The wake up call

It began the first full week in January 2015, around the 7th or 8th of the month. It came on small, as I’ve felt a few times before, just a fluttering in my chest. The fluttering continued, and grew stronger, and was accompanied by pain. I played it off, even made a joke to a co-worker that I was having a heart attack. Clearly I seemed more serious than I intended as he started grilling me. Again, I played it off, and continued on with my day.

However, unlike the times here or there when I felt a fluttering in my chest, this one didn’t go away after 15 or 30 seconds. It kept on, and on. It got more intense, and painful. I started to get a bit short of breath, got a bit disoriented and dizzy, and was sweating up a storm. Something was clearly not right. And I began to think I really was having a heart attack. Or a heart.. something.

image2Of course, anyone in their right mind would have immediately been seen by a doctor. I, however, did not. In fact I stayed and worked the full day even though these odd feelings in my chest continued on for 5 or 6 hours throughout the world day. A few days later I made comment to another co-worker and friend who really pushed me to go to a doctor. Another quick conversation that night with a friend who is an ER nurse and I was set to go to the emergency room – the next day, after work.

After telling the nurse I had weird feelings and pains in my chest she stopped listening to me and picked up her cell phone, calling someone down to the ER.  Some dude shows up with an EKG and then they ship me off to a room. Strap me to a few machines, take some x-rays, pull some blood, all sorts of work ups. Turns out things look ok – but not too OK. They hook me up to a bunch of machines and made me hang around a while.  Then, before leaving, they hook me up with this beauty.

For the next 30 days image1I was set up with a portable EKG which was used to track how my heart was ticking. I wore it 24/7, only taking it off when I needed to take a shower. After 30 days or so I was set up to see a cardiologist and see how things looked.

I really dug the doctor I was hooked up with. He was straight forward and didn’t beat around the bush. I had been told many times previously that I needed to lose weight, but I always felt I was being judged and looked down upon. But this time felt different, it felt like I had a partner in this new adventure. He broke down weight loss in a way that made perfect sense to me – calories in needed to be less than calories out.

Really? That’s it?

That’s it. He also broke down the number of calories my body will burn naturally, and made it very clear: eat this many calories to lose weight. That simple. I can dig that.

I downloaded My Fitness Pal and began to track everything. Every meal, every day. I stopped drinking soda, started eating fewer calories, starting making better food choices. I had to – I really felt that my life depended on it.

And really – it did.

By the time I met with my cardiologist again I was down around 10 – 15 pounds and everything checked out OK with the portable EKG. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing to be too concerned about.

So I took a deep breath, and set forth on my new journey.

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