Category Archives: Aortic Dissection

Will two weeks make a difference?

“Your life does not get better by chance.  It gets better by change.”  Jim Rohn

I am really angry with trying to find medications for high blood pressure that do not have horrible side effects.  When I had the dissection, I was on one low dose medicine.  Because my aorta could not stand any pressure, I was given two new medications.  One has caused no problem.  The second one caused dry coughing (all the time – day and night).  My doctor changed it to another one that caused my ankles to swell so much I could only wear one pair of shows.  After the surgery, this was changed to another one which seemed to be doing OK until my prescription plan stopped covering it and was changed to another that the doctor said was an equivalent.  This too caused my ankles to swell but the doctor insisted this was not a side effect of this particular medicine and changed it yet again.  I took the new medicine for a month and started on the second month’s bottle.  Suddenly I developed terrible itching and a rash all over.  I didn’t even call the doctor.  I have my six-month appointment with her in two weeks and intend to have a major discussion about this medicine.  I went back to the last one that caused the swelling ankles and the itching has subsided and rash is better.  I am now determined to get off this second medicine altogether.  I know with the dissection I have to take one (to reduce spikes) but if I can keep the blood pressure really low with one, I should be able to cut the second one out. This will be my discussion with the doctor when I see her.  It’s hard to get any time with doctors any more…they whiz in and whiz out…I guess they have a certain number of patients to see in any given day.  My plan:

  • Go back to daily morning exercise
  • Stick with plant based, whole foods diet – concentrate on greens!!
  • Stop the salt – no processed foods
  • Stop the coffee
  • Stop the alcohol (an on-going issue)
  • Loose the weight
  • Lots of water

It’s been two days now.  I see the doctor in 15 days.  Will two weeks make a difference?  I have to be “determined” to stick to the plan and I have to keep remembering the misery of prescription drug side effects.  Are there any that don’t have them?  I doubt it!!

Birthday Gratitude

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”  C.S.Lewis

Yesterday was my birthday.  I am 69 years old.  After the aortic dissection two years ago, I am in “love” with birthdays.  I love the good wishes from everyone, the cards, the calls, the meals, the presents…..I just love it all!!  This is “probably” because I was close to not seeing my 67th birthday….let alone the 69th!  Happy days!  It was also a day to count my many, many blessings.  I am relatively healthy now, I have a wonderful family, great friends, a beautiful home, happy pets, nice job and nothing to complain about!!  I have really had this all along, I just did not appreciate it as I do now.  Nothing like a little “kick in the butt” to realize that life is absolutely perfect just the way we make it!!  We can make it crappy (and I have in the past) and we can make it great…it’s all up to us…every bit of it!!   Material things will make us happy for about a nano-second and then it’s forgotten only to be tossed or set aside at some point.  I am happy every time I empty a closet full of “stuff” or clean out a drawer of accumulated “stuff”.  My simple life!! I love it!!  More to come…….

My morning walk today!!

Morning Walk 1Morning Walk 2

Three Year Short Story

About 3 years ago, I decided to become a Vegan.  My cholesterol was high and I cannot take Statins due to muscle pain. I was also horrified at how animals are treated and slaughtered at factory farms so this was my way of protesting the practices.  At first I was a “junk food” Vegan meaning I substituted real meat and dairy for the fake stuff.  I really did not know how many fake items are there.  My little dog, Pepe, would not eat Tofurky and fake cheese and he will eat “anything”.   After a few months, I decided this was not healthy either and I really didn’t know what was in the food with all the ingredients I could not pronounce.  I settled into my new way of eating quite well and lost over 30 pounds.  I was also exercising a lot.  I was at the gym every day at 5:30 a.m. with the morning group for an hour of cardio and I worked out with a trainer twice a week.  Our gym had introduced something called Cross Fit which consists of TRX, kettlebells, medicine balls, sled with heavy weights to push and ropes.  I was also running (or run/walk) 5K and 10K races.  My cholesterol came down from 305 to 245 within a couple of months and my blood pressure was really low.  I felt good and looked good.

Then came September 6, 2012 and I had an aortic dissection!!

Only 25% of people with an aortic dissection live.  I was in ICU for 11 days and when I was released, my doctor told me to do as little movement as possible.  I came to a stop!!  I was scared I was going to die and I was incredibly depressed so what the hell!!  So, I went from Vegan to KFC and fast food every day.  No movement right – I took him literally and didn’t even move to the kitchen to cook.  I just didn’t care.  Over the next three months, I gained back the 30 pounds plus some.  I was also drinking wine every night and a lot of it.  Of course, this just made me more depressed.  Life was not good!!

Two years later and after having surgery to correct the dissection, my CT scans continue to show I am OK.  I am finally beginning to believe I will live a while longer and can have a healthy, happy, long life if I just take care of myself.  I am alcohol dependent – or wine dependent.  I cannot drink in moderation.  I’ve tried it and one glass leads to five.  So this is it!  I am now 8 days without wine but I feel really good about it.  It reminds me of when I stopped smoking.  My liver will fail before the dissection if I keep up with the daily bottle of wine.  And so the wine drinking ends here.

I go back to work tomorrow.  Today I cooked so I don’t have to cook much the rest of the week (hard cooking for one).  The food was simple, nothing processed and really good.  Here’s a sample:

Tuscan Kale with Walnut Sauce, Baked Sweet Potato, Barbecue TofuTuscan Kale with Walnut Sauce, Baked Sweet Potatoes and Barbecue Tofu

And lunch is packed for tomorrow:

Tuscan Kale, Brown Rice, Lima Beans with CornTuscan Kale, Brown Rice, Lima Beans with Roasted Corn