There is light at the end of the tunnel....

by Jimmy Coleman
(Fort Worth, TX)

There is light at the end of the tunnel.... Not that light, and not that tunnel. About eight years ago I found out that I had a blood disorder. Actually that is a lie, it was on 11/11/2005 at 10:55 AM. Our "family" Doctor informed me that I had acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Yes that's correct, I had 7 t-cells left.  The definition of this means AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the final stage of HIV disease, which causes severe damage to the immune system. I am going to call bullshit on that one!!!! Because I can!!!! It is a day that I will never forget, nor did I see coming. I had dizziness the day prior while we were building a gazebo in our backyard and that is the reason I went to see our doctor. It took awhile to accept and quite awhile to get my body under control. But I got better. I am totally undetectable as far as that aspect of my life is concerned. Also my partner and I are going on 17 years together. He is lucky, he has not had to deal with anything I have had to deal with. Well not as far as having them happen to him. This past June, I was at a friends house, and I felt off... tired.. Which is so not me. I told him I felt off. That maybe I was having a heart attack. We always joked, and I wasn't exactly sure if I was. I got in my car and started to drive home. I got to the corner and decided that I wasn't going home. I was going to the ER down the street. I light my last cigarette of my life. I drove to the ER, and sat outside smoking that cigarette. When I finished it I walked into the ER and told the desk nurse I was having a heart attack. Guess what? I was! Turns out, in hind site, I had three prior to my.. Oh wait jumping ahead. I was admitted to NRH and was scheduled for a stint. I remember being wheeled/gurneyed in and shaking uncontrollably then out! The next thing I know I am awake in my room and told I am going to have to have a quadruple bypass. And so I did. It went pretty smooth. I am 47 years old. I did have issues with a collapsed lung and was told I wasn't going home until I could breathe properly... I went home on day 12 on oxygen. I did very good for quite awhile and was scheduled for rehabilitation therapy but found out I had the onset of pneumonia. Lucky me! I had in home health care that came in a couple times a week and a physical therapist that came three times a week. I really think that helped me. I did have weird stuff that I wondered if I was going crazy.  I had pains in my chest, a pain that felt like I had a piece of wire sticking me from the inside. I couldn't wear a shirt because it actually hurt. I was that sensitive. The not being able to go number two. Now to break these down... The pain of being stuck in the chest was in my mind, and several others that I met at therapy. Yes I went and graduated halfway thru. the inability to be able to stand a shirt, I used the stuff bikers used for muscle pain, tiger balm or the roll on muscle pain reliever. the not being able to go.... I stopped taking the pain pills and kept taking a stool softener. You might want to keep those around... It takes quite awhile to get back to normal.  I am now on my 7th month. I just started to go to the gym and walk on the treadmill for an hour. I do a 3.2 incline and a speed of 3.5. My Ldls are still high but I am working on that. My weight is still high, I went from 209 to 230 and am now trying to go back down. I have been hitting the gym for a week now and have gone down to 226.5. Only time will tell. So I guess the moral of this story is: You can do it. Just hang in there. It gets better. It hurts, but it does get better. Believe me, I am living proof!!! There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

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