All I can say is gosh … I don’t know where to start …
I am very lucky in that I have private healthcare through my employers and they gave me a choice of three cardiologists that I could see, one of them being Dr Ali Khavandi. I did, as you would, look them all up on Google whilst sitting on the front at Weston Super Mare one very cold day last October. There was something about Ali, (so my husband called the insurers back), and my first appointment was made with Dr Ali Khavandi for a week later.
The rest is history as they say …
I really was not in a good place mentally when I first meet Ali, which made it very difficult for him to deal with me. As for my physical well-being, that had gone out the window long ago. I had my huge ‘slap in the face’ wake-up call (as I like to call it), back last September, whilst sitting at my desk at work. I was taken off to A and E by ambulance where I spent all day and evening, being given medications, having tests and x- rays done. I was sent home with an angina spray (as they could not rule out angina). They did not get one clear ECG from me and I was advised to attend a chest pain clinic!
Hence, home I come to meet Ali.
Last September, I could not walk upstairs without getting out of breath and I would take the lift at work to go one floor. I would have hissy fits if I could not park right by the door of the building or supermarkets. I had very swollen ankles and feet, had trouble getting off the sofa and felt out of breath putting my shoes on. I had done this to myself – I love chocolate and biscuits and sugar and bread and crisps … need I go on! I did no exercise of any form as I was too damn chubby! LOL!
So, I met Ali several times whilst he carried out various tests/procedures on me and thankfully nothing serious was wrong with my heart, other than some plaque. It came to light I had very high blood pressure, (my cholesterol was within normal limits thankfully).
I have since lost a significant amount of weight and as for my physical well-being, there is just no comparison. Walking has become my passion and I do believe this to be my saviour … also for my emotional well-being. I also have completed 10-week exercise programme, with classes twice a week. Then I signed back up for another 10 weeks, this time with classes once a week.
My blood pressure now remains constant. However, I am not yet brave enough to stop my meds for that. I have had a few wobbles recently and once I am back to work full time, I will stop that medication to see if my change in lifestyle/diet can maintain that consistency.
I have completely stopped excess sugar intake – in hot drinks or loaded onto cereal. In fact, I no longer have cereal in my diet, other than porridge oats. I absolutely love breakfast cereals but it’s just easier for me not to have it. If I had never have chosen Dr Ali Khavandi on that cold day, I am not sure where my path would have taken me. For one I would never have found out about Cardiologist’s Kitchen. Yes, my diet could still be a lot better I am sure, (I tried chick peas and green lentils for the first-time last week but sadly cannot get beetroot or tomatoes anywhere near my mouth).
Not so much now, but late last year and certainly up to around April time this year, once I started feeling in general better, Ali and the CardioFitr exercise team where such a huge part of my recovery. From the bottom of my heart I will always be in debt to them. Ali certainly has seen me at my worst and now he has seen ‘the changed me’.
When you look at the diet and exercise programme – really, there are simple small changes that need to be made, but it took the wheels completely coming off my bus to realise that. However, I am a huge believer that things happen for a reason, and as much as I hope I never experience the last 8 months again, if my ‘slap in the face’ did not happen, where would I be? It is the huge question.
I certainly would have been very lost without my husband. He was making all my appointments for me and driving me everywhere (I didn’t drive for 6 weeks). I had to take the bull by the horns as I could never let my mental health beat me (never did I think I would ever have suffered with the breakdown I did or even to suffer with mental health issues. It just shows, you just don’t know what’s around the corner).
Deep down I knew physically I could not keep going as I was. I am not a Mum, but I have two fantastic nieces and two fantastic nephews who are my world and I made a promise to each of them they would get back the auntie that they knew, and I would no longer have to say ‘NO, we can’t go to the park’, as physically I could not manage it. Now they get me on the trampoline!