2 YEARS!!

2 Years

Hey folks, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here, but today is a special day. Today marks two years since my stent was placed. Yesterday marks two years since my most difficult moment in life…kissing my wife and kids goodbye not knowing if I would be seeing them again. I won’t rehash that moment, because for those that read my blog you have read that part multiple times before.

Today is a day to focus on the good, to celebrate, to reflect, to be thankful and to look forward to all of the good things to come. Two years ago today I was faced with a scary realization, that I had heart disease. In the two years that have passed, I have learned so much about myself, the disease, other survivors (and my fellow cardiac athletes), the importance of family and friends, the relative unimportance of money and material items, and about a genuine appreciation for life itself. But above all, the most beautiful thing that has come out of the last two years is how it has made me appreciate and cherish my wife and children, and every second that I get to spend with them. I know that some people may look at me and wonder why I make such a big deal out of all of this. After all, I just had one stent placed, and according to everyone I am healthy. My answers to why I take it so seriously are my wife and my two kids. I truly view every day that I get to spend with them as a blessing, and each day these past two years has been exactly that. During these past two years I have had many moments of happy tears as I watched my children accomplish things and enjoy special life moments with them: playing hockey/soccer/baseball/snowboard/wrestle/golf/fish, participate in a school play for the first time, face and beat their fears, learn to read/write, have their first sleepover, take long walks and play on the beach with them, go to LegoLand, cheer on the Rockies/Tigers/Lions/Red Wings/Orioles/Steelers (never the Penguins), go to their first ever concert (Kidz Bop rocks!), family trips, camping in the backyard, snuggle time before bed and in the mornings, birthdays and holidays. As those moments happen I am overcome with joy, because I am so thankful to be there for those precious moments that I so easily could have missed. THOSE are the reasons that I take this so seriously. Because I don’t just want two years of those moments, I want to share a full lifetime of them with my wife and kids.

So, today, to celebrate two amazing years and many many more to come, I made sure that no matter where I go, Abbie, Mollie & Owen are always with me and right by my heart.

Tat

Cheers to Two Years!

And as Always…..Dream as if You’ll Live Forever, Live as if You Only Have Today!!

All My Best,
Mark

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Everyone is Going Through Something

ALS

As the photo above suggests, this photo was taken 3 years ago today. I’m sure most reading this know immediately what this photo represents. It was the day that I completed the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to support awareness for ALS disease. It was an incredible challenge that spread like wildfire across the nation and globe through social media and traditional media outlets. As I did the ice bucket challenge 3 years ago, I did it specifically for my Uncle who was battling ALS at that time. I felt that it was a simple gesture that I could send in support of him and his battle. Little did I know at the time that less than 16 months later, I would learn that I too had a disease, and that I too would need simple and unexpected gestures of support.

In the 3 years since this photo was taken, I have lost family, neighbors and friends to a variety of health diseases/illnesses. I have also witnessed a large number of other family and friends go through difficult times. Maybe not death or disease, but challenges like sudden work loss, financial strife, family issues, tough times raising children, depression, anxiety, or something as simple as having a really crappy day/week/month.

My purpose for writing this blog today is to gently remind us all that Everyone is Going Through Something. For me and my recovery, some of the moments that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life are the most simple and unexpected gestures from friends, neighbors and family. It may have been a get well card from a cousin that I haven’t talked to in a while, a text message from old friends, a meal from a neighbor to help my wife and my kids, a call from a college roommate, or a simple hug from those that are closest to me. When you’re going through something challenging, it doesn’t take much to make a positive difference.

With all of the hate and divisive rhetoric going on throughout our country these days, I think it would be wise for us all to be reminded of how so many people banded together 3 years ago to make a positive message go viral for those battling ALS. Our gestures don’t have to go viral and reach millions of people at every corner of the earth to make a difference. A simple gesture can make someone’s day, and that is enough. And because you never know what someone is going through, your simple gesture may just change or even save their life.

It’s impossible to put into words what the simple gestures meant to me as I went through my most challenging moments, but I am beyond grateful. I’m not suggesting any crazy viral challenge, but I simply challenge anyone reading this message to extend a simple and unexpected positive gesture to one (or many) friends, family, neighbors or strangers.

As Always,

Dream as if You’ll Live Forever, Live as if You Only Have Today!

Inspiration, Like Minds & Good Friends = Recipe for Success

It has been  said by many in one form or another: If you want to be successful at something, surround yourself with like-minded individuals and those that have been successful in your endeavor already.

