Atrial Fib and Desserts

Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.


Thirty five years with A-Fib and 10 years without it after an ablation. That’s 45 years of heart arrhythmia fear…more than half of my lifetime. Some of it has been controllable and some not. I’ve tried to follow the rules to be stronger and listen to the experts, the latest research and when in doubt, trust my instincts.

Diet, exercise, body maintenance and knowledge of what is being prescribed have led me to take charge of my own body. Collaborations and partnerships with doctors have given me the courage for my own convictions…one of which is to eat dessert! Not all desserts and not every day. Discipline comes with experience.

Recently I was asked to bring dessert to a small dinner party of friends. My standard ‘bring along’ dessert is meringues. I’m not a great cook, especially of complicated dishes, but quick and easy meringues are not complicated. They draw compliments and the plate of at least 24 for 4, 6 or 8 people is always gone at the end of the meal. Rarely have I indulged with the guests, until now.

One of the guests asked for the recipe whereupon when I gave it to him, he remarked that meringues are a heart healthy dessert…except for the smaller than average amount of sugar. I decided today to give you the recipe too.

MERINGUES:

  • Two egg whites in mixing bowl. It’s important that they are at room temperature.
  • ¼ tsp cream of tarter
  • ¾ cup of sugar (I use a little less)
  • Beat with electric mixer until egg whites are stiff
  • Add ½ tsp vanilla
  • Add one 11 or 12 oz. package of dark chocolate chips
  • Line cookie sheet with brown paper (I use 2 cookie sheets and cut up brown paper bags from grocery store).
  • Spoon onto cookie sheet. I put 12 to on each cookie sheet.
  • Pre-heat oven at 300 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool and remove with spatula.

In damp climates meringue consistency may change from light and fluffy.

These meringues are especially delicious with the last sips of red wine from dinner. Don’t forget that dark chocolate is heart healthy and contains antioxidants. Exercise portion control. One or two is a healthy portion. More than that at one sitting is excessive. Read more about healthy foods IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib, a memoir. Click here.

In a Heartbeat is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
The book is also available at Barnes & Noble as a paperback and Nook book.
Digital versions are available on Kobo and iTunes.
Also available as audio book from Amazon.

Get the book here!
In a Heartbeat on AmazonIn a Heartbeat on Barnes and NobleIn a Heartbeat on KoboIn a Heartbeat on iTunes
In a Heartbeat on iTunes


Pacemakers … Not Just For Atrial Fib

Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.


At age 61 my first pacemaker was inserted. I had been an A-Fib patient for almost 20 years before my heart stopped for several seconds during a hip replacement surgery. I woke up from that surgery in the hospital’s ICU (intensive care unit) surrounded by my orthopedic surgeon, an electrophysiologist, nurses, my husband and children. It was immediately suggested that I have a pacemaker inserted the next day. I could have had a stroke, or even died. For more details you can read about it in my memoir, IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.

Leaving the hospital with a new hip and a pacemaker set at 60 beats per minute, I decided that new body parts were the way to go. The hip is still in place and working great. Pacemaker batteries last about 10 years.  Usually replaced by a whole new device, the replacement pacemaker is often attached to the same wires. I have since had 2 replacement pacemakers, each representing a new level of technology. My 3rd pacemaker is using the original wires that were attached to my heart in 1999.

At almost 81, I hear more and more about aging adults getting pacemakers at 75. In an article by Sari Harrar In the April/May 2018 issue of AARP The Magazine about general health, it is explained that the number of “pacemaker” natural cells in the heart is declining at 70 plus and at that age there may be 90% fewer than you had in your youth. Approximately 225,000 people per year in the U. S. have pacemakers implanted. Only some of them are atrial fib patients.

A pacemaker battery can keep you going for decades, according to this article in AARP The Magazine. My life has been easier and full with the small device. Many of my friends now have a pacemaker. Often the insertion procedure is outpatient.

With each new pacemaker the technological advances have enabled greater capability. Early pacemakers were checked every 3 months by telephone transmission. My 3rd one is checked by a transmitter that works on the Wi-Fi in my home. The transmitter, that looks like a small speaker, sits about 6 feet from my bed. It records heart activity in its internal memory and communicates to a central data system. Automatic checks have shown no disturbances at all.

