Thursday, July 13, 2017

One Year Ago

It's sometimes hard to believe that one year ago today, I had open heart surgery. I had a quadruple bypass. My chest was cut open and surgeons and nurses worked on my heart. My surgeon held my heart in his hands. It's still surreal and a bit mind boggling. 

Just a quick recap: my sister had a heart attack in June of 2015, with no damage but she needed a stent in an artery. During my yearly physical in February of 2016, my doctor believes that I should have a calcium scoring test which can determine if their are any blockage issues with arteries. After putting that off, I finally have the test done in June of 2016. Bad news, very high numbers indicating that I have some blockage issues. I get to a cardiologist on July 3rd and he recommends that I have a cardiac cath to determine the extent of blockage. So on July 11th, I have the cardiac cath. Good news: cardiac muscle is fine. Bad news: significant blockages, surgery needed. Soon, like in two days. Sure enough, on July 13th, I'm in surgery getting my chest cut open and arteries rerouted and reworked to improve blood flow and avoid one of those pesky heart attacks.
So now what? It's been a year. How has my life changed? For quite a few months after the surgery, of course, I was just simply in recovery, just healing and recovering. But now, one year later, I'm doing pretty dang well. A large part of the scar on my chest has faded as it has healed. The lower portion is still thick but it seems to be slowly fading. 

It's hard to say how well I've recovered physically. I think I'm doing quite well, but I do seem to wear out a little quicker after a lot of exertion, like mowing the lawn. But how much of that is a result of surgery or my own natural laziness to get any significant exercise? 

My biggest issue, to me, is that I didn't have any significant event prior to my surgery. Basically, I had preventative cardiac bypass with some pretty spectacular results. I had an ultrasound scan of my heart a few weeks ago and everything is pumping quite nicely. My heart seems to be doing its job very well. Eventually, in 10-15 years, I may need some additional work on my heart, maybe a stent or two put into the new arteries around my heart. 

Since I didn't have any prior events and everything seems to be fine, I find myself being a little lax on addressing the issues that got me into this situation in the first place. Am I eating better? More heart healthy foods? Yeah, well, not so much. Sometimes, but not as a rule or a new habit. I've grown accustomed to having a beer or two or three a little more often. I could really step up the exercise a bit more than I have. Honestly, I just need to stop putting my health on the back burner. I need to just stop being a lazy ass and take better care of myself.

I am and always will be a cardiac patient. I will always have the possibility of a cardiac event in my future. One day, I may need to go back under the surgeon's knife for new repairs. 

As I've said before... take care of your sh!t.