I find this statement to be more true than ever to me these days, so I thought I would share a few thoughts on this topic with whoever wants to listen (or read). Whether you have a heart condition or not, I think that this is good food for thought.

Prior to my heart event, I was a sucker for temptation. I would run in the morning, and go to a party and eat cheese burgers, chips and drink 6 IPAs that same night. I was always grabbing a soda or a candy bar at Lowes or Home Depot (those damn coolers full of ice cold soda at the checkout got me every time!). I would take weeks off of exercising “because I was just too busy.” I would get extra queso on my burrito, knowing that it was a bad choice but it just made the burrito better, right!?! Does any of this sound familiar??

Since my heart event, I am rarely ruled by temptation. In fact, my temptation is more centered around exercise and making healthy choices. You see, that day as I laid there in the hospital bed not knowing if I was ever going to kiss my wife or kids again, I made a conscious decision and promise to myself that if I made it through this that I would do everything in my power to be there for my wife and kids for as long as possible. I am going on a year and a half since that day, and I can honestly look myself in the mirror and say that I have done good on that promise to myself thus far. But, I didn’t do it completely alone. Inspiration from people with like minds, and the support of amazing friends and family have truly been my recipe for success.

With respect to exercising, I jumped at the opportunity to begin cardiac rehab as soon as I was released from the hospital. It was there that I realized that I wasn’t alone (at that time I thought I may have been the only one my age going through it as everyone else in cardiac rehab was at least twice my age, but that too has proven to be very false). After they kicked me out of rehab for running too much and too fast, I was greeted at home by my wife and some friends that would run or walk with me whenever I wanted. Then, I started this blog which spread to thousands of people (thanks to those that have shared my blog to make that possible). From this blog, I was introduced to others going through a similar story, and my blog started to be cross-posted to the American Heart Association on occasion, leading to introductions to even more like-minded people. It was also from my blog that I was introduced and connected to two amazing and inspirational groups on Facebook, Cardiac Athletes and Ironheart Connect.  Without fully realizing what I was doing, I have created a network of like-minded (and admittedly exercise and health crazy) individuals amounting to tens of thousands and reaching more than 30 countries. This network has been invaluable to me in my quest to be healthier than I have ever been in the past. As an example, the Cardiac Athletes group that I am part of is unquestionably the most inspiring group that I have ever been a part of. We come from many continents and all walks of life, but we have one common goal, which is to not let heart disease define us. Maybe my favorite part of that group is that I can post about a great run I had, and the other members don’t think that I am gloating, because they get it – they are like-minded! (As I side note, I couldn’t gloat to that group even if I wanted to. There are men and women on there running marathons, triathlons, ultra marathons and other crazy athletic feats all the time. And that’s AFTER they’ve had serious heart events. I’m in awe of these people daily, a true source of inspiration!). Nobody in the group cares if you run 5 minute miles for a marathon or 15 minute miles for a 5k. We encourage, accept and inspire each other because while we may have different fitness levels, we are all striving toward the same goal of just being healthy and taking advantage of the second chances we have all been given.

With respect to other temptations that I used to have (primarily drinking and unhealthy eating), I also want to spend a second telling a story about the importance of surrounding myself with great friends. This past weekend was little league day with the Colorado Rockies. My son and daughter got to parade around Coors Field with their little league teams (way cool experience for the kids by the way), and then we watched the game. I was surrounded by a number of friends as we watched the game. Some of the friends are close and know of my heart stuff, but some of them don’t. For those familiar with big league American Baseball games, your healthy eating and drinking options are quite limited within the stadium. And, the customary things to eat at a baseball game are hot dogs, burgers, french fries, nachos, cotton candy, ice cream…and don’t forget the beer! I said that I wasn’t often tempted by unhealthy foods anymore, but when I’m at a baseball game that goes out the window. However, I still held strong, and I walked around the stadium until I found the one teeny tiny salad bar tucked away in the corner. I got myself a nice healthy salad and headed back to my seat. It was a b

Mollie, Owen, Dinger

My little sluggers meeting “Dinger” shortly after their on-field parade. 

ig salad, and it took me a while to eat, so I know that all of my friends sitting around me saw me eating it. Did a single one of them (especially my close guy friends) give me shit for eating a salad at a baseball game…no.  Why do I tell this story? The reason is because this is just one example of why I feel it is so important to surround yourself with people that are supportive of you, especially when you have to make “unpopular” decisions like eating a salad at a baseball game.

