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Mike's Blog: The Heart of a Runner, Part 03

Woozy time

Editor's note: Mike Ashland loved running. But after he moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon, and began working on a home renovation with his partner, he found himself more and more exhausted. Medical tests revealed that without his knowledge, he had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed nearly half of his heart muscle. Within a month, Ashland went from being a marathon runner to a critically ill heart patient. With no job and no health insurance, he found himself facing the most serious crisis of his life. Ashland chronicles his perilous journey in this blog.

February 10

I've been told that living with heart failure is a seesaw existence, and it's sure proving true for me. One day I feel pretty good, and the next day I can't get off the couch.

I have some energy today, same as yesterday. I get winded easily, but the good news is my blood pressure is up to 102/58 and I'm not woozy or sick (a sure sign my blood pressure is dangerously low).

The pain I've had in my chest and shoulder is a bit better today. Coughing -- directly connected to my heart's pumping condition -- is back a bit today. So I'll take it easy today, as the coughing makes the pain worse.

I've got a call into my cardiologist to up my ACE inhibitor medication. These drugs widen the blood vessels so blood flows more easily and the heart doesn't have to work so hard. But that also means they lower blood pressure, and mine is pretty low to begin with. That's the game we're playing -- trying to increase the key medications for my heart without dropping my blood pressure into the 80's or 70's -- woozy time and rather dangerous.

Meanwhile, the sun is out and it's just gorgeous.

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