My heart rate without the pacemaker is as low as 30 beats per minute. The pacemaker keeps on tickin’ at 60 beats per minute and is keeping me alive. Now, if it could only cook dinner, it would be perfect.

In a Heartbeat is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
The book is also available at Barnes & Noble as a paperback and Nook book.
Digital versions are available on Kobo and iTunes.
Also available as audio book from Amazon.

Get the book here!
In a Heartbeat on AmazonIn a Heartbeat on Barnes and NobleIn a Heartbeat on KoboIn a Heartbeat on iTunes
In a Heartbeat on iTunes


Atrial Fib … Know Your Numbers!

Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.


My semi-annual meds check appointment at The Ross Heart Hospital took place a few days ago. It’s necessary mainly because of the sotalol medication I take for atrial fib. The drug has side effects but it and the ablation I had has kept me out of A-Fib for 11 years…so far.

The twice yearly meds check event goes like this: weight check, blood pressure, pulse and respiration check and an EKG. Then the discussion between the Pharmacologist and me; dosages and results from tests taken during the last meds check; changes resulting in lowering some doses because of my 40 pound weight loss. I was dismissed and sent to the lab for an up-to-date blood test including Lipid Panel (full cholesterol check).

Recalling a conversation with the endocrinologist several years ago, I was informed that the biggest change in aging health comes between the ages of 75 and 85. Soon I’ll be 81 and all the recent test numbers are better than I can remember in many years including cholesterol: LDL 52, HDL 55, Triglycerides 56 and Non-HDL Cholesterol 63.

What does all this mean? Constant Maintenance. It takes a lot of time and uses a lot of energy…the one thing that diminishes with age. Outer body checkup shows blood pressure at 137/66, weight 125, height 5’5”, BMI 20.80 (body mass index or body fat), respiration 16 and pulse 59 (with pacemaker set at 60).  Not too bad for almost 81.

What to do to maintain acceptable good health while aging:

  • Get plenty of sleep. Try to get in at least one short nap a day.
  • Don’t overeat. Along with this, try to eat healthy food so as not to get full on empty calories. Small meals. I find that it’s not so much what you eat, but how much…portion control!
  • Eat slowly, put eating utensils down between bites to slow eating pace. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to know that the stomach is full.
  • Exercise! Just moving the body can do it. Getting out of bed in the morning may take some adjustment and movement until the body parts (legs, back and neck) adjust to being vertical. I have gone from 100 pushups and other strenuous exercise last year to 8 minutes of stretching each morning that I learned online and in a pamphlet from the Chiropractor’s office.
  • Walking is a wonderful exercise. At the gym I do some stretching then 5 minute intervals on the treadmill. Try it.

Most of all, create your own state of mind. Be happy.

In a Heartbeat is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
The book is also available at Barnes & Noble as a paperback and Nook book.
Digital versions are available on Kobo and iTunes.
Also available as audio book from Amazon.

Get the book here!
In a Heartbeat on AmazonIn a Heartbeat on Barnes and NobleIn a Heartbeat on KoboIn a Heartbeat on iTunes
In a Heartbeat on iTunes


Atrial Fib and New Beginnings – Part 2

After 35 years with atrial fib and 11 years with no atrial fib, I consider myself managed and maintained without the heart arrhythmia. During that time I have reversed heart damage from 2 heart attacks. Read my memoir about it, IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.


Recently I wrote a blog about negative new beginnings since turning 80. Always looking ahead, I have since taken the advice of Sasha, Certified Nurse Practitioner to the Gastroenterologist that I have been seeing for colon and intestinal problems during the last few years. Tests were taken. Nothing of consequence was found.

The tendonitis in my left hip was not getting better after 5 months. The orthopedic doctor told me it would go away in several weeks and gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory. The tendonitis didn’t go away, but the anti-inflammatory meds did…with my help. Then 4 of the fingers on my left hand became numb.

Sasha commented that all of my problems have settled in the left side of my body and maybe, just maybe, could be related to a complication having to do with the spine and back.  Could those bones have moved causing organs and/or bones to be crowded and out- of-whack. After all, those bones are 80 years old and I haven’t been easy on them.

“Why don’t you see a chiropractor?” Sasha asked. Chiropractor? Is that a real doctor, I thought, but didn’t say. Well, why not, I asked myself.