 

Whether we are trying to be better at our occupation, trying to be healthier, wanting to be a better father/mother, eliminate temptations, or any number of other things in our lives, I think that the recipe is simple. We just need to surround ourselves with like-minded and supportive people, and the sky is the limit.

And finally, a quick note to spouses who are the primary source of support for their significant others. I’ve written a lot about how great my wife has been, and this area is no exception. I know that she sometimes thinks I’ve gone exercise and healthy-eating crazy, but she never does anything but encourage me to keep at it. If you’re supporting someone going through something similar, the best thing you can do is to be positive and keep on encouraging.

Until next time…
“Dream as if You’ll Live Forever, Live as if You Only Have Today!”

The 3 Best Things About Living with Heart Disease (and some other fun benefits)

In honor of American Heart Month, I thought that I would focus on the positives that have come into my life since being diagnosed with heart disease. All too often, we find ourselves grasping at the negative. Don’t get me wrong, if given the choice I would prefer to have not been diagnosed with heart disease when I was 33 years old (I would strongly encourage everyone to educate themselves through the American Heart Association or other resources on how to prevent heart disease before you have a problem…remember, 1 in 5 Americans will die from Heart Failure).  But, such is life. I was dealt up a couple of lemons, so I’m going to squeeze the hell out of them and make the best damn lemonade that I can!

So here goes my list of The 3 Best Things About Living with Hearth Disease:

#1 – I’M ALIVE!!!  It almost seems silly to have anything after this, because this far outweighs any other item I could write about. As I said, I was dealt a couple of lemons (ie heart disease). But the way that I look at it is at least I have the opportunity to go forward and make some of the best lemonade you have ever tasted. Living with heart disease has made me so much more self aware of how I conduct myself as a father, husband, friend, co-worker, neighbor, etc. I may not be the most excitable person you have ever met, but inside I am exploding with joy and life because I was given a second chance at the greatest gift of all…Life! I think it was in a blog that my heart disease bloggin buddy Jeff Breece wrote, when he was talking about running and said that he doesn’t need any reason to do it other than “because he can.” I think that I look at every aspect of my life in that way now. Whether it’s running, playing with my kids, going to dinner with my wife, talking to my parents, snowboarding with my brothers, grabbing a drink with my buddies or sitting quietly on my deck on a spring day and listening to the birds sing, I try to remember to keep that thought in mind: Just enjoy it Mark, because you’re ALIVE and because you CAN.

#2 – I’m healthier than I’ve been in many many years. I’ve wrote whole other blogs on how I have become an avid runner and gym-rat since my diagnosis, so I won’t go into too much detail there. Simply put, I would have never imagined that I would run races in one of the healthiest counties in the nation/world (shout out to Boulder, CO), and actually win them! Well, or at least win for my age group. Living with heart disease has opened my eyes to a much healthier and better way of living. I’ve talked about exercise, but diet and mental health are just as important to our overall health as humans. If I hadn’t been diagnosed, I would still be eating way too much sugar, sodium, saturated fats and processed foods. Instead, I try to eliminate all of those things as much as possible, and it has resulted in me losing more than 30 pounds and looking & feeling better than I have since high school. And mentally, I am in a much better place because I no longer stress over the small stuff, and when I do I now know how to utilize meditation and other techniques that I have learned since my diagnosis. The last thing I’ll say about the health benefits of living with heart disease (oh the irony in that sentence) is that in the 14 months since my diagnosis, the worst that I have had in terms of being sick is a simple runny nose. I attribute that to leading a healthy diet, mental and exercise lifestyle.

#3 – The chance to help others. I may not have millions of dollars to donate to heart research and I may not be a doctor or scientist that can create a new way to save lives for heart patients. However, I do believe that I can make a difference in other people’s lives by telling my story and raising awareness about heart disease and heart health. I think that most of us want to have purpose to our lives. Without heart disease, I had plenty of purpose. My beautiful wife and two amazing kids gave me plenty of purpose in life to be sure. But, there is something important, something exciting, something cool about the ability to positively impact the lives of others through my story. That is exactly why I started this blog, and why I continue to work with the American Heart Association on ways to further volunteer. I have been contacted by other survivors who have told me that I have made a difference. I have had friends and family become more aware of diet and exercise because of my story. And likewise, I have learned so much from other survivors and their stories of strength and resiliency. I have always said that if I affect just one person, and help them avoid heart disease or help another as they recover from a heart event, that I would feel fulfilled. I believe that I have helped a few so far, but my hope is to help many more for many healthy years to come. There is just something special about that that I can’t fully put into words, but it’s definitely worthy of a top 3 spot :).

