Does This Mean Something?

I am an 80-year-old guy who just wants to live his life without complaint. I love life and people. I ride a recumbent trike with electric assist and insist on pedaling more than using the battery. I love being outdoors, but can no longer mow my own lawn or pick up a snow shovel.

If I bend down to pick something up, I have a tendency to fall forward. In 1996 I underwent a single bypass, LAD, and was informed that in less than 10-years I would have another. Twenty-six years later, that has not happened. Perhaps I’ve been living right! Not!

Diagnosed with congestive heart failure

A couple of years ago, I failed my stress test. My heart rate was too low and I had to stop about halfway through. The following week I became the proud owner of a pacemaker. It felt good to have a regular, healthy heartbeat.

In 2020 I began having difficulty breathing. As a lung cancer survivor, I was sure it had returned, just to keep me humble. However, the cancer is fine, in complete remission, but my newest diagnosis was none other than congestive heart failure (CHF). I learned that being short of breath was a major side effect. I also learned that fatigue is a big thing in this CHF business. So is dizziness! Just going up a short set of steps to our back door will often leave me having to catch my breath. That part is never fun.

Ankylosing spondylitis, too

Interestingly enough, in 2019, I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a disease I’ve apparently had since age 20. The difficulty here is that both of these diseases have several of the same or similar side effects; dizziness and fatigue, being two of the biggest similarities.

AS is painful, affecting my spinal nerves and joints pretty much from my neck to my feet. Most of the pain is tolerable for me, although it slows me down. On the other hand, CHF limits me in such a way that I will cancel my physical activity plans at a moment's notice due to sudden fatigue or tiredness causing me to nap through a good portion of the morning. I get dizzy at the drop of a hat. I cough a lot without much in the way of productiveness. If my cough happens while walking, I have to stop until the dizziness goes away.

My mind goes in different directions as I think about all of my afflictions that prevent me from doing everything I’d like to be doing, but I always come back to the same place, admitting that life is good and I’ve lived a pretty long one so far. Tomorrow is another day and there is more to do.

Eric
Cycling on the rail trail

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