You Gotta Have (a normal) Heart

… to finally stop taking a medication that ruins your stamina, slows your metabolism, makes you prone to depression, and lowers your sex drive. After 7 years of paying outrageous prices for a brand name beta-blocker because the generic was never effective, my heart function has returned to normal but not because of the medication.

Last year when I saw the cardiologist, and weighed 300 pounds, my echocardiogram still showed some abnormalities related to the functioning of my left ventricle. (In 2003, I was diagnosed with diastolic dysfunction that was causing intermittent heart failure.)

This week I visited the cardiologist to discuss getting off of the beta-blocker. She hemmed and hawed (do non-Texans ever write those words?) and agreed that with weight loss I was probably “OK” to try getting off the med. But first, another echocardiogram. The echo itself is just like a pregnancy ultrasound, only on your chest and not nearly as fun or easy to view. My visit with the sonographer was delightful because she, too, takes beta-blockers and hates the side effects, but we really bonded when she shared her boob job story. No, not that kind of boob job. After she lost 50 pounds, her breasts remained huge, hung to her waist, and caused neck pain from trying to keep them cinched up with a bra (sounds painfully familiar). We discussed the breast reduction and tacking procedure, recovery, costs, surgeon; it was a fun time. More fun was her discussing the changes in my echo. Totally normal.  Funner Better yet was the surprise in the cardiologist’s voice when she called to say that my echo was “amazingly normal”.  Funnest Most rewarding was the positive reinforcement for all of the hard work paying off in yet another tangible way. Plus, all the great feedback that I received from the doc and her staff about my weight loss.

I am weaning off of the beta-blocker because it is not a med that can be stopped abruptly. After a few days my resting heart rate is out of the 50’s and into the 70’s, but I do have the heebie-jeebies – a sense of heightened body arousal (and not the good kind) as my nerves (literally) readjust to less medication.

Now that this nasty drug is going away, my foot problem has been evaluated by a podiatrist, and I have new work-out shoes, there are no other legitimate reasons to hold back on exercising. Well, my back does ache a little… JUST KIDDING!

One Year Of Gratitude

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my journey to a thinner and better me. A laparoscopic cholecystectomy (complicated by a bile leak) kick started a life style change:  nothing like being ill for several weeks, looking at the 3 Milk Dud-sized gallstones – probably brought on by repeated large weight losses and regains, and finally really seeing my body to put me into action mode.

Twelve months later and 85-pounds less fat, I wish my goal was in closer reach. But… the past year has been full of many blessings (there’s a word that doesn’t appear often in my writing).

  • I am grateful for the understanding, encouragement, hand-holding, morale boosting, food hiding management, and unconditional love from my family, especially Susan.
  • I am lucky to have stumbled into supportive online weight loss and life-style change communities.
  • I am indebted to my blogging friends and colleagues who provide daily support, knowledge, skills, and inspiration via their writing on blogs, commenting here, and responding to my comments.
  • I am forever thankful for the final 10-months of my mother’s life — even though I didn’t realize those would be her last ones with us.

I am a happy woman.

red dragonfly

I Hate to Travel; I Love to Vacation

This weekend we are headed to New Hampshire for a few days with my in-laws. The sudden death of my mother made my sweetie more eager to visit her aging relatives – me, too. Once upon a time these treks to Yankee-land New England for this Texan (we have a mixed marriage 😉 ) were full of angst because, well, my mother-in-law and I, <cough> she is, um, let me just state that we haven’t always found it easy to be around one another. Don’t get me wrong, I love her (I hate her), and we have been working on our relationship for 20 years. All that hemming and hawing to say that family means more to me than ever. I am truly look forward to being with my extended family – every one of them. Even if they do talk funny and have disturbing state motto.

Welcome to New Hampshire road sign the sign says, "Welcome Bienvenue New Hampshire" with the state motto, "Live Free or Die".

The bad part of the trip is getting ready. I have always dreaded packing, fretting over what to take, how much to take, usually putting it off until the last moment, then packing too much. Then there is the actual traveling. For me the journey isn’t that enjoyable – unless the journey actually is part of the adventure as in traveling across Europe or going on my first cruise. Beam me to my destination so I can get to enjoying myself! New England in the fall! Cool weather! Salt water! LL Bean!!!! And, I don’t have to worry about fitting in airliner seats any more. What to eat while on vacation – how much fresh sea food can I possibly put away in 5 days?

Right now I am in “fret overload” as I wash clothes and realize so few things fit, and those that do fit are geared for the climate in Southern Arizona – not the mountains and coast of New England in the fall. Capri pants and sandals just won’t do – but they will have to until I get to LL Bean and find a few things that will be appropriate for the cooler nights in our desert’s late fall and winter. I hate to spend money on clothes I know will be passed to Goodwill in the spring, but I do enjoy shopping, and… did I ever tell you about the time we saw Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman at LL Bean (back in their married days).