I was at the doctor’s office with Heidi this morning when my cell phone rang. Oddly enough, it was the doctor’s office, calling to let me know that I needed to schedule a 10 minute appointment with my doctor to discuss the results of my sleep study. Heidi and I have the same primary care provider and as luck would have it, there was some time for him to see me as well. This was quite a relief because I was just not sure how in the world the stars would align such that I could get a timely appointment that didn’t require me to leave work.
The bottom line on my sleep study is that I have mild obstructive sleep apnea. The neurologist who read my results said it is “associated with moderate snoring and mild-to-moderate desaturation (hypoxemia.)” Hey, at least he didn’t call my snoring “annoying” (anyone who calls my snoring “annoying” has GOT to go.) They recommended exhausting all the conservative treatment measures which honestly, I pretty much have.
So what’s next? Back to the sleep lab for a trial of CPAP so I can complete my transformation into Lord (Jeff) Vader. Hey, at least I’ll be able to kill catering with a thought. I guess what they’ll do is hook me up to all the same wires again and try different CPAP settings. This sounds, to me, like I will have much worse sleep than the last time if they’ll be waking me up to adjust settings vs. just letting me sleep and do my thing. Not sure when I’ll schedule this as the month is already pretty jam packed with stuff between Heidi going to New Orleans next week and my always unpredictable work schedule. No worries though, it’ll work out.
I also got a change to discuss with him the other thing that threw me for a loop last night was getting the results of my lipid panel in the mail. Let’s just say that the results were NOT good. Results are as follows:
- Total cholesterol = 261 (high is anything greater than 240)
- HDL (the good cholesterol) = 44 (low end of normal range)
- LDL (the bad cholesterol) = 172 (in the high range)
- Triglycerides = 223 (high)
Needless to say, something’s got to change here. I was very discouraged at first because in the letter I got, the doctor recommended “lifestyle modifications” to lower these levels. Because I know what I know about things like this, I know that lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise can really only lower your levels by about 8-10%. Looking at those numbers, especially my LDL, I knew I needed a much better percentage than that. I had kind of resigned myself to medication to keep me from keeling over or having triple bypass sometime in my 50s.
But when I talked to him this morning about it, it got put into a better perspective. Rather than a goal LDL of 100, which would require a 60% reduction, he told me he’d shoot for a more modest reduction to say, 150. It’s still elevated, but only borderline so. The fact that I have not had a acute coronary event makes it less necessary to target those very low goals. Now had my LDL been something like 190-200, then he would have recommended medication now vs. later. But it wasn’t, so we’re going to manage this conservatively.
I’ll admit – I’m relieved. I am very stubborn about taking meds for anything. Whenever I’m having normal body aches and pains, Heidi always asks me if I’ve taken anything for it and the answer is almost always “no.” I just don’t gravitate to medication like some people do. I know one of my mottos is “better living through chemicals” but apparently that applies to everyone but me. As has been documented here, I’ve been exercising more and trying to cultivate a more active and healthy lifestyle. My diet still needs work – I am a very bad emotional eater. When things get rough, I take a lot of comfort in comfort food. Clearly, I need to find a new way to channel that kind of thing. I started out the year pretty well as far as eating goes, but I really fell off the wagon and, based on the results of my lipid panel, it shows.
I’m trying not to be discouraged. As they said in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “I’m not dead yet.” Heidi and I are redoubling our efforts to eat better. I would love perfect health but I’ll take what I have. It could be worse, I could have Jonathan Pryce saying “Daniel, you’re dying.”