It is exactly 3 years since I had my event.

3 years since some have considered me as a liability. A few have even dismissed me as someone who would need to be taken care of.

3 years since everyone, my doctors, friends, and family told me that I cannot anymore do what I used to be able to physically do. They told me I wouldd have to get used to a new normal and I was never going to be the same again. They were right and wrong at the same time.

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Some of my friends have remarked in the past that I seem not to fear anything. I do have my fears. Everybody does. It’s how we handle our fears that define us.

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I had a Bruce Protocol treadmill stress test done last week. It turned out to be a confirmation of the progress I have made in my recovery from angioplasty due to a heart attack, almost exactly 20 months ago, of an 80% blockage of a major heart artery.

One of the doctors monitoring the test said it succinctly, “You don’t look like a post-angioplasty patient.”

My attending physician said my physical exercise capacity is in the athlete level.

Now, I can slowly introduce the cardio exercise intervals in the circuit training I have been doing for the past 14 months.

19 months ago, I stepped out of the ICU after having survived a heart attack and gone through an angioplasty.

My doctor recommended I exercise, so exactly 12 months ago I joined a gym; 360 Fitness Club. At the start, I could barely make one jumping-start pull up. Today, I can regularly do at least four around-the-world pull-ups. They’re not the prettiest nor perfect in form, but I’ll get there someday.

I was going for five reps, but my heart-rate monitor was screaming at me in anger for hitting my maximum-allowed heart-rate.

An around-the-world pull-up starts with a vertical pull using one arm (I start with the left) to chin the bar. Then a horizontal movement across the bar to the other arm, and down that arm. Up again using the second arm (my right), back across to the first arm, then down. That is one complete around-the-world cycle.

Contrary to popular belief, monitoring cholesterol levels do not give a definite picture of cardiovascular health.

This is because cholesterol is not the cause of heart attack.  Plaque is.  And plaque development is extraordinarily different in every individual.

Our Cholesterol Problem” –

Depending on the individual, stress can contribute to the formation of plaque. There are also studies that being intense is unhealthy for the heart.

For me, this is not good news. Not good at all.

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I was starting to settle in my healthy living via the South Beach Phase 3 (maintenance) diet. However, there was one side-effect that was not beneficial to me. I was losing weight. At an alarming rate.

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I don’t need your pity nor your sympathy.

I do not want to be treated differently.

But, I do need your understanding.

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“How are you?” is the most common question thrown my way since my incident. I hear it almost every day. It’s a question that’s very difficult to answer truthfully.

The expected answer is typically, “I’m okay.” This might even be the socially accepted answer to a non-real social-courtesy question like “how are you?”. Do people honestly want to hear the real answer or do they just follow the norm?

Because, no, I’m not okay. I don’t feel okay. I may look okay, but I’m not.

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Today, I went through my first day of cardiac rehabilitation. I was supposed to start Monday but I caught a cold, cough, and a fever over the weekend and was adviced to have at least a full day’s rest without a fever before getting into therapy.

It used to be that it would take a lot for me to get sick. I, sometimes, even joked about my resilience to the pedestrian illnesses like colds, coughs, fevers, and flus. I seldom get sick, but when I do get sick I get hit by bigger ones like hepatitis, typhoid, appendicitis, and most recently a myocardial infarction (heart attack). Now, i’m not so tough anymore. This could be due to my current state of sadness over my continuing situation, my immune system is low as well.

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