Asking friends and relatives about who and where to go for this new adventure, I discovered that chiropractors are more popular than I knew. Friends told me to see Doctor Marc Varckett. I Googled him and found his education and background quite impressive so I made an appointment and took my skeptical husband, Ed, with me for the “meet and greet” interview.

Doctor Marc and his partner Dr. Karen have almost half of the first floor in an office building. The bright and airy entry, and offices lead to 5 treatment rooms, a physical therapy studio and x-ray rooms. The walls in each room are decorated with paintings by local artists, two of whom I know personally.

The x-ray of my back and spine showed one side of my body to be lopsided. The left side is lower than the right or maybe it’s the other way around depending on which side the x-ray film is showing. Definitely one side is crooked, causing me to wear an extra shoulder pad to even the shoulders up under my clothes.

Dr. Marc said that a treatment program of 12 weeks should make adjustments that would help to correct the spine. His clinic does not use hand manipulation. They use an activator device that looks like a TV remote control, then there’s stretching and about 15 minutes in a therapy room on a table with a heating pad the length of my torso. There is adjustment therapy equipment for patients with other spine problems. The whole treatment takes about 45 minutes or less.

I go 3 times per week for 5 weeks, then 2 times weekly then once a week. After that it’s suggested that if I want, I can come back once a month for adjustment maintenance…sort of like maintaining our eyes and teeth with periodic checkups and adjustments. Why not the spine?

I have now completed the first 5 weeks of treatment. Next week I start with 2 times per week  then once per week. I feel so much better. It’s not perfect yet but the tendonitis pain in my hip is gone most of the time. The colon and intestinal problems are not as bad as before and I’ve added small amounts of foods I like but haven’t eaten in a long time. If I overeat, I do have a problem, so I concentrate on the process of eating and stop before getting full.

Three points are important:

  • A positive attitude.
  • My treatment is covered mostly by Medicare.
  • Amazingly, 2 of the 4 numb fingers are no longer numb. One is less numb and the middle finger is still numb. Skeptical Ed is no longer skeptical. He sees the changes.

In a Heartbeat is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
The book is also available at Barnes & Noble as a paperback and Nook book.
Digital versions are available on Kobo and iTunes.
Also available as audio book from Amazon.

Get the book here!
In a Heartbeat on AmazonIn a Heartbeat on Barnes and NobleIn a Heartbeat on KoboIn a Heartbeat on iTunes
In a Heartbeat on iTunes


Atrial Fib and New Beginnings

Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.


Finally. Spring has come to Central Ohio. Winter was brutal. The 2nd season of the year is late in its arrival, but it is beautiful as is the tree in our front yard.

With Spring comes freshness… new beginnings. For me changes are constant. Nine months ago I turned 80 and thought nothing of it. Health problems like atrial fib had become manageable. Workouts 3 times a week became a little harder. Back problems crept up but I thought ice and a heating pad would take care of it. One hundred pushups became harder, then impossible.

Food in taste and quantity became a problem digestively and intestinally. Mealtime wasn’t so important. I had lost 40 pounds over the last few years…not a bad thing. Since I couldn’t consume a lot of food, I made what I did eat healthy and stayed away from junk food which made me sick anyway. My balance was off. I was tired and bedtime started earlier. Sleep  interruptions have occurred several times each night.

Eighty was not looking so good. It was stressing me out which in itself was causing me problems. My annual physical with electrophysiologist Dr. John Hummel was successful. Eleven years without atrial fib after the ablation. Reversal of all heart muscle damage from 2 heart attacks. The anti-arrhythmia medication, sotalol, continues to work well as does the new 3rd pacemaker.

Numbness in the fingers on my left hand is not heart related, I was told.  Dr. Hummel mentioned that at my age and heart history I should be on a blood thinner. He has told me that every year for the last 5. Each year I explain that I prefer not to take it and again, why. We compromise: He writes a prescription for apixaban, a blood thinner. I carry it in my wallet. I take my pulse twice a day. If I should go into A-Fib, I am to get the prescription filled and call his office. So far, I haven’t had A-Fib and the prescription remains in the wallet for another year.

Learn more about this. Read or listen to IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib. Click on an icon below.

How am I learning to manage new problems after age 80? I’ll write more about it in the next blog. Stress is the worst. I think I’ve figured it out and am on my way of dealing with it as well as the exercise, back, balance, digestive, diet, numbness and even sleep. It’s all part of “new beginnings.”

