Life three years after angioplasty

I try to enjoy every moment now and not constantly look ahead in my life, which I always had done. It is a dramatic change in temperment that I’m still learning to handle.

Three years ago today, I was having heart surgery and didn’t know if I’d survive the day.

And now, as I write this, I’m on a plane flying away for a long weekend get-away with my wife. The juxtaposition of those events is difficult for me to fathom many days.

Me, following angioplasty in 2012. I've since lost 23 pounds.
Me, following angioplasty in 2012.

Three years, honestly, is longer than I thought I would survive after my angioplasty. An artery that had been 80% blocked was opened but another was found to be more than 30% blocked and now I rely on medication and my vastly changed diet to keep that from closing and killing me in the process.

 

Seeing how little blood was reaching my heart during that surgery has left me feeling very, very fragile since, even though I resumed my normal worklife, etc. shortly after the successful implanting of a stent to hold my troubled artery open.

I contineud working initially but decided last year that I’d had enough of the rat race. So this April I retired shortly before turning 62 in June. I’m instead now pursuing what has become my new passion, writing plays and acting.

It makes me feel like such a cliche, old guy who survives surgery and starts doing wacky things. But I need something to let me know I’m still alive.

Eating used to do that for me, writing this blog has brought out to me how much of my manhood self-image was tied to the foods I ate and cooked.

I was always the guy who could eat anything and large amounts of it. I took part in two corn eating contests, for example, my version of being macho as I was aging.

I’ve written about how my diet has changed in massive ways, that’s what this blog is all about, really, to help others who have to face life-changing diet decisions.

On that score, year three has been the toughest for me to stick with my low-sat, low-fat, low-sugar diet. Sugar, in such things as low-fat cookies or fat-free frozen yogurt, has crept back into my diet and actually caused me to gain about five pounds this year, a confounding state of affairs given I remain constantly hungry.

So next year I need to redouble my diet efforts. I’m also starting to stretch my morning exercise period beyond 30 minuts a day, hoping to build more muscle, something that hasn’t happened despite regular exercise the past two year.

My body remains about 25% fat, 29% muscle and the rest water (according to my scale which calculates such things). I use an exercise bike and a rower and have started doing weights work. I’m going to add some basic calisthenics as well.

I try to enjoy every moment now and not constantly look ahead in my life, which I always had done. It is a dramatic change in temperment that I’m still learning to handle.
John

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