I’m going to start in 2017. That is when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I’m 6′ tall and my weight was in the 240s. I had not been eating much processed food (yay) however I was not exercising hardly at all (boo). I work in high tech, at the time with a small local software company. My Girlfriend and I were (and are) in a long distance relationship that allowed us to get together 5-6 times a year as schedules allow which that year included a fun road trip from her home around St Paul, Minnesota down to Florida and back. I live near Sacramento, California.
I started taking some high blood pressure medications and thinking more about my health. Trying to lose some weight and exercise more. What I found strange at the time was that I found I got out of breath pretty quickly. Granted, I was sedentary, but the overall ease to which I would get short of breath didn’t seem quite right. Not wanting to really think about what that could mean, I soldiered on.
In October, I left the company I had been working with and made preparations to start my own company. This work is still ongoing (see future blog posts) however I allowed myself to get pretty anxious and concerned about my future and finances and the increase in stress had some physical effects. Pretty suddenly one day, I felt physically ill in a way I had not felt before. My chest felt sore and taking my blood pressure, it was extremely high. I ended up getting an EKG which didn’t show any heart damage (i.e. no heart attack), and after a consult with my doctor, an appointment for a stress test.
The stress test (walking ever faster on a treadmill while hooked up to measuring equipment) showed something wrong and follow on nuclear imaging (they look through my skin with amazing medical devices) showed things might not be that bad. And the next step was to be a cardiac catheterization where a thin tube is inserted into an artery, threaded to my heart, and used to look for blockages in the blood vessels that feed oxygen to it. Up to this point I was ok with external tests but this one wasn’t one I was excited about. It carries some risk though it is done done fairly routinely.
So I waited. And hoped things would be ok. I was scheduled by then to fly to visit my Girlfriend and go to Norway for 2 weeks for her daughter’s wedding, followed by the month of February visiting at her place and enjoying some amazing winter weather. I like cold weather. We all discussed risks and decided waiting could be ok. My doctors weren’t pleased, I’m sure, but I’m not always the best patient.
The time away was very relaxing and there were no further overt medical issues. I was on additional blood pressure medicines and was not having any chest pains though I got winded very quickly.