Today was the much anticipated annual physical with my primary care physician. I see the eye Doc twice a year (got to make sure the diabetes is not affecting the eyes), my cardiologist about once a quarter (gotta keep the old out of rhythm ticker in the best shape possible), my kidney specialist twice a year, and my VA Doc when I make an appointment. I only have to see my GI Doc about once every three to five years – depending on the findings of the latest colonoscopy.
I have found that one must take charge of one’s health, ask questions, and be the one who manages your care. There were some meds the cardiologist wanted to put me on and I said no. Reason being, I was allergic to that med – it even stated that on my chart which he was writing on at that very moment. I talked with several of my docs and PA’s about one med that I believed was causing me to swell by retaining fluid. All of them said this med will not do that. It must be something else. Cut back on fluids, salt, and take more fluid pills. None of that worked. I finally convinced one doc to take me off that med – and he did not believe it would work. I lost 12 pounds in two days and we could actually see my ankles again.
I had just been diagnosed as a borderline diabetic. So the doc put me on 1/2 of this pill each morning 30 minutes before breakfast. I went to a class at the Winston Salem VA Clinic teaching me how to deal with carbs. Here is the deal: Taking that pill 30 mins before breakfast drops your sugar. Eating breakfast (with 65-70 grams of Carbs) refills your sugar tank – so to speak. However, and this is a BIG however, if you do not eat a mid-morning snack with 35-40 grams of carbs you are likely to pass out from low sugar. This almost happened to me three days at the beach. I decided that I simply could not manage juggling the carbs and meds to keep from passing out. Seems to me that what I would be doing is eating more carbs, which would cause me to need more meds, which would cause me to need more carbs, and on, and on, and on. So I stopped taking that 1/2 pill each morning and just watching eating sugary foods. Today my A1C was 6.3 which is in a pre-diabetic range. (A1C is a 90 day average of sugar).
Since around 45 my cholesterol has been high. The overall count was 193… not too bad. But the good is bad and the bad is good. There is still concern about these counts because I do have coronary Heart Disease. I am also allergic to statins – those meds that work on cholesterol make my liver counts triple. I have been off all statins for several years. They are now trying me on a lower dosage to see if it will make any difference. The good news for all of us is what Dr. T. told me about today. He said next year there is a whole new set of meds coming out that should reduce cholesterol by 60%. And this new medication will not adversely affect the liver. I am really looking forward to the introduction of these new meds.
The doc asked me what every doc has asked me since my by-pass surgery: “How much exercise are you getting?” My standard answer is “With my neuropathy it kills my feet to walk.” Then they retort: “Are you looking for a pool?” After this accepted and expected banter the doc says something very important: “I don’t want you to get old on me. I don’t have a pill for that.” In other words, you have got to find a way to exercise in order to keep up your endurance. I can’t fix that. WAKE UP CALL!!!
You’re not too bad for the bad condition you are in…..
Our new room (here at the house) was renovated to help with a space for the treadmill and the stationary bicycle. With this new incentive (to live longer and feel better) I am going to attempt first to fight through the pain to walk on the treadmill and/or use the bike. I may not get back to my 3 miles a day, but I plan to increase my endurance and do what I can to assist my move to better health.
I guess the word I have for all of us today is this: Participate in your own better health. Be smart about what meds you are taking, know what protocols are being put into place for you and why. Do your homework and know about your health. Find a way to help and not to hinder your health. I remember Jesus reaching down to the man with the withered hand and saying get up and come forward. That man worked with Jesus to bring about his own healing. I have often thought that if he had not gotten up and moved toward Jesus, he may not have been healed.
Dear Lord, I thank you for doctors even when they tell me stuff I really don’t want to hear. I know they are called to be healing hands. Bless them and give them the energy, drive, curiosity, and compassion to continue to fight for better health for all their patients. In and through Jesus. Amen.