Having a Plan – by Ed Wojtowicz
On May 9th I had my heart attack. I didn’t have any stents and I didn’t have to have surgery. When I left the hospital on May 12th I knew that I needed to lose weight and the way to do that was eating right, taking my six meds, and exercising.
Coupled with the eating right I found out my last day in the hospital that I was pre-diabetic. That added a whole new dimension to eating right. The dietician that spoke with me at the hospital gave me the information I needed to help get my daily fasting blood sugar down. It was a whole catalog of foods and what was contained in those foods. Things like carbohydrates, fats, and sodium for starters. Since then I always read the labels on any food that I am buying at the store. My first day at home I decided to have a bowl of cereal for breakfast. I never knew Rice Chex had so much sodium in it. That was how my eating better started. By the way, I left the hospital weighing 344 pounds.
I started doing my Cardiac Rehab on Friday, May 26th. No barbecue ribs for Ed on Memorial Day weekend. That was a tough one since I live near Kansas City, Missouri.
Within the first month while I was doing my cardiac rehab (CR), I was planning on how I was going to continue exercising after I finished it up three months later. I was already committed to my “Lifestyle Change” of eating better, getting my rest, and regularly exercising.
At the end of my first month of CR, I went back home to Indiana for my 40th high school reunion. Before I left I spoke with my nurses at CR about continuing to exercise while I was out of town. I told them that I was just going to find a fitness club and do the same exercises that I had been doing. They cautioned me on not doing that since it might aggravate my knees. You see I need both of my knees replaced since they are bone on bone. They told me that since I used to coach swimming and I used to swim in high school and college, I ought to just swim laps while I was out of town. My nurses also said that I should not get my heart rate up past 40-50 beats above my resting heart rate while I was swimming. A little bit of swimming, kicking and pulling is what I did. A total of around 1,200 yards (48 lengths of a 25-yard pool) which I got done in around 40-45 minutes. I have continued to swim since July 1st when I started.
I graduated from cardiac rehab on September 15th. I have continued to do the same exercises I did in CR on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at a recreation center owned by the recreation commission that I work for. In addition, I have continued to swim on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
I am also continuing to eat better, get my rest and take my meds. I now weigh 279 pounds as of the writing of this. Also my blood sugar is now consistently under 100 fasting in the morning. I know I need to lose another 100 pounds but, my knees feel better and I feel so much better.
I know I have a long journey ahead of me but all of this is worth living a longer, happier life.