Me and my stent: 6 months in

untitled-29It’s worth a little reflection. Six months ago, on Thursday 29 Aug 19, I was flat on my back at Royal Papworth having a stent inserted in my right coronary artery and I still find it remarkable that I’m leading a pretty normal life today. I wrote about my feelings one month in (https://wp.me/phtcF-QE). It seems right to provide an update.

First the good news: there have been no setbacks (fingers crossed that’s not tempting fate) and although I’ve cut back on the second Lansoprazole each day and halved the beta blocker dosage I’m feeling just fine. I check my blood pressure every morning and most afternoons and it’s generally something like 120 over 60 with a heart rate around 50. There are occasional spikes of the diastolic of course and my GP worries that the heart rate is a little too low, hence the reduction in the beta blocker, but overall the numbers are about right.

Except for the minor changes noted above my medication regime is unchanged and I feel pretty fortunate that I’m not getting any serious side effects. I have heard of people going through multiple different regimes because these are so severe but all I can report are occasional cold limbs and increased flatulence which so far, fortunately, has led to no undue embarrassment.

I’ve progressed from cardio 3 (as reported earlier) to cardio 4 (which I’ll write further about). There’s 20 of us that attend cardio 4 with ages ranging from 50 to 80 and some have been turning up for 5 years or so. It’s an hour with 20 minutes warm-up and 10 minutes cool-down and a pretty strenuous half hour circuit in the middle. I find it both physically and mentally benefiting. And I make it a double treat by having breakfast at the excellent Cafe Camtown beforehand.

In parallel my gym work has become a little more serious and I’m now running 5 km on the treadmill with ease. OK I’m only running at 8 km/hr, before the big S I would typically be at 10 km/hr, but I feel that I’ve got plenty of upside and reckon I can probably get back to 9 km/hr when I get back to running outside when the weather’s better.

I have been strict about my diet of avoiding high sat-fat food and that’s resulted in my weight bottoming out at 64.5 kg (see below) which is 7 kg or so below it’s peak. Ironically whilst I used to avoid snacks as a means of keeping my weight down I now snack regularly and I’m back to 66 kg or thereabouts. The good and probably related news is that my cholesterol and other blood lipid measures are normal. Whether this is diet or statin driven I don’t know but I’m inclined to think it’s a consequence of both.

The bad news is that I’ve got to report one failure. My alcohol intake is stuck at around 20 units/week. I’m honoring my two alcohol free days a week promise OK but with a unit being only a 75 ml glass of wine and a bottle of beer being 1.5 it’s tough getting to my 18 target. Maybe I need to embrace three teetotal days.

I’m pretty comfortable now 6 months in but I did put myself through a fairly rigorous test over Xmas and the New Year. We went to Indonesia for about 4 weeks travelling through Lombok and Bali, and West and Central Java before ending up in Jakarta (click here for my post on that holiday). I had fewer dietary options of course and do you really observe alcohol free days when you’re on holiday? A couple of times I engaged in reasonably strenuous activity (see the photo) and worried that I was a little too far away from Papworth to be so doing. But I had no problems. My heart rate remained at the right level and I remembered to take all my meds but when I returned my weight was down at 64.5 kg.

As it generally has been for me life’s pretty good. My rules for a healthy life are hardly onerous. I’m just become a bit of a bore when it comes to reading the nutrition information on the backs of food packaging.

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