Welcome back readers, I have returned with the final blog in The Cardiac Kid series. I won't bore you with the fact that I am totally fine but not yet free. In a few more weeks, I take more blood tests, another stress test, echo, doppler, radar, microwave, whatever needs to be done. This will determine the health of me and my arteries as they stand since the insertion of my stent. Yes. . it's my stent. . it is inside me, I have a card to advice people against any unexpected MRIs. The stent is mine.
So, how have I been since my "procedure"? Well, the instertion of a stent is something I don't consider a procedure. . .making risotto is a procedure. I had heart surgery is how I see it because the stakes are just as high. The truth of the matter is that no matter how many stents are placed, I will still have a portion of my heart that will never get better. However, the rest of my heart is ready to rock. At least for now. So, how do I feel? Well. . . I am not out of breath any longer, my heart no longer bounds when I go up stairs, I still have not smoked cigarettes. I am on a heart-smart diet. But the odds are against me. Hell, they are against you too. hell, they're against all of us. Let me explain.
Eating healthy is expensive. Many people don't know this, at least those who market fresh, organic and healthy food. You and I can walk into the store and everything is laid out in front of us setting us all up for failure. Huge displays of Coke, Pespi stacked 8 feet high and 12 feet wide, telling us to "refresh" or "generation now" or whatever such nonsense. I can walk into McDonalds, Wendys or Burger Thing and buy two double cheeseburgers for a dollar. I can then get a 44 oz Coke, also for a dollar. Do I want fries with that? Sure. . . another dollar. But walk into the supermarket and tell me if you can get a head of lettuce for a dollar? What about broccoli? Apples? Oranges? Non fat milk? Sodium free whatever? Can you get those for a dollar? Of course not. The deck is stacked against us. Everywhere we turn, people eating double cheesebugers, frying up stacks of bacon, throwing steaks on the grill, wrapping them in bacon and more bacon. Everyone who is young and hip are all drinking Moutain Dew and Red Bull and calling em energy drinks. It's all filled with sugar and other chemicals that only shorted your life. It's like you have no chance if you can't cook for yourself. Luckily, I know how to cook, but it's still not all that easy.
Recently I was walking through the local overpriced supermarkets( you know, Stop & Spend More) and a brand new Lean Cusine caught my eye. Now I wasn't going to buy it mind you, you see everything and anything that comes frozen in a package no matter how little, how low it claims it may be, is nothing but overprocessed crap designed to keep us fat. Including lean Cusine. There was a meal, some sort of chicken thing and on the front of the box in large letters it told us : 6 GRAMS FAT! 250 CALORIES! 9 GRAMS OF PROTEIN! Now, you see this and nod your head and think to yourself that eating healthy is gonna be a snap. But then you check the sodium content. This particular meal had 22 more grams of sodium than a McDonalds Double 1/4 with Cheese. I didn't see that in large letters on the front of the box, did you? Of course not and they don't want you to see it either. It's almost like the person who goes into a restaurant, orders a ton of food but feels that having a Diet Coke will balance things out. Well it doesn't. Here's a fact, no matter how much you think this is not true, it sadly is. Drinking diet sodas only make you want to drink more regular soda and other sweet things. And what about this in large print on your Diet Coke: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE. Ok, if you were able to seperate that chemical from the soda, place it in a container in the sun for a few hours and what do you have? A chemical that is in embalming fluid. . . is that what you want?
So as you can see, temptation is all over, especially if you live in a house with children who's whole diet is pop tarts, Dominoes and Big Macs. I handle this like I handle my religion. I don't force my new eating habits on anyone else. I'm not gonna stop you in the store and look over your cart and tell you whats good and what's bad for you. I'll leave that up to you.
Here is what I've learned since my whole life caught up to me. I learned that nothing makes me fat, you don't, McDonald's doesn't, only me. I made myself fat. I didn't have someone dragging me into the store to buy cigarettes. I did all of that myself. And the only way you or anyone else is gonna change your life is by doing it yourself. By realizing you have self control. Try this little exercise: Picture someone you hate, that has done you wrong, lied, denied, just a terrible human and a horrible friend, or a politician, or TV celebrity. You want them dead but you don't kill them. Why? Well, other than going to jail and them not being worth you spending time in the ol Stoney Lonesome for their death, you use self control and push those feeling aside. Well, there it is. Take that strength you have not to kill someone and use it to keep yourself from killing a sack of White Castle sliders. Use that self control to stop you from eating those fries with cheese on them. It's not going to be easy. I always used to tell a friend of mine that nothing worth having is easy. You're not just going to wake up tomorrow thin and healthy. It doesn't happen. You need to make things happen. I can't help you, no weight watchers, nothing. Is Jenny Craig coming to your house every night to make sure there's no cheese on your veggie burger?
I have had many emotions and feelings since all this occured to me. I see my oldest son eat take out almost everynight, but he's 27. You're Superman when you're 27. Nothing can hurt you. I just wish I could've been visited by Future Steve when I was 27. He would've showed me on his Future iPad that when I am 46 years old I will be an old, out of shape, heart attack having person. He would show me that my blood was like gravy or was gravy. He'd show me all I would have to go through. I wish that person came to me way back when. Things would have been different. I assume. I realized that all of this is my own fault. I did not have an infection that caused my heart damage. No one stuffed my arteries with pure fat. I did. I did all of that. And yes, I realize that a lifetime of all of these bad habits have shortened my life and have left me where I am today. But what can I do now? I'm not dead, that's a plus for sure. I can still listen to music, play video games, watch the grass grow. I am alive because my body rebelled. My body had an intervention and sent me away to get my act together. And I listened to my body for the very first time. I will start walking each day. I will lead the life I was meant to have. I am not dead, and I thank the stars each night that I am still here.( I also thank only the doctors, not God, for you see, God didn't put me in this situation and he didn't help me out of it)
Look, life is not a cake walk. People come and go into our lives. Situations change, marriages happen then fall apart. Children are born and raised. The sun comes up every morning and sets every night. And if you want to see all those things that life has to offer you need to work at it. You need to not look in the past at the scum that were not real friends, the lovers that were only out for themselves, the winners, the losers. You need to move forward, without fear and to live your life. The pessimists, the angry, the unhappy. Close them all up in a box of memories and move forward with your world. Life is fleeting, we all could shuffle this mortal coil at any time. No one knows our future, we only know our past. And by coming to grips with the life we had, the life we lead only then can we move forward into the life we were supposed to have. I'm starting mine now. . . . .