In a Heartbeat is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
The book is also available at Barnes & Noble as a paperback and Nook book.
Digital versions are available on Kobo and iTunes.
Also available as audio book from Amazon.

Get the book here!
In a Heartbeat on AmazonIn a Heartbeat on Barnes and NobleIn a Heartbeat on KoboIn a Heartbeat on iTunes
In a Heartbeat on iTunes


Atrial Fib Book “IN A HEARTBEAT” On Display

Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.


As a professional published writer of 2 books, both memoirs, I have been a member of National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) for several years. This national organization has been in existence since 1897 and is headquartered in Washington, D. C.  My membership is with the Central Ohio branch, one of 80 branches of women artists, writers, composers and many other professions all connected with the arts.

Currently our work is on display at The Works, a fabulous museum in downtown Newark, Ohio. Google it or go to their website. It’s a museum on the move and is soon to house a SciDome Planetarium.

The NLAPW work will remain at The Works until July 6th. From there it goes immediately to Columbus, just 30 miles away, to The Carnegie Gallery in The Columbus, Ohio Metropolitan Library.

The display of NLAPW art features 18 of the members with paintings, fabric art, crafts (fabulous bird cages), magnificent sculptors, poetry, book selections and some collaborations containing more than one category. My most recent book, IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib is featured as a wall hanging in a collaboration with artist Abby Feinknopf.

 

Our collaboration has to do with medical problems we have both endured. My book in a shadow box has an inner frame collage of red penned edits from the first draft about heart meds and tests for complications from my heart problems. Abby’s is a woman who has battled cancer and brightly covers her head in flowers in place of hair lost in treatment. A collage of her prescription papers is part of the painting.

See the photo above taken at the recent opening gallery reception and artists’ talk featuring from left to right artist and writer Brenda Layman, artist and writer Abby Feinknopf, sculptor Renate Fackler, and me.

Read both of my memoirs, NO SEX IN ST. TROPEZ, a fun story of adventures in 1974 Europe, and IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.

With one click on any of the icons below, you can get one or both.

In a Heartbeat is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
The book is also available at Barnes & Noble as a paperback and Nook book.
Digital versions are available on Kobo and iTunes.
Also available as audio book from Amazon.

Get the book here!
In a Heartbeat on AmazonIn a Heartbeat on Barnes and NobleIn a Heartbeat on KoboIn a Heartbeat on iTunes
In a Heartbeat on iTunes


Atrial Fib … ”All Diseases Begin in the Gut” – Hippocrates: Connection or Not?

Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.


After 80 years of body maintenance and repair, I thought that I could relax and enjoy life and do what I want, eat what I want and continue at the same pace as before. Not necessarily.

I have triumphed over heart problems including 2 heart attacks, 3 pacemakers, a robotic bypass and 35 years of atrial fib. Along the way were 2 hip replacements, cataracts and Hepatitis A. Now new wrinkles to deal with…excuse the pun…that too.

For the last few years along with acid reflux in the upper digestive system, I’ve developed lower digestive problems related to the colon and intestines. They were subtle at first. Acid reflux was the easiest to manage except from early on I mistook it for heart problems.

The lower abdominal problems were next. Diverticulosis produced pockets in the colon that can be managed by reducing stress and possibly diet. I’m working on both by eating uncomplicated foods in small quantities and adjusting my thought processes to ignore that which I can do nothing about.

The most recent problem occurred 6 months after my 80th birthday: pain in the left hip. Oh no, I thought. Initially I was told that replacements would last 12 to 15 years. Mine have lasted almost 20. The orthopedic doctor’s x-rays concluded that the hip replacements were fine. My problem is tendonitis which takes a ‘long time’ to heal. The doctor offered an anti-inflammatory drug that produced more stomach problems to my already sensitive “gut”.

Next: the fingers on my left hand became numb and tingled. It’s difficult to put on jewelry, button my clothes, open jars and plastic bottles. I asked electrophysiologist Dr. Hummel if this is related to heart problems. He doesn’t think so and suggested I see a neurologist.

The most recent problems are on the left side of my body where besides the tendonitis, colon, lower intestine, and numb fingers are the lower back aches almost constantly. I figured that this is from lack of exercise due to tendonitis.

