Thursday, June 23, 2022

decent BP

Took my blood pressure for the first time in a long time.


A wee bit high (classic BP is 120/80), but I'll take those numbers.

I had mentioned my appointment this coming July 21, a bit less than a month from now. Well, the big news is that I'm making a command decision to stop visiting the hospital. I intend to go back to my internal-medicine doctor, who will be pleased to see my numbers. I'll need to catch my doc up on the fact that I had a stroke over a year ago, and I'll be showing him the prescription for the meds the hospital has had me on. In principle, he'll go along with the hospital's wisdom and keep prescribing me the same meds, although it's possible that the scrip might change according to his judgment.

There are several advantages to going back to my regular doctor. First, I don't need to formally schedule an appointment: at his place (in the building where I work), everything is done on a walk-in basis. Second, while the price of my meds will remain the same (expensive, by Korean standards, at over W100,000 for 100 days' worth of pills), the price of the doctor visit will be much, much less. My doc can also do blood-panel work just as the hospital can; I'll just have to be more aggressive about asking questions regarding, say, my triglyceride count. (The doc was always good about telling me my A1c.) Another big advantage is time: a doctor visit takes only a few minutes, whereas a hospital visit—because it involves bureaucracy—lasts a goodly chunk of my day. Frankly, that's becoming tiresome. The hospital also asked me, last time I was there, to prepare to give two blood samples next time I visited, and I don't really want to do that. They said they wanted the second blood sample after I had had a chance to eat something, so to me, that sounds as if they want to see how quickly my fasting-glucose numbers recover. Recovery rate is tied to metabolic syndrome: your blood sugar naturally spikes whenever you eat something; in healthy people, that spike ought to disappear in about an hour. Personally, I think testing my recovery rate is unnecessary; as long as my A1c is in the diabetic range, it should be obvious I'm suffering from metabolic syndrome. So that's another reason not to visit the hospital: unnecessary testing.

With the meds I currently have, I think I can stretch my time such that I can visit my doc in late August instead of in late July. I'll just take my current pills (I have a month's worth left) every other day. Docs will frown on that course of action, but I'm significantly healthier than I was before my stroke, and I suspect I can get away with this course of action for two months without suffering any ill effects.

It's tempting to celebrate the decision to cancel my hospital visits by going nuts and having a cheat day right now, but I plan to stay the course and behave until I see the doc in August. I do have two cheat days approaching: June 30 and July 4. I also have a steak luncheon I'll be prepping for my former team (this luncheon is to make good on a promise I made over two years ago); that'll likely happen in early August. Hopefully, the August luncheon won't affect my numbers much if I diet strictly right afterwards.

My current dietary regimen:

MTW: fasting
RF: light Newcastle regime (1200 calories/day*)
Sa: a single diet shake
Su: keto (usually one keto meal + a keto dessert**)

Fasting for the first three days of the week feels like an eternity; it's not easy. But 72 hours is a good length of time for me, and it obviates the need to cook anything. Four days of fasting is pushing it, and at Day 5, I start to get weak and woozy. I've done seven days before, as you'll recall, but I'm dead by the end. Three days of fasting isn't enough to make me weak; I can exercise without worrying about fainting in mid-walk or mid-jog.

Oh, yeah: I'm jogging a bit more now. Still only doing a single kilometer, which isn't much, but I've gone from 60 jogging paces (and by "pace" I mean right-left = 1 pace) and 40 walking paces to 70 jogging paces and 30 walking paces. My goal is to progress from 60/40 to 70/30 to 80/20 to 90/10... until I'm eventually jogging the entire kilometer. A single kilometer isn't much, I realize, but that'll represent a moral victory for me.

My exercise schedule has resolved itself, finally, into something reasonable. On MWF, I walk at least 140 minutes and jog my kilometer. I do the chest-press and lat-pulldown machines while I'm still outside, then I go back to my apartment and do the rest of my exercises: hammer curls, bent-over rows, modified shoulder presses, planking on my knees, knee raises, and gentle squats. On TR (T = Tuesday; R = Thursday), I just walk 90-ish minutes and do the stairs with a 5-kilo weight vest on. Saturdays are still reserved for long, 18K-plus walks (roughly 18-35K, depending on my route). Sundays are for resting, and possibly for coming into the office if I have extra work to do.

Weight-wise... I'm not going to make 95 kg by July 21 (the original date of my hospital appointment), but I'll get there by late August for sure. The exercise regimen has definitely helped my blood pressure; I imagine it's going to help me burn more calories and lose weight in the long run. I'll have more to report later. I do dread the arrival of summer, though: jogging is going to be hell when it's warm and humid even at night.

And that's it for now. I took a blood-sugar reading this morning, and it was a bit high at 117, possibly due to the so-called "dawn phenomenon," in which your blood sugar naturally spikes in the morning. But I expect that to go down over the next two months, with any subsequent spikes not exceeding 99. I'll report again when I have something to report.


*No more of that 800-calorie-a-day insanity.

**My keto dessert is normally Greek yogurt plus blueberries with a sweetener like allulose or erythritol. Berries are among the few fruits available on keto.


John Mac said...

Sounds ambitious but doable. Good luck!

I know I don't have the self-discipline required to fast, especially for three straight days. Intermittent fasting is more my style, albeit less effective.

You have made amazing progress since the stroke, so keep that in mind as you move forward. You may not always reach your goals on schedule, but your efforts are paying off. Well done!

Kevin Kim said...

Thanks. Still a long way to go.