did you know how bad it is as processed today nd it’s now an ingredient in nearly every processed food), cut back on salt and had to tweak a few other things.
Thankfully, he started with a great appetite for what we now know as the DASH Diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) or lifestyle. We both have always eaten a lot of fruit and vegetables, we like lean meat and we are not “salters” meaning we didn’t add salt to our food – except he did like to salt his cantaloupe and watermelon – and now that is stopped. We’ve always said we are not foodies – so that too has helped with his new lifestyle. You won’t read about the restaurants in the new places we visit. We never were bit into eating out. What has helped is that Bill just prefers his own cooking. He has been our chef since I was first pregnant. I just couldn’t go in the kitchen! He took a crash course in cooking – via Natalie Dupree
So for our basics, we had it down. BUT with his Metabolic Syndrome diagnosis (he learned this when he also learned about his heart disease) he found out he is also insulin intolerant. Which meant for him, he had to give up his beloved white potatoes (he’s 1/2 Irish so that was asking a lot), french fries and bread (as in hamburger buns). Thankfully, we met another full-time RVer who also had to eat this way. She said she uses parsnips as her potato and spouted bread. He tried them both and felt satisfied. And then he began to appreciate sweet potatoes and now he makes a great sweet potato “fry” which are hand cut, then baked in our convection oven and seasoned (without sodium). Yummy! It turned out to not be so hard learning how to eat a heart healthy diet, all the time!
Here are the rest of his
ramblings reflections on this year, which he rattled off after saying he’s still alive (his comments in italics and I supplemented some not italicized:
- I’m always looking for more natural things to enhance heart health (He recently learned that fresh squeeze orange juice is also heart healing, so now he has a glass every day.)
- If I’m reversing my heart disease, is there enough time? We sure are praying he will have many more decades of good health. But if not, he said he is happy with this new lifestyle anyway.
- How much can I do to reverse it? I can’t imagine him doing more. He will take another test in April to see if he is!
- Food IS medicine.
- I realize people have to make money but we’ve overspent without positive results. This is regarding supplements to help reverse heart disease. He discovered Dr. Steven Gundry, a world renowned heart surgeon who finally discovered he’d rather help patients avoid heart surgery by educating them on a healthier diet and using HIS supplements!
- How we eat and exercise has to working but I’m not sure about all the supplements. Is he repeating himself? His first blood work, those test results written about here, was excellent. BUT he was on a low dose statin. After all of his research into heart health, he discovered statin’s just aren’t good for you! How many people are now on statins but yet, heart disease and heart attacks is still on the rise in America? So he is sticking with Dr. Gundry and several other medical doctors who claim you can reverse heart disease.
- I’ve eaten very little fat and sugar – the “Lose It” app says how much fat, etc. I’m eating – but where’s it coming from? It seems to just occur naturally when you eat a whole foods diet plan. Salt occurs naturally in vegetables. Again, he has about eliminated processed salt, but his daily diet shows he still is consuming the recommended daily amount.
- If high cholesterol kills, I should be dead and so would my 96 year old mom. His argument with his doctors since 2003 has been that his elderly mom also has high cholesterol – and she’ll be 97 in March! That WAS his excuse to go off statins after 10 years – and to not be too conscientious about his diet.
- Changing how I eat was not so hard once learned what I needed!
- Wow, we’ve walked/hiked over 2,000 miles this year.
- I’m into a great routine every morning, waking my body up with stretching before I do anything else
- I feel really good at my age but what should a 65 year feel like?
- I’m not stressing like used to. Except when the generator won’t start after we spent $1,500 in May to “fix” it, one of our air conditioners goes out – after we left the Tiffin Service Center where we would have saved $500 if bought it and had it installed there, we had two more blow outs on the highway, and we had a run in with General Motors over a defect in our Cadillac’s lights, etc.
- I watch very few newscasts (If we must, we will watch OAN, One America News)
- When you get devastating news, no one comes to tell you it’ll be all right or this is what helps. There is no white night, no batman! But thankfully at the Radiologists office, the manager did follow-up and referred him to Dr. Jeffrey Askew – he has been that lifesaver he needed.
- I felt like I was hanging on a cliff, a rope thrown down but couldn’t reach it. They say “that’s the best we can do and walked away.” This was referenced to his cardiologist that ordered the test – to appease Bill and to “prove” he needed to go back on statins.
- Thankfully, I had a spouse who cares but ultimately it was up to me! I had to learn what I needed and then did it.
And ultimately, what has helped is a desire to see our precious grandsons grow up!
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
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