First, a little background for the newbies (like anyone really cares).
Way back on July 31, 2006 (at 6:35am, to be precise) I smoked my last cigarette. I've been completely tobacco free ever since. Smartest thing I ever did.
I'd never really been concerned about my health before. I never got any check ups or physicals because I knew they would just tell me to quit smoking. Don't need to pay someone to tell me something I already know.
So when my workplace announced a Wellness Fair in October of 2006, I decided to get checked out. Establish a baseline of where I stood.
I fully expected them to tell me I had waited too long to quit smoking and only had hours to live.
To my amazement, things weren't quite that dire:
Fasting Glucose: 91 (Normal Range 65-100)
Random Glucose: 96 (Normal Range <140)
So I wasn't diabetic.
Cholesterol: 246 (Normal Range <200)
Triglycerides: 66 (Normal Range <150)
HDL Cholesterol (the good kind): 138 (Normal Range >41)
LDL Cholesterol (the bad kind): 95 (Normal Range 0-99)
Total Cholesterol to HDL Ratio: 1.8 (Normal Range <4.5)
For a red-meat carnivore, my cholesteral was amazingly good!
I don't have the numbers to post, but the one downside was that my blood pressure was pretty high. [regular readers just dropped their jaws and said "GEE! Ya fucking think?!?!"]
I emailed my doctor (yeah, he's cool like that) with the results and he gave me a prescription for lisinopril, with instructions to follow up with an office visit in 30 days. I kinda forgot about that follow-up part and kept on taking the lisinopril for the next year.
I had a nagging cough that I just attributed to smoking for 30+ years. I wasn't even a year off the tobacco. I couldn't expect a miracle recovery. It takes time.
Then, in February, I experienced some chest pains that scared me. I was sure it was nothing. But I also knew I was 50+ years old, mostly sedentary, had a history of smoking and high blood pressure. How stupid would I be not to have it checked out? I drove myself to Liberty Hospital. They did all of the tests they would normally do on someone who showed up in the ER with chest pains and gave me a clean bill of health.
Whatever it was, it wasn't a heart attack. But they prescribed a Stress Echo Cardiogram, just in case.
I passed THAT test with flying colors.
Then, right around Thanksgiving, I had reason to believe that I should have some other things checked.
I made a list.
Follow-up blood work.
Follow-up blood pressure.
Chronic cough and other respritory issues.
When I told my doctor about my cough, he said that this long after quitting smoking, that probably wasn't the culprit. But he indicated that one of the side effects of Lisinopril (and all ACE inhibitors) is a dry cough. Which I would have known if I had followed up with him (as he instructed) after 30 days. So I had endured a year of unneccesary coughing because I was stupid. No big surprise there!
He switched me to Benicar. Cough is mostly gone and getting better all the time.
He scheduled me for a chest X-Ray. I was sure they would find me riddled with cancer. The chest X-Ray came back clean. So I'm all good there.
He sent me to get some blood work done. Liver and kidney all functioning fine. Unfuckingbelievable.
When I was in his office, he wanted to do a "digital exam". I told him that I was kinda hoping that we could avoid that today and maybe combine it with the prostrate exam and colonoscopy. Sort of a one stop shopping approach.
He said "Well, as long as you brought it with you..." SNAP (of the latex glove)!
He rooted around, wrote something down and gave me a referral for a colonoscopy.
The blood work on the PSE (Prostrate Specific Antigen) came back good.
"PSA test results report the level of PSA detected in the blood. The test results are usually reported as nanograms of PSA per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood. In the past, most doctors considered PSA values below 4.0 ng/mL as normal. However, recent research found prostate cancer in men with PSA levels below 4.0 ng/mL (2). Many doctors are now using the following ranges with some variation:
0 to 2.5 ng/mL is low.
2.6 to 10 ng/mL is slightly to moderately elevated.
10 to 19.9 ng/mL is moderately elevated.
20 ng/mL or more is significantly elevated."
My test came back as .89 nanograms per milliliter. So I certainly don't have any prostrate problems.
So, despite a half a century of unhealthy habits, I seem to be incredibly healthy. I'm packing more weight than I'm comfortable with and my blood pressure is still an issue. But other than that, I'm good to go!
My biggest fear now is that I will actually live long enough to regret the fact that I squandered what meager retirement funds I had.
That would suck ass.