Six years ago I lay in an emergency room losing consciousness surrounded by nurses and doctors with alarms going crazy. I had experienced a mild heart attack and severely reacted to a nitroglycerin injection. This is how my 17 day hospital stay began in October 2005 that included a triple cardiac bypass and ten days in cardiac intensive care; most of them unconscious. To say that my health was at a low point would have been a mild statement.
I had abused my body. I weighed in at almost 280 pounds and ate a high fat, high calorie diet. I was a couch potato that got zero physical exercise. Add to that, my family history is riddled with cardiac heart disease. All males in my father’s side of the family died at an early age of heart attacks. I was a foolish man who rolled the dice and didn’t come up a winner.
Soon after my recovery and completing cardiac rehab, I began blogging about my life. These blog entries give me an interesting look back in time. The first two years of this blog spells out my battle with my weight and health. I made noble attempts with Weight Watchers but always ended up falling off the wagon and regaining the weight back. As I began my weight loss surgery journey in early 2008, I had returned to that unhealthy 280 pound pre-heart attack weight.
Some of the most telling blog entries are my annual cardiac report cards that I scored on the anniversaries of my heart attack. The items scored were a heart friendly diet, regular aerobic exercise, lower stress level, taking time for myself, and prevention of a future attack. Progress was at a crawl and at times worse until the anniversary after my Lapband surgery. I turned those scores around and pretty much gave me straight A’s when I stopped tracking them in 2010.
In 2010 I acknowledged that I needed to replace the scorecard. I knew that what I had to do was bring focus to my life and wellness. I created my wellness vision. This forced me to take an inventory of what was important to me. I had to set goals and challenge myself to grow as I meet these goals.
Where have I gone with my wellness vision and how am I doing almost 10 months into living the vision? I can honestly say that the exercise has brought focus to my life. I often speak about how important happiness has become in my life. I find that when I work on eating better, being active, being aware of my overall wellness and striving to be a healthy person that happiness just happens.
As I prepare to update my wellness vision for 2012, I have been revisiting the goals I set. I’ve done pretty well on meeting most of them. A few have fallen by the wayside. I have blown others away and exceeded beyond my goal. The one thing I can say is that my life progressed farther this year than I had imagined it would. The wellness vision did put it all into perspective and helped me attain more than I would have without it.
So, this sixth anniversary of my heart attack and triple cardiac bypass is far different than the past five anniversaries. I find myself in a place where I not only care for my heart health but care for my overall health. I know that this is only a small part of my overall vision for making my life whole and living healthy in the years to come. Is my cardiac disease gone? With my family history, it is never gone. I just now do a much better job of keeping it at bay. Looking up through hazy eyes as people worked so hard to keep me conscious seems so far away. I just want to be sure I don’t have that repeat performance anytime soon.