It was six months ago that I sat in a new doctor’s office, meeting him for the first time having avoided doctors for about three years. That day, I was given bleak news that didn’t surprise me but certainly freaked me out. I weighed 214 pounds (I hit 216 shortly after on a different scale) and my blood pressure was measured at 150/92. The doctor told me then I was in for a lifetime of liver-damaging medications and a short life if I didn’t change my lifestyle now.
I listened that day. I’ve chronicled my changes here on Los Angeles Noise. The mornings have been tough and my lunch meals tasteless. My meal portions are better, I eat healthier snacks, and drink lots of water and little sugar or sodium based drinks. Some days are tougher than others but I’ve been able to maintain this new health plan.
I was looking forward to seeing my doctor in September. When I last saw my doctor in August, she expressed the belief that I could get off medication soon if my vitals continued to move in the direction they had been since starting the plan.
The appointment was on Monday, September 10 at 8 in the morning. There were only two other patients in the waiting area and I was called up quickly. I followed the nurse down the hall to have my vitals taken. The digital scale read 193 pounds—23 pounds lighter than my first check-up in March. The blood pressure test came next. I could feel the blood pumping through my arm as the arm band inflated. With a single beep, the band quickly deflated and the results came in. My blood pressure was at 119 over 76, just below the recommended 120 over 80. It was difficult to hide the joy I felt after seeing those numbers. It validated those mornings when the body wanted to give up and I forced it out of bed at 4:10 in the morning to put in the work.
I spoke with my doctor for some time about the changes over the last six months and what it meant going forward. He stepped out after the conversation to discuss ongoing treatment with his lead doctor. He returned with good news, “We believe you can stop taking your medication now.”
I must continue to check my blood pressure at least twice a week for the foreseeable future. I will have to restart the medication if my systolic number goes above 140. This would mean either the blood pressure issue has more to do with genetics or that there may be an underlying problem doctors must find.
These past six months have been grueling. Waking up at 4 AM to exercise and keeping up my energy throughout the day all the way to my daughter’s bedtime story has not been easy. Still, the results cannot be denied. This is my new way of life and I must work to keep it that way.