While going through our divorce (which resulted in a miraculous reconciliation and remarriage), Bill tried to tell me, “Love is a choice.” I didn’t get it then, but have since learned this important lesson! God actually gives us freewill to accept or reject what life hands us. Read here for our last post on heart disease.
While Bill was shutting down mentally after the news about his heart disease, he struggled….and had to reach deep down inside himself. He can reflect back now and says, he had a choice! He decided to accept his prognosis and paid close attention to medical professionals as to what he was facing and how he could “turn the sinking ship around.” Hallelujah! We are so grateful the first two medical professionals we went to, his brother, David and his wife, Linda!
You see, his cardiologist only ordered a statin for him after the phone call from the Radiologist Technician (see our last post)! But that will be another blog one day….let’s focus on all the good that began to happen. Although that was a wake up call. The medical profession is made up of imperfect people and they are just “practicing” medicine. You have to become your own best advocate, or as Bill says, have a life partner who will move heaven and hell to help you! So about all I could do was pray and be an encourager. This was so out of my league…
His bother, David, is a Registered Certified Nurse Anesthetist, has great experience and education in the field of heart disease. And his wife, a Registered Nurse, has studied nutrition for as long as I can remember. They shared about a book written by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD, who treated former President Bill Clinton after his heart attack. His book shows pictures of angiograms before and after using STATINS and a NO oil vegan diet. In other words, heart disease can be reversed.
Well, this was somewhat encouraging coming from his brother, but Bill wasn’t ready to accept this since the Radiologist basically said, “Your heart will always have this calcium. It will never change.”
The nutrition aspect did seem to make some sense, but we weren’t ready for something that radical as Dr. Esselstyn recommends. More on this later as we will share what David’s personal experience was. But we were ready for the next piece of advice they gave us, They recommended using the “Lose it!” app and begin tracking all his food intake. I previously used the “Foodeducate” app and liked it. So we were now onboard as they gave us a few suggestions. We had actually seen a transformation with David as he had his own struggles. And somehow, Bill began to know instinctively what he should and shouldn’t eat. But we still had a long way to go!!!
Linda has never preached, but she has a subtle way of teaching and showing how certain things are not good for the body. The main thing was if you read the ingredients of food items and you don’t know what something is, or can’t even pronounce it, it is probably not good for you! Since they have become the caretakers of Bill’s mom, when we go see her, we have stayed with them and saw how she practiced what she taught. I saw her grating her own cheese.
WOW, I thought, who has time for that? Well guess what, we looked at our grated cheese ingredients and discovered something we didn’t really recognize as something that should be in something as innocent as cheese: Cellulose! We looked it up and discovered it is made from wood pulp to prevent the shredded cheese from sticking together! We now grate our own cheese as we do like it on our fresh garden salads.
These two food tracker apps show you the percentages of fats, proteins and carbohydrates you eat every day. If you upgrade to premium, you can see even more details. But to start with, we began trying to decrease his carbs and increase his protein.
While all of this is going on, Bill was haunted by news about Alan Thicke. It was just too relatable and shocking. Do you remember hearing how he died of a massive heart attack (later we’ve learned it was aortic dissection) on December 13, 2016. Age, 69, playing ice hockey. A very aggressive player and played several times a week. You see, while Bill didn’t play ice hockey, he was an aggressive player in life! Don’t most of us think we’re still young as we age? Alan was only a few years older than Bill. It was such a shock to all of us. And then the reporters started reminding us of other famous people who suddenly “dropped dead” from heart attacks. No wonder Bill went into such a funk on December 15 – just two days later when he was told he was at risk for a massive heart attack.
I knew we might have a story to tell, so asked Bill to start a journal….humm, not his style. So finally, a few weeks ago, I interviewed him! “Tell me your thoughts as you received this diagnosis.” I jotted down his responses:
December 15, 2016 – Dealt a lousy deck of cards – now how to play? Felt like he was drowning and no one threw him a life saver. Four days later, only offered a pill!
Mentally in a bad situation but he felt OK!
Felt what it would be like to learn you have inoperable cancer – no cure.
I can’t doctor myself but I can take care of my health
Began to throw bags of “bad” food away.
Heard walking is good if you have heart attack, so started walking daily.
Health healthy diet? Began to learn.
Understands why people don’t change – ‘I’ll start ….. Monday syndrome.’
I’ve accepted the diagnosis. So now the onus is on me.
Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”
Next up, we meet with one of the best cardiologists in town!
“… I am the LORD, your healer.” – Exodus 15:26