I'm actually doing this entry for Cliff and me; it will probably bore my readers, but we need a reminder of the real reason we need to get back to the right kind of eating.When Cliff first came home from having open heart surgery, I was set on cooking the right kinds of foods and serving the proper amounts. I had searched the Internet, gaining all the knowledge I could about heart disease. I was determined to see that my husband got to live every year he had coming to him. I was scared. We would walk every day. I would purge salty foods from the house. We would only eat out once a month.
That resolve lasted about two years. I still don't use added salt in cooking, nor do I put salt in vegetables I can and freeze. We still walk. But little by little we went back to our old way of eating and slowly gained back the weight we had lost. We've been eating out a couple of times a week. We've been having fun, enjoying Cliff's retirement.
Yesterday there was a nagging statistic in the back of my mind trying to get my attention, something I had learned back when Cliff had his surgery. I seemed to recall that open heart surgery is only good for a limited time. You know, like it had an expiration date. I kept meaning to look up the information on the Internet all day, but I didn't get around to it.
This morning I remembered, and did the Google search even before I had my first cup of coffee. Of course, it's hard to weed out the genuine facts from all the junk you find online, but I found what I was looking for in an article on Medline Plus:
The results of CABG usually are excellent. The surgery improves or completely relieves angina symptoms in most patients. Although symptoms can recur, many people remain symptom-free for as long as 10 to 15 years. CABG also may lower your risk of having a heart attack and help you live longer.
You may need repeat surgery if blockages form in the grafted arteries or veins or in arteries that weren't blocked before. Taking medicines and making lifestyle changes as your doctor recommends can lower the risk of a graft becoming blocked.
Wow, what have I been thinking? It's been almost seven years for Cliff, and ten to fifteen years is the best-case scenario. We haven't been doing the things that make for best-case.
CABG is not a cure; it is only a palliative surgery. It is not a permanent cure and therefore a lot of precautions have to be taken to avoid future problems and to keep the graft vessels patent. Therefore patients have to take their medications regularly and religiously. Ideally the patient should be seen 2-3 months after the surgery and thereafter every six months with all necessary investigations to ensure maintenance of optimal health condition.
Talk about a wake-up call! Oh, I knew all this stuff. I practically had it memorized six years ago, but little by little I let all these facts slip out of my consciousness because I like pizza and ice cream.
After you've returned to work and other normal activities, you'll need to make a total lifestyle change your top priority. Clean out your pantry and start from scratch. Pitch the salty, fatty and sugary snacks. If you have congestive heart failure, you'll want to pitch the alcohol, too. It can damage your heart muscle and increase the chances of an abnormal heartbeat