Friday, November 23, 2007

The state of my health

For those who might not know, two and a half years ago I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. That's not good, but it's maybe not as bad as it sounds. I was in and out of a hospital for a few weeks, and I had to take several months off work at the time. I had to change my eating habits and general lifestyle, and I eventually even had to change my work situation to lessen the stress in my life.

I lost a good bit of weight at the time, but since then I had put some of it back on. My eating habits slacked again, though still not as bad as it used to be.

Still, of late, I've had a lot of stress in my life due to not having full-time employment, starting my own business and moving at least twice in the last eight or so months. All that, combined with lack of sleep, and some bad eating habits (though again, not nearly as bad as it used to be), has made me go back down hill some.

I'm not in the hospital again. But I do have some minor symptoms of recurring problems with my congestive heart failure. I suffer no pain, but I do get short of breath.

Basically, my form of congestive heart failure means lots of fluid builds up around my heart, which puts pressure on my lungs and causes me the shortness of breath. At my worst, something as simple as standing up causes me to have to pause and breath heavily for half a minute or so. When I'm at my best, I'm pretty much normal.

I'm at a point, and have been for the last six or so months, where I no longer have to be on medication. My doctor had been impressed enough with my improved heart condition that I could drop my meds.

But I still have to watch what I eat. Most importantly, I have to limit my daily sodium intake and I have to watch how much liquid I drink every day.

All this is kind of funny in a couple of ways. First, I'm not a salt person; I don't even like salt on my french fries. So I would have never thought I'd have problems with sodium. But I do. Tons and tons of frozen and canned and restaurant foods are filled with sodium. You might be surprised, if you don't check how much sodium is in a lot of foods. For instance, one can of soup usually contains enough sodium for my entire daily intake. The second funny part of this is the fluid business. I've heard all my life you're supposed to have at least eight glasses of water a day. Not me. I'm not supposed to go over six, four if I'm having a bad day.

I bring all this up for two reasons. One, it's the holiday season, and yes, like everybody else in America I indulged myself over the last day or two. But I did watch myself carefully in the days before and I know I'll have to watch myself in the days to come. My breathing is already a bit harsher from all the sodium in the traditional Thanksgiving Day meal.

The second reason I bring all this up is good news. Since the first of the year, I have lost 70 pounds. Yep, that's right. 70. I won't say how much I originally weighed, because it would be too embarrasing, but let's just say I'm a big guy and have always been pretty big.

Hard to imagine fifteen years ago I lifted weights three times a week and ran four miles a day.

But no longer.

Anyway, my health isn't the greatest, but it's not awful. I could be doing better, but I feel like I've made a lot of progress. I just need to keep moving forward. I have my good days and I have my bad days, and it's always dependent on what I ate or drank the day before.

I'm getting better, slowly, a day at a time. I'll keep loosing weight, and hopefully someday, maybe in another year, I won't have ANY days where I'm short of breath.

But today, of course before I ate for Thanksgiving, I weighed myself and I had lost that 70 pounds. I'm pretty proud of myself for that.


cyn said...

good for you, ty. you are too young to have these issues! i know it's so easy to eat fast food and snack during stress (believe you me, i know), but please be proactive about taking care of yourself. you are what you eat!

i really make it a point to try and eat healthy. since my fiji trip, i changed my "diet" to incorporate more wheat, salads, fresh fruit (i had given up on fruit altogether, it seems!) as well as keeping up with exercise.

i love working out. the endorphins are a huge boost for me and it makes me feel good about myself, helps me to destress, and helps with my insomnia!

set small goals like walking around the neighborhood 2x a week to start, and you'll get yourself even more fit. i'd hate to have anything happen to my writing bud, yanno!

can you tell from this huge post i'm big on fitness and diet? well, not really, but i think as we get older, we need to be more aware. i reread my comment and it seems all lecturery. sorry.

thank you for sharing. =)

cyn said...

the water thing is also under debate. some nutritionists (i've read) have said you get a lot of your water from food / fruit intake. have fruit around if you can, it's great for snacks and good for you! of course, things like coffee, juice or beer are all considered fluid intake. water is simply healthier for you. i'm not so great with water either, tho i do drink when working out, cause i sweat like a pig. =)

Steve Goble said...

Ty: Hang in there, bud. I know you are a stubborn cuss, and will do what you need to do because you've set your mind to it.

-- Steve

Ty said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, all.
Cyn, I don't think I'll be doing much exercising soon, other than maybe a little walking. I get winded too quickly. But I'm better than I was a couple of years ago, and hopefully will keep getting better.

cyn said...

ty, i think losing 70# is amazing! so i know you have the initiative. it's all about baby steps. walking is a great start!! kind of like writing, just set 15 mintues aside a few days a week and think of it as a goal. if you can write a trilogy (that takes discipline!) i know you can walk a bit to better health!

Howard von Darkmoor said...

Damn right, losing 70#s is something to be proud of! And cyn, Ty's my writing buddy and he ain't going no where - I's got too much learning ta do. Course, I could drive him into an early retirement . . . nah, that'd never happen!

Ty said...

Early retirment wouldn't bother me. An early grave, on the other hand ... nah, I've got a woman alredy doing that.