A few other fun “benefits”

  • My buddies can’t make fun of me for drinking wine
  • A trip to the dentist seems like a walk in the park now
  • Stress about work??? Nah, it’s really not that important, but I may be better at what I do now than ever before. Stress gets in the way of success.
  • My wife has a little more sympathy for me (sometimes)
  • I bought a cool new smart watch (because it tracks exercise and heart rate)
  • I have met some amazing other “survivors” through my blog and the AHA support community
  • I lost so much weight I had to buy a whole new wardrobe…this was fun, expensive and mildly annoying all at the same time
  • I have reconnected with some old friends…it shouldn’t take a heart event but oh well
  • I don’t get anywhere near as mad when my Detroit Lions or Red Wings lose (but I still get a little mad)
  • I’m not embarrassed to dance or sing like a fool…Because I’m ALIVE and I CAN!

As Always,

Dream As if You’ll Live Forever, Live as if You Only Have Today!

Mark

everything

ginormous

A Year to Remember!

Yes, that’s right, I said it! A Year to Remember! Not one to forget. One year ago today, I woke up in a hospital room not knowing exactly what had just happened. I was in a haze coming from the Cath Lab. Before I went in, the doctors told me that they weren’t expecting to find much (if anything). As the drugs wore off, the doctors revealed to me that they did in fact find something, to the tune of 99% blockage in my Left Anterior Descending Artery. My heart was potentially seconds away from a massive heart attack known as the “widow maker.” Thanks to an amazing set of doctors and modern medicine, they were able to place a stent in my artery, and I am able to sit here and write this blog today. That, my friends, is why this is a year to remember, and not one to forget.

I’m writing this blog as I sit on a plane at 5:30am headed to Phoenix for work. When I first got the call asking me to make this trip I was a bit upset. First, it was on short notice, I was only requested to make the trip a week ago. But, more importantly, I was going to take today off to celebrate my one year anniversary of my heart event. But now that I sit here on this plane, I realize that it’s really NBD (that stands for no big deal for you non millennialsJ). It’s NBD because I’m alive, happy and healthy. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to continue to work for my family. And since I live in Denver and I’m just headed to Phoenix, I’m able to travel back this afternoon and still take my lovely wife out for a celebratory dinner this evening, and to cap the night off I will be able to kiss my sweet kids goodnight.

Don’t get me wrong. This year has been full of challenges, ups and downs, both mental and physical. As I’ve wrote in previous blogs, the days, weeks and months immediately after my heart event were full of fear and uncertainty. I don’t wish to recount all of that here. Today, I want to focus on the positive, so instead of recounting the negative I would like to thank all of those that have been by my side this past year to get me where I am today. To the doctors, thank you for literally saving my life, what else can I say!?! Thank you to all of the post-op nurses who made me feel as comfortable as possible during a time of complete worry. Thank you to the cardiac rehab team that was amazing and had me back to running sub 8-minute miles just a couple weeks after my heart event. Thank you to my co-workers and bosses who gave me the time that I needed with my family to recoup, but never had a doubt that I would return to work and perform at a high level. Thank you to my parents for their love and support, and for coming to Colorado to be with me. Thanks to my in-laws, who also came and stayed with us shortly after, and helped my wife, the kids and I. Thank you to my siblings, all 5 of them, for their love and support of their baby brother (those that live in Colorado came to the hospital as soon as possible which made me feel more comfortable as I recovered). Thank you to all of my amazing friends and neighbors. You all know who you are, and whether it was bringing us food, getting our mail, going for a walk or run with me, helping with the kids or just sending well wishes, I can’t thank you enough. Thank you to all of my friends and family across the country (and world for that matter) who reached out to me, prayed for me, etc. Thank you to all of those that I have met through this blog who have been through similar situations, the community of support has been awesome. And finally to my wife Abbie. There is NO way I would be sitting here today feeling confident, strong, healthy and full of life without you. I will leave a lot of what I have to say about Abbie’s love and support between her and I on our dinner date tonight, but the cliché about being someone’s rock during a difficult time certainly applies to my amazing wife. If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know that I’m not shy about my emotions, so full disclosure: I just had to go to the bathroom on the plane to dry my eyes. One final thank you. I know that you may not read this for years, but to my kids, Mollie and Owen….you will likely never know how important you were to this first year, and every day going forward. You and Mommy are my motivation, my inspiration, my everything. Daddy Loves You SO MUCH! (Ok, I should have written that last sentence before drying my eyes).

