I knew in the back of my mind when we started this medical makeover a few months back that there was a good chance that a lot of bad things (as a result of poor lifestyle choices from my past) might unmask themselves along the way. Well, wouldn’t you know it… just when I figured I could put things on cruise control and coast through the rest of this year, a sucker punch from out of the blue knocks me to my knees. Before I go into the procedure itself that I had this past week I wanted to give a little back story.
I’ve been working w/ Dr. Amy at Hippocrates Health the past few months to do a complete medical makeover. This makeover has not only included changes to my diet but also added things like exercise to my daily routine. I even bought a bike the other day and have been working diligently on my conditioning. Even set some goals for riding in some longer rides after the first of the year. Bottom line, my conditioning hasn’t been better in years and I’m on my way toward reversing type II diabetes. It hasn’t been easy but Dr. Amy has been driving me pretty good and I’ve managed to stay motivated.
Okay, now let me lay out how everything went down the week prior. I was out riding my bike one day and came in feeling a little different than I had most days. I was more winded and it was pretty easy to tell that my heart was working harder than it did usually. I took my blood pressure and it was sky high, like over 200 on top and 120 on bottom. Pretty scary stuff. I talked it over w/ Donna and we agreed that I should just go sit in my office for a few hours and relax to see if that would bring the pressure down. We had our small group coming over for church in a few hours and I figured this would do the trick and I’d be normal by the time everyone go to the house. Well, long story short, things progressively got worse that afternoon and by the time everyone started arriving I was on the phone w/ Dr. Amy who was instructing me to get to the emergency room to get an EKG.
When we got to the ER at Conway Regional they did an EKG on me and it showed nothing abnormal. I continued to have high pressure readings and even cold sweats that would literally drench my shirt (something that I had attributed to testosterone injections –but it wasn’t). The doctor on duty at the ER asked me if I had a heart surgeon that I preferred and I told him that I liked Dr. James Thomas so he gave him a call. Dr. Thomas wanted to see me the very next morning at 8am. It was there that we scheduled the procedure. I had done a stress test w/ Dr. Thomas a few months back but he admitted that the stress tests don’t always show the whole picture and that the best thing at this stage of the game would be to do the angioplasty (heart catheter) procedure. He explained that it was a simple procedure and that they would just go in through a place on my arm and have a look around… well, that’s what we thought.
I checked myself into the Arkansas Heart Hospital this past Monday and like he had prepared me, they injected the catheter into my arm and injected the die into my system and instead of getting an all-clear “let’s go home” from Dr. Thomas, he walked around to where I was laying on the table and informed me that I had some issues that we were going to have to tend to. I had blockage in two areas that were of concern, not small blockage they could address w/ medication, but blockage over 80% that required a stent and a balloon. Needless to say they weren’t going to use the catheter in my arm to do this, they needed to go through my groin area and tap into my femoral artery, so laying there conscious as all of this was going on, they tapped my femoral artery and went to work. The entire procedure took almost 2 hours but was a complete success.
What I was not prepared for was how sore I would be for the next few days following the procedure. I literally had a hard time walking the next day and found it impossible to get comfortable in bed to get any rest whatsoever. The next day was a little better as was the next, but from the waist down I look like someone took a baseball bat to me, it’s black and blue. The downtime requirements following this procedure are pretty restrictive also. I can’t lift anything over the weight of a gallon of milk and can’t bend over under any circumstances. Talk about annoying.
I explained to Dr. Thomas that I am really anxious to get back on my bike and start riding again and he informed me that maybe by this weekend I’d be okay to do that but for sure I’d be cleared for deep sea fishing the following week in Florida. One other inconvenience through this entire process is that I’ve been forced to get off of my Metformin, which we use to treat my diabetes, but thanks to my diet (low-carb and low-fat) my blood sugar hasn’t gone over 180 the past few days off my medication, so hat tip to Dr. Amy at Hippocrates Health!!