Here I find myself in week 8 – boy that went by fast – it’s already week 8! Week 6 was fairly uneventful, just a recuperation of week 4’s carbs. You know, the saying is true: the older you get, the harder it becomes. That applies in this case to a few extra slices of bread in “Carb Week” – oy. But last week, week 7, began as good as one could hope for.

I had my scheduled appointment with my brand new cardiologist – the young and incredibly impressive Dr. Chandy at Columbia Memorial Health in Hudson, NY. First off, her nurse was incredibly nice, but informative and helpful, too. To me that’s important because they set the tone for your visit. Then in came Dr. Chandy – and frankly I wasn’t sure what to expect. You never do when meeting a new doctor. But my mom had told me that she’s very nice, and she’d know because Dr. Chandy is also her cardiologist. But I essentially laid the cards out on the table right off the bat with Dr. Chandy: I’ve become a statistic.

And frankly, I hate it.

But there’s nothing that I can do about it, except do what I’m doing: try to prevent myself from becoming yet another statistic! So I obviously told her that she saw my mom earlier that day, and that my dad sees her co-worker Dr. Akter (who saved his life), and that I’m worried about my own cardiac health. … Well, that was the long-story-short of it. But ahead of going in with the nurse, I had of course filled out paperwork, and both the nurse and Dr. Chandy reviewed it carefully. But then, you know what Dr. Chandy did? She took the time.

She took the time to review the paperwork that I had filled out. She took the time to listen to my concerns. She took the time to ask me questions. She took the time to pay me the respect that all patients deserve, and she made me feel that she would be a partner in my health journey.

And that is what I want.

We discussed my family history and cardiac health. We discussed my lifestyle and habits – both eating and exercise. And I told her the complete truth about it all. We discussed my cholesterol – specifically my LDL, which is higher than we’d like it to be. We discussed my worries, my concerns, and my desire to be proactive and do everything in a preventative way. We also discussed cardiac health and some research.

The conclusion was that I don’t need to worry just because my LDL is elevated. I don’t have to think that I’m going to have cardiac issues just because my parents and grandparents have had them – as long as I keep eating healthy and as long as I do much more about staying active. She said that it is ideal to move or exercise (elevate your heart rate) for 30 minutes a day – at least 5 days a week. I told her that I hate to run, she told me to take a brisk walk. I told her I love a good walk. We understood each other.

I told her that that seems very do-able, a 30 minute walk or something else that keeps me moving. Honestly, if you really think about, that doesn’t seem like much movement at all! And that’s being totally honest. But alas, when we find ourselves in our everyday lives – taking out a block of 30 minutes (or more) can be challenging sometimes. I’m so guilty of that! So for now, if I manage to specifically move for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week – everything else will just be a bonus! So here’s hoping for lots of bonuses in life.

Back to the appointment and to wrap it up for you, the visit with Dr. Chandy was very encouraging. I felt really great afterwards, because I’ve been so worried for exactly a year now – since my dad’s “surprise” operation. To hear what she had to say … it was honestly like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. BUT that doesn’t mean that I can just sit back and do nothing. I have work to do – and lots of it. And that is the only thing that will keep me from becoming another statistic.

I have to just continue on with my good eating habits, while always tweaking them. With that said, I just got another Mediterranean Diet recipe book, and Dr. Chandy said that that diet has a lot of health benefits when I specifically asked her about it – but she said that almost all of the food groups have merit, but all in moderation. Again, I understood what she was saying – everything in moderation and use common sense. Message received.

But my biggest project will be to exercise more. I work in a very sedentary job – I work in front of a computer all day – however, the rising sun and warmer weather is certainly helping. Last week I took a couple of walks, as I did today, and I’ve been taking the long way to the parking lot after work to get to my car. I’m enjoying the extra steps and extra breaths of fresh air. I just have to do more! So that’s my big project now – to get out more, to keep working with Masha, and to get back on the yoga schedule. Let’s see how this week pans out, but I foresee quite a few walks – especially because the weather is supposed to be pretty phenomenal. I’m excited! So until next time, outside we go!