Sorry for the lengthy thank you list, but that is so much of why this year is a year to remember and celebrate. I have so many great people in my life that I am eternally grateful for. And now, a couple of important notes and lessons from this past year that I want to share. First, I know that I have said this many times before, but if I have learned anything from this past year it’s that you literally have nothing if you don’t have your health…let that stew for a few seconds. If you have things in your life that are contributing to a decline in your health, please consider changing them. Second, if you feel like something may be wrong, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. I waited weeks after I initially felt discomfort in my chest to see my doctor. I got lucky, and made it to that appointment. Along those same lines, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation as mine, listen to your doctors, go to cardiac rehab, change your eating/exercise habits, and take your medications. Next, love your loved ones every day. I know, another cliché, but it’s so true. Life is fragile and uncertain.

What a year it has been! Truly a Year to Remember. I’m doing great and in the best shape of my life. Here’s to hoping (and believing) that I will be able to write this blog again in 30 years looking back and titling the blog, “A Look Back….30 Years to Remember!”

And finally, as always….

“Dream as if You’ll Live Forever, Live as if You Only Have Today!”

049_PontoFamily_2016.jpgMy Everythings!

America The Beautiful

amber-waves

On this Tuesday, November 8th, 2016….otherwise known as Election Day, I thought that I would step away from the divisive rhetoric and offer a possibly unique perspective.

Today, as I ran through these Amber Waves of Grain while Staring at these Spacious Skies and Purple Mountains Majesty, I am simply thankful to be alive in this Land of the Free and Home of the Brave that WE all share. I am thankful for all of my friends and family, republican and democrat, white, black, hispanic, latino, gay, straight, religious, non religious. I am thankful for the perfect strangers that I ran past that gave me a huge smile and “Good Morning” regardless of political beliefs. I am thankful that I got to wake up this morning, kiss my wife and kids and send them off to school on this beautiful morning. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to laugh and cry this year. I’m thankful that I have had the chance many more times to tell my wife, kids, siblings, my Mom and Dad, my family and my friends that I love them. I am thankful that my heart is beating strong. I am thankful to be alive in this great nation with all of YOU!!

As Always, Dream as if You’ll Live Forever, Live as if You Only Have Today!

 

 

Fueling Our Hearts

I recently received a text message from a very close friend who I don’t see very often anymore due to the distance between us. His message simply said, “Marky (that’s what people called me growing up), thought you should know that your situation has inspired me to start running again – today was day 23 and I ain’t stopping!” I cried when I read that, and still do today when I think about it. It’s messages like those that inspire me to keep writing these blogs. That buddy of mine has a beautiful young family just like my own, and to think that my story may in some way help him live a longer and happier life with those that he loves means an awful lot to me. I continue to be humbled by all of the people who have reached out to me to say that my story has helped them in some way.

I haven’t written much before about health and nutrition, but today I am going to. I am not a doctor or a dietitian, but I am a heart disease survivor who most would consider very healthy today. Prior to my heart event (see previous posts of my story if y

race-photoou want to know more), I would have told you that I lived a fairly healthy lifestyle and ate fairly well. While that may have been partly true, I have since learned a great deal about diet, nutrition, exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle.

The photo to the right is from this past weekend, 10/9/2016. I had the good fortune of running in a 10K race in which I finished first in my age group (30-39). I ran at an average pace of 6:40/mile. While I’m very proud of that accomplishment, the best part of that race was that my wife, my Dad and my Brother Nate all ran as well, and my Mom and both of my children were there to cheer us on as well. I NEVER would have thought that I would be running races at the pace that I ran this past weekend. I attribute my recent transformation into a runner to two things: changes to my diet, and exercise. The interesting thing to me is that as I said before, I would have considered myself a very healthy person prior to my heart event. Yet now that I have made significant changes to my diet and exercise, I look back and feel like I was far from healthy back then.

