On getting religion (but not how you think)

Having turned 50 two weeks ago, I went in for my Old Man Physical this past Tuesday (Aug 9th). Chest x-ray and EKG apparently were fine, as were most of my blood results…but not my cholesterol.

A couple of years ago, I finally acknowledged that it couldn’t be managed by diet alone and started taking a statin (lovastatin). Made a huge mistake last summer when I ran out of the prescription refills and didn’t go back to the doc for more. I went about three months without meds and when I had a wellness screening at work, the results were not good. So back on the lovastatin – though curiously at a lower dose than before.

Back in April, I had another blood test done, and my numbers were still not good:

  • Triglycerides – 205 (supposed to be < 150)
  • HDL – 35 (supposed to be >39)
  • LDL – 105 (<75)
  • Total cholesterol – 181

So my doc wanted to try Niaspan (500 mg). Imagine my surprise when I googled it and found out that Niaspan is just niacin. Theraoutic dose niacin, but still niacin. Well, I went four months on it and found out the blood results on Thursday:

  • Triglycerides – 351 (!!!)
  • HDL – 32 (down?!)
  • LDL – 101
  • Total cholesterol – 203

Yeah. Uncool. The nurse said they were calling in Simcor, which is a combo statin and niacin. Haven’t got it yet, because Tricare needed a pre-authorization and noted they wanted me to use one of four other drugs. That will have to wait until Monday to resolve.

So, on that “getting religion”…

I am active, use stairs instead of elevators, etc. But I don’t do aerobic exercise. I hate it. Always have. We’ve got a pretty expensive Norditrack treadmill that has moved from what is now Andrea’s office to our bedroom to the library – that would be first up, then down, then back up the stairs. Takes the three big men to manage it because that thing is heavy! It’s been pretty much unused for the last couple of years.

Thursday, I resolved to knuckle down and do what I hate. I did 15 minutes. Yesterday, and today, I did 30 each and I plan to keep going. I have a bone spur on the top of my left big toe knuckle and only about 25% of the cartilage on my right toe where I had that spur cut off. (Orthopedic surgeon said I had “messed up feet.” Haven’t brought myself to get the other one fixed.) Yet, despite those factors,  arthritis in some spots and crappy joints in general, I need this to work.

I had the brilliant idea yesterday to watch TED videos while running. They’ll make the mental anguish bearable.

Who knows? Maybe eventually I’ll get used to it. I know myself – I’ll never like it, but I would like my pipes to get cleaned out.

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