Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

My Health Scare

As I mentioned in a previous entry, my co-worker died while attending a seminar a few months ago. It was such a wake-up call for me in terms of realizing that I needed to reassess my priorities and focus my life on the things that matter to me the most.

Recently, the wife of another co-worker had gotten sick. They took her to the hospital and found out that it was cancer. She died not soon after that. It was heartbreaking to see how it affected my officemate. Apparently, his wife had been keeping how she has been feeling from him and by the time they got around to seeing a doctor, it was too late.

These two deaths made me think about my own health: Two people had commented that I seemed to be out of breath often lately. I always dismissed that by saying that I haven’t gotten used to being overweight and that the excess weight had been making physical exertion from simple things like walking has made it difficult for me. I thought I just got tired easily from the excess weight. I’ve also had a history of asthma, so I thought with the summer heat and all it was probably just that. After those two deaths, I decided to go see a doctor.

photo from 

I went to a new doctor this time since my previous one kept dismissing my health concerns by saying I was just stressed. It was a good thing that I did make the switch since the new doctor, through blood tests and an examination informed me that I was at risk of a heart attack. That was a big shock to me.

My doctor informed me that I had tachycardia, that my heart was beating too fast and it had to be slowed down because the fast beating meant that my heart was having difficulty pumping blood to my body. He attributed the problem to the heart condition I’ve had since I was a child.  Given that I had high cholesterol and blood sugar plus my excess weight, I was at risk of a heart attack. He said it was lucky that I didn’t have high blood pressure as well. 

Admittedly, I was scared that my health was that bad. So scared that I strictly followed everything that my doctor told me. The medication, the diet, the limited exercise (I was told not to do cardio, the most I could do was walk) ...I did it all. After a month, my sky-high cholesterol and high blood sugar had dropped down to normal. I lost 11 lbs. My heart was no longer tachycardic, thanks to the medication given to me. I was no longer at risk of having a heart attack. Still, my doctor told me that it doesn’t mean I go back to the way I was before my first checkup. I had to maintain the diet and walking, along with some medication to maintain my current condition. 

People at work later told me that they had been worried about my breathing in the past but never felt it was their place to say anything. I’m just grateful that I had the wake-up call when I did to check on my health (and my heart in particular). I was so focused on the thyroid issues that I completely ignored the heart condition that I’ve had for years. Now I know that just because it hasn’t been a problem in years that it can’t be a problem again in the future. Now that I’m aware of that, I know I must take better care of myself.

The health scare has made me more careful at work. I don’t want to stress myself too much – I can always find something else to do to earn money, but I can never get my life back if I lose it. These days I try to delegate more. I make it a point to travel less or not to travel at all if possible. I don’t stress about the things that need to be done. I don’t rush the way I used to. I take my time with what I need to do and if I feel tired, I take a break instead of pushing myself and running myself ragged over things that don’t need to be rushed. 

I’m at a crossroads at work and given my health issues and concerns, I’m also taking the time to think about where I want to be soon. Several opportunities are being offered to me but I’m not sure of which one to choose, or if I should choose none of them at all and be brave enough to do something on my own. I just know that now is the best time to think about these things. It’s time to weigh my options and see where my future should be. Now that I have a new lease on life (again, the first time being when I had a thyroid operation and biopsy), I need to make the best of it.  


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