Sunday, September 2, 2012

Good for the Heart

Rob's appointment with his cardiac surgeon was last week.  He is doing great and ready to move onto the next step of healing; cardiac rehab and lifestyle change.  While the past month created lifestyle change by necessity from here on the changes be made or maintained by choice.  While Rob's coronary artery disease won't be cured by making lifestyle changes, he does have the power to slow it down and keep himself healthier with his day to day choices. 

Becoming a non-smoker was an obvious change that needed to be made.  The time Rob spent in the hospital and physically recovering enabled him to move through the physical addiction of smoking fairly easily.  The change in his normal routine enabled him to continue his non-smoking habit even after he began to feel better.  Our prayer is that over the next few months, years, decades, smoking will continue to be abhorrent and not even offer temptation.

Adding routine exercise to life was a gradual thing.  As part of his after surgery routine, he was expected to walk a little each day.  He began walking indoors, then in our driveway, and finally down our road.  His walking time increased from three minutes to thirty minutes.  While the walking was good it didn't really meet his desire for building strength.  His arms and chest are feeling flimsy by his standards.  He's hoping that the rehab program will address those issues and he'll start feeling like himself again.  I enjoy the walks because it makes me exercise and it gives us time together to talk. 

Diet changes are something we weren't concerned with during the first part of  Rob's recovery.  When we left the hospital we were told that Rob could eat whatever he liked.  The tricky part of that direction is that for the first two weeks he didn't really feel like eating anything.  He lost about twelve pounds.  Now that his appetite is back he is to start a diet that is low in cholesterol, fat and salt.  While I don't fry food very often (practically never), I do tend to make things that aren't totally healthy, especially for breakfast.  Plus there's the fact that we love dessert.  So, my biggest challenge right now is to figure out what a heart healthy diet looks like for my family.

We made a good start yesterday.  I didn't buy any coke at the store.  I did stock up on fruit.  Our fridge is full of vegetables already.  And, for dinner, I made pizza dough with whole wheat flour.  Everyone noticed the difference but said that the change in the pizza dough was worth the added health benefits.  Rob even opted to leave pepperoni totally off of his pizza and didn't seem to mind.

My prayer is that we'll be able to find new ways of eating that will be as satisfying and so much healthier than the old ways.  And since CAD is genetic, I'll be helping my husband stay healthy now and giving my children a leg up on their adult health.  That's good for all our hearts.

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