Friday, May 20, 2016

Wake-up Call

I just got the results of the lab work that was done the other day.  My cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL are off the charts and, based on the latest recommendations for determining diabetes, I am considered pre-diabetic.  When Marshall had diabetes they wanted him to keep his A1C below something like 6.5 but over the years they have changed that to 5.7 and mine is exactly at 5.7.

As I've written in this blog in the past, during the past 5 years I have let my health go to hell and now I'm trying to play catch-up dealing with all the heart stuff that's been going on and now this.  The doctor spoke to me in an alarming way about the necessity for me to take a statin but I don't want to take statins.  So I convinced her to give me 3 months to try to turn this around.  She agreed that it is definitely possible to turn it around but that most people won't do what it takes (diet, exercise, no sugar, low on carbs, etc.).  She also said I needed to bring my stress level down, which I've been working on with yoga.

My diet for the past 6 months has been heavy on cookies, scones and ice cream.  I just went through my kitchen and threw all of that stuff in the trash (boy, that was not easy ... those chocolate chip cookies are soooo good).  And my diet is changed effective immediately.

With regard to exercise, the cardiologist told me that I should not do any exercising for at least six weeks.  I see him again on May 31 and hope he will lift that restriction.  However, I guess keeping the pacemaker in place takes top priority right now, so if I need to work on diet now and exercise later, so be it.  And I think a daily leisurely stroll around my nearby "pond" should be acceptable.

So -- again -- my message to all you caregivers out there, especially the ones who, like me, are sole caregivers with very little additional help, is that if you want any kind of healthy life in your future, you MUST take care of yourself.  People tell you that all the time but it is just short of impossible to walk away from a loved one in bed and in pain in order to go out and do something for yourself.  I wasn't able to do it more than a few times but I sure wish I had.

On one occasion Marshall insisted that I needed to get away for a few days, so I booked travel to Chicago to see old friends and scheduled a few get-togethers.  I had a CNA come up to stay at the house with Marshall.  I got to Chicago, checked into my hotel, and attended a party that evening with friends.  I walked all over downtown Chicago and felt so free and relaxed.  But when I got back to the hotel after midnight I had several emergency calls from Marshall demanding that I come home immediately, he was having pain that he couldn't identify.  He was absolutely frantic and he was having the CNA call 911.  So I booked my flight back to Colorado and when I landed I went straight to the hospital where the doctors in the emergency room were unable to find any reason for his pain.  I was so angry at him for not being able to give me those four days, but at the same time, my heart was breaking for him.  It's just a lose-lose no matter how you look at it.  So the lesson to be learned here is that you probably shouldn't shoot for four days away, but try to get an hour or two here and there, maybe a massage, lunch with friends, go to a coffee shop for an hour and read a book, etc.

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