My Health Journey – Part 1

monicazumba1Last Wednesday, I started on a journey by “negotiating” with my Nurse practitioner.  Who “negotiates” with their health care provider?—I do.   If you know me in the least, I “pride” (and this word gets me in trouble) myself in trying to move and consume for health.  I am lucky that I don’t smoke or drink because I have a low tolerance for both these activities.  Never liked them but wanted to imbibe in high school for popularity reasons.  Failed.  Failed in the popularity.  Failed in participating in these “popular” acts.

Since this menopausal pause a couple years ago, my body—my being is different. I feel different. My body is different. My energy is different. Therefore my thoughts have morphed drastically. Fortunately and unfortunately, my speaking filters have become more transparent and thinner (like other tissues in my body!)  thereby rendering a louder cursing factor in my speech.  If you have not experienced this side of my conversation, I am “being good” with tongue bit.

So my nurse practitioner wanted me to have a baseline EKC and coronary calcium scan since I have a paternal genetic propensity toward high cholesterol and arterioscerlosis.  Okay, I finally agreed that my genes went the way of my dad with the findings of my lipid blood panel and the heart tests. She wants me to take statins.  Crap, not statins!  I have been taking triphala guggul, red rice yeast, Ceylon cinnamon… ayurvedic options.  They were great for chewing around the edges of the numbers for the past couple years but it appears that my genes are stronger then my chewing. I now know that I have a 1/3 blockage of my left anterior descending coronary artery and all the rest are clear.  This calcium score falls into the 50-75 percentile for people with the same gender and similar age.  “This represents a mild plaque burden with likely mild or minimal coronary stenosis.”  Stenosis means a narrowing in a blood vessel or other tubular organ or structure.  Dam.   My questions ran like this:

“You just tested my heart, could there be plaque in any other arteries?”

” Yes. Plaque is sticky stuff.”

“Why is it on the descending artery and all the rest of the arteries are clear?”

“Your resting heart rate is low. Your blood pressure is low. The blood flowing in that particular artery is not as forceful in mass and pressure as the others thereby giving the plaque a chance to adhere in this vessel.”

“Will the statins decrease the percentage of plaque in my vessel.”

” Yes, it can reverse it.”

“What number would you be comfortable for me to stop taking the statins? “

“In the 20’s. “

“Okay if I chase this number and I reach it, could I stop taking the statin?”

” Yes.”

A few moments of nodding my head. “ Okay”, I say.  “Let’s biohack my body.”  If I can ingest these lovely little blue pills, one a day, 20mg and tolerate the possible side effects, I will comply.  I adamantly tell this young brilliant nurse practitioner who went to high school with my youngest daughter, ” I will not tolerate any muscle pain—I have too much dancing to do!”   My liver must be able handle the stress of this drug as well.  I will have liver tests at 3 months and 6 months.  I will try this experiement for a year and then take a Calcium lalala test again to measure improvements.  I am expecting a clear free running vessel!   If not, then we will discuss a “bigger statin”…or Not.

I shared this with my dear husband, Bob, who is already on statins. He listened intently and asked, “Do you feel like a failure?” I hit him in the shoulder and laughed out loud…equivalent of taking a bottle of champagne to launch a boat on an important voyage.  I’m on the seas of an unknown journey.  So far the waters are smooth.

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