All of the above was concluded by Certified Nurse Practitioner, Sasha Oumanets, at OSU Wexner Medical Center division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. My appointment with her was the most informative discussion between patient and medical professional that I could ever imagine and hope for.

In conclusion she offered this advice, “Why don’t you see a Chiropractor? All of these problems seem to be located on the left side. Maybe they are all related.”

Find out what happened with the Chiropractor. Meanwhile, check out IN A HEARTBEAT, The Ups and Downs of Life with Atrial Fib. Now getting attention by audiobook readers too.

In a Heartbeat is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
The book is also available at Barnes & Noble as a paperback and Nook book.
Digital versions are available on Kobo and iTunes.
Also available as audio book from Amazon.

Get the book here!
In a Heartbeat on AmazonIn a Heartbeat on Barnes and NobleIn a Heartbeat on KoboIn a Heartbeat on iTunes
In a Heartbeat on iTunes


Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.


No Sex in St Tropez by Rosalie Ungar

Atrial Fib and the Nap

Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.


I once referred to sleeping in the daytime, a nap, as a precious waste of time. I have since changed my mind as with many of my own discoveries from forty or fifty years ago when life was a merry-go-round and I didn’t want to get off.

Mentioning this proclamation in my first memoir, NO SEX IN ST. TROPEZ, written about 1974 Europe, I experienced the short (30 minutes) afternoon rest or snooze while living and working in a French home. After lunch, the major meal of most days, we all retired to the bedrooms or the living room couch or porch lounge for quiet time…the parents, children, aunt, the cat and me.

I rarely slept. Instead I wrote letters or entries in my journal. After naptime, we had a strong cup of French coffee then everyone went on with the day going back to work or shopping or the beach. Shops closed during naptime.

During the last few years between 2:30 and 4:00 PM my memory (short term mostly) doesn’t work as well as it did that morning. I figured that it was the morning exercise that exhausted me, but memory and productivity was even worse on days I didn’t exercise. The work outs became a stimulant for an extra hour or two in the afternoon especially after a short nap.

Finally I saw what was happening when I noticed that along with others we were fighting the aging process. My bouts with atrial fib forced me to rest. Read more about it…IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups and Downs of Life with Atrial Fib–Here

My list for successful naps:

  • Sit in a comfy chair or recliner. Don’t lie down in bed. This tells your body you are taking a nap, not going in for the night. Don’t turn on the TV.
  • Set the clock for 30 to 40 minutes. I use my Smart Phone timer. When it goes off, it’s gentle. It won’t scare you out of the chair.
  • Sleep for 15 or 20 minutes only. It may take you 5 or 10 minutes to fall asleep, but you must clear your mind and not think anything negative or with pressure.
  • Sometimes I fall into a deep sleep, sometimes a light sleep calling it surface sleeping.
  • Upon waking up, try not to jump up with a jolt. I like to get up slowly. By sitting quietly for a few minutes, it gets the mind and body in sync.
  • It’s not until later that the value of that nap is realized. Without the nap, I’m ready for bed after dinner. With the nap I feel better with dinner and for several hours after dinner before retiring for the night.
  • If we have plans to go out for dinner, an event or guests coming over, I can handle it if I’d had a nap. If not, I’m grumpy and little dumb things bother me, using the energy I need somewhere else
  • Best of all, sleep is better that night waking up refreshed the next day.
  • Good sleep is a key to good health, especially good heart health.

Next week’s blog tackles ‘the gut’:

“All disease begins in the gut”– Hippocrates

In a Heartbeat is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
The book is also available at Barnes & Noble as a paperback and Nook book.
Digital versions are available on Kobo and iTunes.
Also available as audio book from Amazon.

Get the book here!
In a Heartbeat on AmazonIn a Heartbeat on Barnes and NobleIn a Heartbeat on KoboIn a Heartbeat on iTunes
In a Heartbeat on iTunes


Heart Disease and Diminishing Diabetes

Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.

“Guess what?” my younger cousin Becky asked; “I just came from my doctor and he said that I don’t need medication for diabetes anymore.”

I can picture her jumping up and down with glee. I couldn’t get over it. I’d never heard of reversing diabetes. I thought it got worse as we age. I felt like jumping up & down for her.

