Tag Archives: Congestive heart failure

I’m Baaaaack…And Grateful To Be Alive!

“I’m as serious as a heart attack.”-Samuel L. Jackson

“Stress is a major component of cardiac events. It may not cause disease but can trigger a heart attack.”-Anonymous

Hey Folks,

I know that it has been a long time since I posted anything on this site. I am now officially retired from teaching as of 2:46 pm on 3/16/20.

So what am I doing with myself? Let me give you a little background.

First, I’ve had Congestive Heart Failure for just about six years. On December 26, 2019, I had a heart attack and spent nine days in the hospital. The doctors first thoughts were open heart surgery, but after several tests, it was determined that due to the weakening of my heart, I would not survive the surgery. So plan B went into effect. They ended up placing two stents in the arteries that run to the heart.

So, since January 3rd I have been just trying to get my heart stronger. I go to the gym six days a week and try to keep my stress level at a minimum. I have to admit that this has caused a dramatic shift in my lifestyle, especially what I eat. I have always exercised, but I’ve never really paid that much attention to the foods that I ate, Now, I eat tons of chicken, oatmeal, and everything is low fat, low sodium, and no sugar. I haven’t felt this good in a long time,  My cardiologist says with the exercise and vastly improved diet, I should be feeling better.

Now that I am retired, I have all of the time in the world to get to the point where I can back into the woods, hopefully, sooner rather than later. I’m not going to lie-I miss being out there. It has been months since I have felt the soft dirt under my feet, the warm sun on my face and the solitude of just being outdoors. At this point, however, I have to take it slow and listen to what my doctors say.

So what are they saying? I have to go back on 4/6 for an echocardiogram. At that point, I’m assuming they will make a decision as to whether or not I will need a defibrillator placed into my chest. Here’s hoping that they don’t!!!!

So my goals for the immediate future work hand in hand. I need to keep walking on the treadmill to get my heart stronger so I can get back out into the woods. At the same time, the goal is to also have my heart working at a rate where the defibrillator won’t be necessary.

 

Put One Foot In Front Of The Other

“Act as the master of your life by putting your health, well being and happiness first.”

-Mariana Olszewski

“If you learn to create the right kind of climate in your body, mind, and emotion, your health and wellbeing and joy-everything will be taken care of.”

-Sadhguru

Being a teacher, I am blessed every year with having summers off. Although won’t see any kids until after Labor Day, I do have to go in tomorrow and Thursday for meetings. Every year in June I make a pledge to myself that I am going to get out and hike as much as possible. To get out and really put in the miles, see the views and do hikes I have never done before. Unfortunately, this usually ends up not being the case. Many times life takes over and prevents me from getting the hikes in that I have always wanted to do. And believe it or not, my own laziness has stopped me as well! Now I’m not saying that I haven’t hiked during past summers, it just has never been at the volume I would have liked.

As the school year drew to a close this year I made the same pledge. This will be the year that I get out as much as I can to do as much hiking as I could fit into the summer! I’m not going to lie, this school year was a really stressful one and the summer has been even more so. I really needed to commit to this!!! 

One of the other things that not many people know is that in November of 2014 I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. Although I have always hiked and rode a stationary bike, this was not only a surprise, but a life changing diagnosis.

When I left the office that day, I thought that not only my hiking days were over, but my life as I knew it. I was really disheartened (no pun intended) at first when I was doing the stress test and did not even last 30 seconds on the treadmill. I knew that if I had continued I would have dropped. When I met with my cardiologist a couple of days later, we talked about the diagnosis and what it meant for me. I asked him when I could resume exercising and much to my surprise he said that I could do so immediately.

So here I am almost three years later. I have gone from not lasting 30 seconds on a treadmill to doing an 11 mile hike last week and completing 27 hikes to this point this summer.

Please don’t think that I am fishing for compliments or sympathy. I am simply pointing out that even in the darkest moments (thinking I was quite literally given a death sentence) that you can come back from that and resume an active lifestyle.

The most important thing to take from this is: All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other. At first it hurts and it sucks. We all have days where you don’t want to do anything, walk, ride, get out of bed. But you have to do it! I know for me the alternative was….well you can figure it out…