Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

A New Leaf

A while back, I wrote a story called “CABbaGe – Not Just A Green Leafy Vegetable”.  It was a play on words mixing the vegetable cabbage with the heart bypass, called Coronary Artery Bypass Graft.  This was the second life changing event (the first was my cancer), that should have resulted in the major lifestyle changes, diet and exercise.  While initially, the shock did have me eating foods I would never have been caught eating, the novelty wore off.

For the last five months, I have made major eliminations to my diet, no more soda, no more fried and fatty foods, and no red meat.  This is an effort to cut down on flare-ups from complications of my Hodgkin’s treatments decades ago.  But it has not been a good enough.  I still have not been getting the right amount of calories, protein, carbs, etc.  Several weeks ago, among everything else I have been dealing with my health, I finally heard the words, “you are pre-diabetic”.  Then again, why should now be any different?  It has to be.

So, another egg is put into the basket of care that I receive up at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, dietary.  I am assigned to a dietician who has knowledge of my health history, the knowledge of therapies that were used to treat me, and the late developing side effects that I have been dealing with.  That was the good news.

Now for the bad news.  Her assessment of me, my habits, and my history, of six major health concerns with diet and weight, I am at increased risk of five of them.  Wait, I already deal with them:  esophageal issues, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.  All of these affect a persons health and increase risks by themselves.

Now for the better news.  Though this is now the third time I am attempting this.  But this is the first time that I feel I truly have a dietician in my corner.  In fact, she has assured me the aggressive approach that she plans to use with me to get my weight down.  She knows the risks I face if I do not follow through.  She cares.

For now, the first phase is about getting me to do something I have not done in a long time, eat regularly.  It is not about eating certain foods, but getting the right amount of calories into me, and getting the right amount of exercise.  The line has been drawn.  I will be following up with her in six weeks.  Though I cannot control what my treatments have created, I can prevent anything else from developing.

Then it will be on to the next phase, getting me to eat things I have forever turned my nose up at.

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