I Got Your 'Mysterious Ways" Right Here, Pal..
As some of you may know, Peg and I just returned from a two-week tour; a one-week cruise to Alaska, followed by a one-week bus tour of the Pacific Northwest.
We did a lot of walking. A lot. We had about 240 steps forward to the Crow's Nest on the ship, in the nose, to watch where we were going, to enter the Trivia Challenge, etc. we had 48 steps to the elevator that took us up or down to the restaurant lobbies for meals. The theater was forward, under the Crow's Nest, and we went to a show every day.
We did a lot of walking.
Then there were the side trips. The first was to some locks in Seattle, which was about 1/4 mile downhill. That was my cardio for that day, I can assure you. Twice. We also walked around Pike Place Market some, that day, before boarding the Zaandam.
Side trips on the cruise started with the Mendenhall Glacier, another long walk down a narrow trail. And back up it. We'd already toured a Salmon hatchery that day, and we ended the day by walking down along Gold Rush Creek for the Liarwood Salmon Bake, including a trip down the creek to the falls, which were beautiful.
Add to that a tour of the cathedral at Sitka, a long walk to the catamaran in Ketchikan for the catamaran taking us to Misty Fjords, a block's walk from the bus to the Princess Hotel in Victoria, and we did a lotta lotta walking.
Hold that thought for a minute.
I'd been having chest pains for some months. Probably over a year. They were very mild, running from a specific muscle in one arm, across the muscles on the surface of my chest, to that specific muscle on the other arm. They lasted 30 seconds to a minute, and were always followed by a hot flash. A good, old-fashioned hot flash. Which would last 30 seconds or so and then leave.
Well, I got to nosing around online, and found out that one of the side effects of the Lupron I'd been taking for prostate cancer, is muscle pain. And an acknowledged effect is hot flashes (and sometimes mood swings). So I didn't pay a lot of attention to the pains; they sort of became old friends.
Then, I mentioned them to our family doctor during a routine visit. He said let's don't assume anything, and ran one of those EKG's that had wires stuck all over my body.
Nothing. It was fine. He then said we really needed for me to see a heart specialist, and set me up with a doctor in Alabaster. When I went to see him, he said he wanted me to do a stress test; with my arthritis, he suggested a medically-induced one. Where they shoot me up with a vaso-dilator, which causes the BP to drop real quick, and then do a nuclear scan to see the blood flow to the heart.
Well, the doctor said he still didn't want to assume it was the Lupron, so he set me up with a beta blocker to slow my heart for a few days, and then did a CAT scan. THAT showed some calcium around an artery; he said he could not tell whether it was inside or outside, so I need to cardiac catheterization.
The dread of what I knew they were going to be doing was much worse than the procedure itself, which was done April 6th. And the procedure found a 70% blockage in the right anterior descending artery (if I got it right) and Dr. Goyal put in a stent.
NOW: the cancer doctor only keeps patients on Lupron for about 18 months, and the installation of the stent happened to coincide with the cessation of my Lupron shots. And, to top it all off, the pains and hot flashes didn't stop! Oh, they have moderated and kind of morphed into a different deal .. sometimes I get a hot flash with no pains, but never have pains without a hot flash. But for some reason, it's better now, than it was before.
Then one day I get a call from a nurse at Shelby Baptist Medical Center's Cardiac Rehab facility, saying Dr. Goyal had prescribed cardiac rehab for me. So I went there about the first of May and started doing rehab exercises. The kind where they get your heart rate and BP elevated for so many minutes .. I started at 4 activities of 5 minutes each, which had me huffin' and puffin' at the start. But over the weeks, leading up the cruise, I worked up to 4 activities of 12 minutes ... 48 minutes of cardio exercise ... per day, 3 days a week, and doing it fairly easily.
I'd gotten into a lot better shape than I was before I started.
Then we went on the cruise. Trust me, I could never have done all the stuff we did on the cruise, and the bus tour, had it not been for the cardio exercise prescribed by the doctor who put in the stent to cure the blockage that was probably not the cause of the pains that sent me to see him in April!
If we'd gone on this cruise in March, or last year, I would have tried one side trip and spent the rest of the time in the cabin, ordering room service.
SO. Bottom line: thanks, God. I love your mysterious ways. Please keep'em coming.