Today I went for my stress test at The Heart House…my cardiologist had wanted me to get another stress test this year since I’ve had so much stress in my life recently. I think the two most stressful things in one’s life are losing a spouse and purchasing a house…and to think that I experienced both within the past six months…not only losing my spouse after almost 25 years…but buying a second property when I have enough stress with my primary residence to fill the circumference of my world 10 times over (especially with my bamboo backyard that is fast becoming like jack and the beanstalk every time I look out the window).
I’ve had a stress test before. I don’t like to have all that colorful dye pumped into my body…and I really don’t like to lie on that machine that takes pictures of my heart…it makes me feel like I’m going into outer space…but I did it and I survived. Yes, I got my heart rate up to 150+ in about eight minutes. The technician said I looked like I was in great shape (“Thank you very much,” I said smiling…glad that she noticed my arm muscles from my days at the gym).
“However, you’re not as fast as you were last year,” the technician said.
“Well, I’m 50 now,” I said, “I guess I’m in a different category.”
But, I was proud of what I had accomplished today…that is until I got the dreaded phone call from my doctor.
“I saw something abnormal on your stress test,” she said, “something that might look like a clogged artery…it might be nothing…but you should have an angiogram…just to make sure.”
OMG…OMG…I thought I was superwoman…I thought everything was okay…a potential clogged artery…I’m 50 and I may have a potential clogged artery…but I eat well…and I exercise…and my weight is down…I know I don’t sleep very well…and I am under a whole lot of stress…but the potential that I could have a clogged artery threw me into a tizzy.
“Calm down,” I tried to say to myself…after I called all my friends. “Calm down Judi…practice your mindful meditation…live in the present…you cannot change your age or your body now…just go have the angiogram…and stop worrying…and..okay.. stop eating those chocolate covered malted milkballs you bought in Atlantic City at that fantastic candy shop this weekend…and the chocolate covered gummie bears…stop eating that artery clogging candy.”
And get some sleep like The Sleep Doctor Michael Breus says to do…yes…I met The Sleep Doctor last week and he had some good tips on his blog…maybe if I get more sleep it will help tone down my stress level and prevent me from having heart disease or clogged arteries. Here’s what Dr. Breus says to do to help avoid a heart attack:
“It’s worth noting that adequate sleep can lower your risk for heart disease and lower some of the risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. In addition, sleep takes the edge out of our stressful lives and helps us restore our bodies for the next busy day.” Dr. Breus’ preventive tips include:
–“Get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked and under control if high watch your girth-women should have a waist no larger than 25 inches around; for men it’s 40 inches.” (I can check this off…although I may have to lose an inch or two off the waist.)
–“Be active most, if not all, days of the week.” (I’m trying to get to the gym more often.)
–“Quit smoking.” (Never have and never will start.)
–“Eat well—a high-fiber, low fat diet.” (Good, I do eat well…most of the time…okay I do cheat with chocolate covered gummie bears…and a few malted milkballs…they are my favorite candies…but, I eat my Kashi Heart to Heart and Good Friends cereal every day…or almost every day and I eat lots of fruits and veggies.)
–“Get plenty of rest, get plenty of rest, get plenty of rest.” (Not too good with this tip…I’m definitely sleep deprived.)
Okay, so I am stressed out from my stress test and my stressful day…think I’ll get some rest like Dr. Brueus recommends…and then I’ll live in the present like mindfulness meditation leader Dr. Michael Baime says to do…yes, I’m going to try to throw the ‘worry’ word out the window for now…at least for another day…and have a good night’s sleep…with sweet dreams (don’t have to worry about any artery clogging in my sweet dreams).
This is good advice for all of us. It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when we are stressed, but it’s the best thing we can do for ourselves.
I’m laughing at your comment that the stress test stressed you out!
Did you know that many people suffer from a spike in their blood pressure from just walking into a doctor’s office? And then they take our blood pressure!
Ah, stress, Diva Debbie talked about it on her blog too – is it “Stress Week”?
I live under stress constantly. I “work well” under stress but I don’t “live well” under stress – and sleep is going to be a higher priority with me these coming weeks!
Women should have a waist no more than 35 inches, not 25 inches, thank god!