Today is the fourteenth anniversary of my triple coronary bypass surgery. I had a minor heart attack a few days earlier. I suffered several setbacks in the days following surgery. I was placed in a drug-induced coma. I had two additional surgeries. I spent ten days in cardiac intensive care. I left the hospital feeling pretty broken after a seventeen-day stay.
That time in my life was difficult. I left the hospital knowing I had to make major life changes. I weighed in at an unhealthy 290 pounds. I was a couch potato and very sedentary. I ate poorly. I ignored my family history of heart disease. I knew I had to change and that change is difficult. I began my journey to a better life.
I began tracking my progress through a heart health report card using what I learned in cardiac rehab as measures. I scored myself on where I stood on following a heart-friendly diet, doing regular aerobic exercise, lowering my stress level, taking time for myself, and changing my life to prevent a future heart attack. I summed the scores and gave myself and overall health grade. I used this report card for maybe five years.
I improved my overall score from an “F” in 2005 to a “C” over the next few years. It was progress but not enough progress. I did improve my diet. However, I was unable to manage my weight. I remained sedentary. It was time for another change if I wanted to live. I underwent bariatric surgery in 2008 with hopes of putting my life on a healthy course.
To say that bariatric surgery was a game-changer for me is an understatement. I took a long hard look at myself and committed fully to the program and making positive changes in my life. I knew that bariatric surgery alone could not make the change I needed. I had to become more active, be more vigilant about my diet, and reduce stress.
Positive changes in life come down to discarding bad habits and working on good habits.
I have made significant changes in my life. I became an active person. I developed a love of cycling, something that truly transformed my life. Positive changes in life come down to discarding bad habits and working on good habits. I discarded many bad habits and developed many good habits. I find myself battling bad habits eleven years after bariatric surgery.
Where am I now? I cannot fathom being a sedentary person. I am constantly on the go. I love the outdoors. I have relieved the stress in my life, at least managing it much better. I use my leisure time to do what I want. I enjoy being actively involved in my community. I still find myself going to battle with my diet. My weight is 90 pounds less than it was in 2008, definitely not where I want it to be.
Today I scored myself on my heart health report card. I gave myself a “B”. That is definitely an improvement from my “F” in 2005. I am closer to an “A” than I have ever been.
Life is good!