To explain this in simple terms that everyone can understand, I use the example of fuel that we put in our cars. We all know that cars (at least gas powered cars) will only operate well and stay in good working condition if we put gasoline in the engine. After all, that is what is intended to put into cars to operate correctly. We wouldn’t put sludge, tar or wet cement into our cars as fuel, because either immediately or over time those substances would destroy the efuel-signngine. Simple and true, right? Everyone can agree on that, and everyone simply follows that logic for their cars. If we only put into our car engines things that are non-toxic to them, then why don’t we follow the same rules for the most important engine in our lives, our hearts!?! Think about that for a minute….we would NEVER put anything in our meaningless car engine that could hurt it, yet we CONSTANTLY put into our most precious engines (our hearts) substances that are known to slowly destroy us. This has really gotten me thinking recently, and I want to share some of the changes that I have made. This is not meant to be a preaching session, but I do hope that it helps some people think differently about how we fuel our bodies and hearts. If you think that you are healthy, have no heart or other health issues and don’t need to consider these things, believe me, I was right there with you. And maybe you don’t have anything to worry about, but this is still good food for thought (pun intended).

Food & Drinks
Prior to my heart event, I would say that I ate on the healthier side of the average American (maybe around the top third as a guess). I thought that I was eating ok, because I felt that I wasn’t “fat.” I am now 30 pounds lighter than I was pre-event, and I feel that I am now very close to my truly healthy weight. Clearly, I wasn’t doing quite as good as I might have thought. After my heart event, you might say that I became somewhat obsessed with what went into my body. In fact, at first, I was actually afraid to put anything into my body other than water. Since then, I have educated myself through books and world renown doctors in the subject of cardiology and heart healthy diets. At a very high level, I quickly learned that the typical American diet is like putting sludge and wet cement into our engines on a daily basis, with a splash of gasoline here and there. In reality, we should be doing the exact opposite (although many doctors will say that there should never be a splash of the bad stuff. I say, we have to live at least a little every now and then). What I learned is that I was consuming a vast amount of processed foods, foods full of saturated and trans fats, foods loaded with sodium, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, sugars, soda, sugary drinks and on and on. Now, I’m not going to try to rewrite what I have learned from doctors here, but I will say that I have significantly cut back (and cut out) many of those types of foods and I feel amazing today. The two books that I would recommend to anyone interested (heart disease survivor or anyone looking to fuel their bodies better) are as follows: The Complete Mediterranean Diet by Michael Ozner, MD and Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD.   Both of those books have changed my life. Those doctors, and many others, may have differing opinions on what the perfect diet is, but what I think they agree on is that the typical American diet filled with the things that I mentioned above is not a healthy way to fuel our bodies. My advice would be to educate yourself through these or other books, and start to read food labels and pay attention to what we’re actually putting into our bodies. I promise, it will be eye opening. A couple of very simple tips. When you look at a food label, if it contains more than 4 ingredients, it may warrant further analysis (this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad but long ingredient list often means that it is a highly processed food). Next, if an ingredient list has a bunch of words that you have never heard, it’s likely chemicals, additives, etc. Final simple tip, vegetables and water are good for you, kind of like premium gasoline :).

Alcohol
I’m going to keep this section short and sweet. I’m simply going to share how I have changed in this area. Again, from my non medical point of view, I believe that alcohol should only be consumed in moderation. Prior to my heart event, I drank a fair amount of beer (mostly IPAs) and liquor. From my research, I have found very little that shows that any one type of alcohol is terrible in moderation. However, I now firmly believe that any amount of alcohol in excess is once again like putting mud into your car engine. Do it over and over for long enough and you are likely to have an engine problem. For me, I have switched to drinking red wine and doing so in moderation (a glass or two per day, but not every day).

Exercise
If you want to read more on how exercise has changed me you can go back and read one of my previous posts: Exercise, My Physical, Mental and Emotional Therapy.  The combination of dietary changes and exercise have truly changed my life, and I feel better today than I ever have before.

In a world where so many things are unpredictable and out of our control, diet and exercise are two things that we can truly own for ourselves. I am by no means perfect in this area, but I have and will continue to educate myself and look for ways to be better so that my engine operates like a well oiled machine for many many many years to come.

Finally, this week marks one year since the first time I felt something funny in my chest as I was running on a treadmill. I waited more than a month before getting it checked out, brushing it off as something “minor.” I am beyond lucky, and I should have gone to see a doctor immediately upon my first chest feelings. Please, if you think that something may be wrong (even if you think it’s nothing), go see a doctor.

As Always,  “Dream As If You’ll Live Forever, Live As If You Only Have Today!”