Above are photos of Becky. The one on the right was taken 6 years ago on her 60th birthday at her first Arnold Classic Sports Competition in Columbus. The other one was taken 20 years before when she was diagnosed with diabetes.

Becky’s mother was a diabetic. Becky also has a history of heart problems. Her father, my first cousin, had a history of heart problems. I’ve written several blogs about health and genetics. There’s no dispute any longer that they are related.

She used to be overweight. Not any more as you can see. I used to be overweight. I often heard that regular exercise diminishes the appetite. It did for me and it did for Becky, but not for either of us without knowledge and counseling and over time, making both diet and exercise a habit. Sometimes it takes years.

I’ve lost 40 pounds over the last 5 years. I‘m not diabetic. I don’t exercise everyday anymore but I do stretching twice a day. For being 80 I’m in good managed health and can get up from a floor position without help. The only aches and pains I have are from arthritis which is lessened from stretching.

Both of us are food disciples of not only what to eat, but portions. Portion control is half the battle. Eating too little can also be a problem. Exercise has been touted as the best medication of all. Both need to be taught and tracked.

Twenty years ago I had 2 heart attacks. Heart attacks cause heart muscle damage. It’s rare to reverse damage done to the heart muscle. Nine years ago I was informed by doctors that tests (echo cardiograms) show that I have reversed heart muscle damage and there is no evidence of heart attack damage any longer. Guess how it happened.

Find out in Chapter 20, specifically on page 193 of my memoir IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups and Downs of Life with Atrial Fib. Just click here or on one of the icons below.  You might want to click on iTunes or Audible.com icons for your audiobook version.

I asked Becky for permission to use her story and photos on this blog. She quickly agreed by saying that if this information can help even one person, it’s a blessing. Thanks Becky.

In a Heartbeat is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
The book is also available at Barnes & Noble as a paperback and Nook book.
Digital versions are available on Kobo and iTunes.
Also available as audio book from Amazon.

Get the book here!
In a Heartbeat on AmazonIn a Heartbeat on Barnes and NobleIn a Heartbeat on KoboIn a Heartbeat on iTunes
In a Heartbeat on iTunes


Atrial Fib Related to What?

IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib is not a medical book. It’s my story, containing my medical history and survival while maintaining and thriving with never ending medical problems none of which are cured. Most are managed but new ones occur from time to time.

The latest, intestinal, began gradually just a few years ago. I thought that I was getting more than my share of stomach viruses. When the stomach pains accompanied a bad bout of intestinal disorders leading me to the emergency room, I made an appointment with the gastroenterologist. Tests showed diverticulitis, pockets in the large intestine caused by a number of things…stress, diet and aging. Not heart problems.

I was reluctant to have a colonoscopy thinking that I could manage the problem with diet. I couldn’t and episodes with the same problems got worse. Oftentimes some doctors prefer not to do this test on patients over 75. I’m 80.

Finally I asked the gastroenterologist to schedule the colonoscopy. The test is not so bad but the prep, for a full day before the test, is not fun. It used to be that the kitchen was the most important room in the house, but on that day…it’s the bathroom.

The test took less than 40 minutes. Immediate results were ready for discussion with the doctor and a more detailed report arrived digitally later that day. A biopsy was taken that provided info that no cancer was found. The conclusions were that I have ischemic colitis, whatever that means. I made a follow up appointment with the gastroenterologist, then spent the next 2 hours reading all that I could absorb about ischemic colitis from the internet. Nowhere did I read that my new disease is related to diet or stress. It is, however, related to heart problems as is diabetes and aging.

Am I better? No, but I’m not worse. I’m still reluctant about eating having developed a taste for bland food. I’ve seen 3 dieticians. For the first time in my life, food is not the most important thing.

The bad about my new disease: searching for a comfortable way to manage it and having the confidence to do that. The good things about this new affliction: I don’t have cancer and I lost 40 pounds over the last 3 years. Recently I was referred to as ‘tiny’. I’ve waited all my life to hear those words.

In a Heartbeat is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
The book is also available at Barnes & Noble as a paperback and Nook book.
Digital versions are available on Kobo and iTunes.
Also available as audio book from Amazon.

Get the book here!
In a Heartbeat on AmazonIn a Heartbeat on Barnes and NobleIn a Heartbeat on KoboIn a Heartbeat on iTunes
In a Heartbeat on iTunes