A life update

I stopped blogging for awhile there, huh?

Let me try to let you know what’s happened since I stopped doing the daily recovery posts back in December.

I guess the most important thing is that my heart recovered.

results showing a normal ejection fraction of 55-60%

My echocardiogram results, February 1, 2017

This news came on February 1 with an echocardiogram. I was astonished; I thought my heart might have improved a little, but the result was an ejection fraction of 55-60% (normal). Heart Failure Part Deux was far shorter than the first time around! I credit it to three things: 1) the heart medication, obviously; 2) I changed my diet and started exercising right away; and 3) I started out 120 pounds lighter than I was the last time. I am pretty confident that #3 played a major role, and I am so thankful to have had weight loss surgery.

Other than that, I have been playing Medication Roulette and going to therapy to deal with various things. Sometimes it seemed to be going well and then something would go wrong. Things seem to be looking more promising now. We’ll see, I guess. The latest issue is that a medication I was taking was causing me to be tired all the time. No amount of sleep was ever enough; I was always drowsy and had no energy to do anything. So I switched off it back to a lower dose of one I had been taking before. We had switched off that one because I had an anxiety attack and things got really, really bad, but I think the problem was that the dose had been increased. So back to the original dose. Fingers crossed. (I can’t take extended release medications, and this seems to rule out a lot of options.)

Unfortunately, coming off the medicine that made me drowsy has been very difficult. At first we tried cold turkey, but doing that made me too sick to function. Next we tried to wean me off it, which went better at first, but now, at the end of the weaning period I seem to not have weaned slowly enough. More on this below, but first some fun things.

The winter was pretty mild, with occasional arctic blasts, resulting in Gibbs Gardens’ daffodils blooming early. They moved their opening from March 1 to February 18; I went on Sunday, February 19, because Saturday was rainy. It was a beautiful day and the daffodils were everywhere.

wide shot of daffodils all over a hill

Daffodils at Gibbs Gardens, February 19, 2017

daffodils in the foreground extending all the way back to the horizon up a hill

Daffodils at Gibbs Gardens, February 19, 2017

closeup of two daffodils with other daffodils behind them

Daffodils at Gibbs Gardens, February 19, 2017

There were also cherry blossoms!

detail shot of cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms at Gibbs Gardens, February 19, 2017

It got kind of cold again for awhile, but then on March 11 I went hiking at Vickery Creek in Roswell. It was a fantastic hike and I want to go back soon…especially since I didn’t get to see the mill ruins. (I did see the manmade waterfalls though!)

a broad manmade spillway

Roswell Mill waterfall, Vickery Creek, March 11, 2017

On March 19 I went to Arabia Mountain with Charles and Heidi. We took their dog Ginny with us :) I had been to the area before on my own, but I was on the wrong side of the street and never climbed the actual mountain. We did the Mountain Top Trail. Arabia Mountain is like Stone Mountain, except it’s smaller and it has these amazing little pools of plant life in its “craters”. One of the plants is this strange, almost coral-looking red stuff called diamorpha. It was everywhere and I got lots of pictures.

a wide shot of odd red plants inside a rocky crater

Diamorpha at Arabia Mountain, March 19, 2017

I was unable to hike, or really go anywhere, this past weekend due to withdrawal symptoms from the medication I switched off of. I actually had to leave work early because of it. I would get extraordinarily dizzy, and when I’d move my eyes I’d hear strange echoes in my head. It was very unpleasant. The symptoms lasted until Monday morning, when I gave in and took half a pill. Since then I’ve been all right, but I’m prepared to take another one tomorrow if necessary, because that dizziness is no joke.

I want to try to hike/visit a garden every weekend now that the weather’s nice, because being outside makes me feel so great. I’m considering Piedmont Park and the Botanical Garden for this weekend but I heard on the radio that Zoo Atlanta has a new Treetop Trail and it sounds really fun. There’s also Kennesaw Mountain, which I’ve been to before but never in spring, and Smith-Gilbert Gardens, and Sweetwater Creek, and Stone Mountain, as well as plenty of places I haven’t been yet.

Just thinking about being outside has made me feel a lot better than I did when I started writing this post :)

Well, I’m sure I could ramble on about more stuff, but it’s past my bedtime, so I’ll sign off here.

I’m tired of doing daily recovery posts

I do like that I have been keeping a nice record of my life, since I hadn’t been doing that for a long time and I missed it, but remembering to write something every day is getting difficult. Or boring. I don’t know.

Anyway, my weight is staying pretty stable, I’m still eating terribly, my mood is great (I feel normal, I still have regular emotions but I am not controlled by them), I’m still getting sleepy during the day and in the evening but it’s not as bad as it was, I have a new online friend and she is really fun, Sean and I have finalized Christmas plans, I still haven’t put up our tree (and now I’m thinking I may not do it), I need to bake cookies today for the cookie swap I organized at work, and I also need to get back to writing (I’ve been slacking off).

I went to Gibbs Gardens yesterday and it was fantastic. No one else was there; it was 40 degrees out. A lot of the trees still had red leaves, so it looked beautiful and I had it all to myself. It was so great.

No red leaves in this picture, but here I am!

me sitting on a rock at Gibbs Gardens

I also had therapy yesterday, and my therapist was like “Maybe we should start talking about whether or not you need to keep coming here.” :D I told her I would like some help with setting and achieving goals, so we’re going to start working on that.

Heart-wise, today my dose of coreg doubled. My dose of lisinopril doubled two weeks ago. The last time I had CHF, I could not tolerate this dose of coreg; I had weird visual side effects. I guess we’ll see what happens.

CHF Recovery: Day 44

  • Got up at 7:45 (I had set an alarm) and got dressed in workout clothes
  • Checked the weather to see when the optimal time to go to Gibbs Gardens would be
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Spent some time online reading and talking with people
  • Ended up leaving an hour later than planned
  • Went to Gibbs Gardens

I sort of exhausted myself? I was expecting to be able to do some power walking but it was all I could do to just walk normally while stopping for photos. I was so tired by the time I made it up to the Manor House that I had to sit there for a very long time to recover. And that was after I had had lunch, which I had thought would help.

Lunch was chicken salad on cranberry walnut bread with barbecue chips and water, btw, and it was really good.

  • Came home tired and grumpy and went immediately to bed at 4pm
  • Got up from nap at around 7:45pm
  • Made myself some eggs (over medium/hard because I left them in the pan too long) and toast
  • Chatted online and read stuff
  • Went to bed around 1am

Oops

I dropped my camera. My brand-new camera.

I didn’t have the strap attached properly, and when I shifted the camera to the side to get to my wallet, one side slipped out of the holder and the camera went straight down to the tile floor.

The battery flew out and the lens cap came off. I retrieved them and the little fastener thing that holds the strap. A group of people chorused “Ohhhh!” but no one asked if I needed help, which was fine, because I was extremely embarrassed.

I popped the battery back in and took a test picture, and the camera seems to be fine. I then spent an awkward five minutes putting the strap on correctly.

That, plus the somewhat raw throat and achy head that make me wonder if I’m not quite over being sick, plus the heat—the fact that I’ve been at Gibbs Gardens for just ten minutes and am already coated in a sheen of sweat—have put a damper on my excitement for the day. On top of that, there are already so many people here. I kind of want to lie down and take a nap.

But it’s been forever since I’ve been here, and it’s a long drive, and the birds and bugs are singing and it’s a beautiful day, so I am going to make the most of it.