Priorities

3 minute read

A year ago, yesterday, I went to the Emergency Room because I was getting cold sweats, and something did not feel right with my body. Well, after a few tests and a few doctors later, a cardiologist came in and told me I had 90% blockage in the left anterior descending artery, better known as the Widow Maker. It’s known as the widowmaker because you tend to have minutes left to live when it is blocked. I am glad I listened to my body and my wife and went into the Emergency Room.

A year ago today, the cardiologist successfully cleared the blockage and got me on the path to a healthier life.

What Got Me There

There a quite a few factors that contribute to clogged arteries and/or being out of shape. Here are some of the common:

  • :black_square_button: Smoke
  • :white_square_button: Are obese
  • :white_square_button: Eat a lot of unhealthy foods
  • :white_square_button: Are over 45 (men) or 55 (women)
  • :white_square_button: Don’t exercise
  • :white_square_button: Have high blood pressure
  • :white_square_button: Have uncontrolled diabetes
  • :white_square_button: Have a family history of heart disease

Looking at the list, I checked off seven of the eight.

I was obese.
I weighed 243lbs/110kg. I was an XXL shirt and 44 waist size for pants
I ate like crap.
Airline food, junk food, candy, beer/vodka, and more
Are over 45
Yep
Don’t exercise
The occasional laps around the airport or conference venue halls
High Blood Pressure
I think it was 220/140 when I checked in to the hospital. I was really high
Uncontrolled diabetes
My blood sugar was upwards of 330
A family history of heart disease
Yep

These checkmarks :white_square_button: are not something I am not proud of. I am quite disappointed :disappointed: in myself for letting myself get there. I know I could have gone with the excuse that I was doing a lot of traveling with work, public speaking, I was up late with work, preparing presentations, etc., the list could go on. But those are just excuses! I let myself go. Those that know me to know I have a few mottos or things I live by. One of my favorites is

Those that know me, know that I have a few mottos, or things I live by. One of my favorites is

I work to live, I don’t live to work!.

Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that, and I guess I needed this * wake-up call*.

Me Now

Thanks to the proverbial kick in the pants, and some medication, I am back on track. I watch what I eat now. I have five smaller meals a day that are heart-healthy, including vegetables, fruits, etc. I’ve avoided fried foods, foods high in salt, and most sweets. I’ve stopped drinking alcohol. I try to get around 15,000 steps a day now, which is really hard to be stuck at home.

You’ll notice I used the word to avoid. I did not eliminate fried foods, sweets, etc. I just have them way less frequently. The reason being is you still have to live, and cutting everything out usually leads to failure.

Looking at the previous list

  • :black_square_button: Smoke
  • :black_square_button: Are obese
  • :black_square_button: Eat a lot of unhealthy foods
  • :white_square_button: Are over 45 (men) or 55 (women)
  • :black_square_button: Don’t exercise
  • :black_square_button: Have high blood pressure
  • :black_square_button: Have uncontrolled diabetes
  • :white_square_button: Have a family history of heart disease

Looking at the list, I now have two of the eight checked. Can’t change my age or family health history.

I am now longer obese.
I weighed 193lbs/87kg. I was an L shirt and 36 waist size for pants
I eat healthier.
I eat heart-healthy meals consisting of green, leafy vegetable, lean meats, etc.. I control my meals now.
Are over 45
Yep
Exercise
I try to get in 15,000 steps a day or a mile on the treadmill.
High Blood Pressure
I average around 110/70 now
Uncontrolled diabetics
My blood sugar averages around 90 before dinner
A family history of heart disease
Yep

The Morale of the Story

Times are hard now, more than ever, for most of us. You must take a step back and look at your life and situation to see what decisions you are making, and they impact yourself and those around you. Remember, you could not only be affecting yourself both those around you.

You, too, can work to live and not live to work.

This event, a year ago, was my reminder that…

I work to live. I don’t live to work!