(In the meantime, there are a few other tests they want to conduct, as they search for reasons for the cardiomyopathy, which is now making my heart pump blood at between 35-40% ejection fraction, which is basically bordering on heart failure. These include a sleep study, which will be interesting; the doctors want to rule out sleep apnea, which I don't think I have. They've also increased my medicine.)
In those 6 months, though, my job is to get as healthy as possible. I've gained about 20 pounds in the last year, which I think is mainly the result of fluid buildup (one of the symptoms of cardiomyopathy), as I haven't really been eating unhealthy and I haven't stopped exercising. I've been back on MyFitnessPal for the last couple of weeks, and keeping my daily intake between 2000 and 2500 calories a day, for the most part, which is pretty good for a man who currently weighs well north of 250. I'm trying to get to the gym 5 times a week, and, even when I don't, I've got a daily goal of 100 situps and 100 pushups a day, along with walking my 10,000 steps. Need to be tougher about the gym and not let my work life prevent me from going too often. (Grades are due this week, which has made the gym tough after Monday's epic 95-minute elliptical session.)
I've counted calories, protein, fat, and fiber a lot in the past, but what will be interesting this time is counting sodium. My cardiologist wants me to stay under 1500mg a day, which sounds like a lot, but really isn't. This past weekend, for example, we were eating at P.F. Chang's and a tofu and broccoli lunch was so tasty that I looked up its nutritional information: 4500mg of sodium. Woah! That would have been 3 days worth. I stopped eating at that point, halfway through. My beloved turkey jerky from Trader Joe's is 1080mg for the bag. Turkey bacon, which has become one of my favorite high-protein, low-calorie foods, is about 175mg/piece. My favorite veggie burgers, which I eat a couple times a week, are 260mg/each (that's actually not too bad). I was even shocked today to realize that a bag of baby carrots from Trader Joe's, which I eat daily, has over 500mg of sodium (8 servings of carrots at 65mg/each)!
This is going to be a challenge. While I've started eating some turkey and chicken in recent years, I'm still mostly a vegetarian, and mostly prefer vegetarian (I only started eating meat for a little bit more protein and to make my diet less restrictive). But the meat I have is usually cured (turkey lunch meat, turkey kielbasa, turkey bacon), only occasionally eating fresh chicken breasts or thighs. I love fresh fruits and veggies, but they don't fill me up, usually. I don't plan on starting to eat pork or beef or anything crazy like that, but it seems like it'll be quite a challenge to stay under 1500mg of sodium a day. More eggs, I guess? (62mg/sodium each... not bad).
Cutting sodium will be pretty tough, I can tell. I'll have to do plenty of reading up on it.
I asked a bunch of other questions, as well: 2 cups of coffee a day are fine. Happy Hour and a couple beers a couple times a month are fine. Exercise is good. Weightlifting is fine as long as I don't strain myself and listen to my body.
Hopefully all of this begins to work. The shortness of breath has not gotten better and I know my heart is straining. But it's still nice to know there's an end goal.