Fitness Challenge Day 63: My Dilemma

I have a huge dilemma.  It has been a week since I started taking Lisinopril-HCTZ as prescribed by my doctor, who said to me a couple of weeks ago, “I would be committing malpractice if I didn’t insist that you take your blood pressure medicine.”

So, after getting home from Woodflock last Monday, I started taking the medicine. Almost immediately I could see swelling of my ankles and calves (hasn’t been this bad for months…when I was drinking diet cokes, etc., which I have quit doing long ago).  My knees have both had sharp pain, to the point where walking any distances is painful.  I am itching all over.  I am not sleeping well.  I have become lethargic.  I have begun craving sweets like donuts and cinnamon rolls. What’s more, I have not walked in over a week…just too painful.

Frustrated…what do I do?

So, what do I do?  This is the dilemma.  When I started this journey full bore on April 1, I was not taking medications (other than my synthroid). I felt fine.  I got lots of walking in.  I was eating right.  Weight was coming off.

The weight is still dropping, but I need to walk.  I need to get in the exercise to strengthen my heart and keep my blood flowing.

Ultimately, I know it is my choice whether to take the Blood Pressure medications or not.  But it seems to me that this medicine is turning into a blockade to my progress…a hindrance that I don’t want to deal with.

Dang it!  I just want to be in control of my destiny and my health.  When Julianne and I went to see PlantPure Nation a few weeks ago, there was a lady in the movie who had done as I had, gone PlantPure and began exercising and DID NOT take the prescribed drugs.  She later went to the doctor and he praised her for her weight loss, better health and also commented that her medications were working.  She laughed on camera and noted that she had never taken the medications.  I thought to myself when I saw that part of the movie, “That will be me as well.”  But, I have only been at this for a little over 60 days and I am sure that it will take longer.

Which is the right decision?

But, do I stop the drugs and risk heart issues due to hypertension?  Well, I didn’t take them from when he prescribed them in March 2014….  I chose to change my diet little by little.  And now that I am full bore into this, I really wonder if I should just continue as I was.

Yes, I have prayed about it.  I don’t have a definitive answer.  Still feel confused.  But I am really leaning towards abstaining from the drugs and continuing to make food my medicine.


Tabouli for lunch…included fresh onions, tomatoes and asparagus.

Speaking of food, we did have some good meals yesterday.  Julianne always makes such wonderful, healthy food and I deeply appreciate her for both her efforts and her desire to find ways to make both of us healthy.

For lunch we had a freshly made tabouli. Traditionally, this is a Levantine (Levantine cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the Levant, known in Arabic as the Bilad ash-Sham. This region shared many culinary traditions before and during the Turkish-Ottoman Empire which continue to carry an influentially mainstream character in a majority of the dishes today) vegetarian dish traditionally made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, bulgur and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Some variations add garlic or lettuce, or use couscous instead of bulgur.   Julianne’s version didn’t use the olive oil and we didn’t include the parsley, which typically gives it a really fresh flavor.  But she did include fresh tomatoes and asparagus (thank you Bountiful Baskets!!) Nonetheless, it was a good fresh dish for lunch yesterday.

Homemade spaghetti with tomatoes and mushrooms. Fresh whole wheat bread and zucchini butter.

For dinner, we had considered Fazoli’s as we both wanted spaghetti, but we decided to make some at home….such a better idea.  Julianne threw together a wonderful dinner with a sauce that was made with fresh tomatoes, onions and mushrooms. (Once again, thank you Bountiful Baskets).

We also picked up some good whole grain bread and Julianne made her zucchini butter (no butter or oil in it!!)  I am not sure what she uses, but this zucchini butter is ALWAYS a hit and hit is fresh and whole food healthy.

I am happy we chose to eat at home and eat healthful.  I continue to progress in this area (and much thanks to my wonderful sweet wife!) despite the pains and frustrations that the blood pressure meds have been causing me.

I will work out my dilemma.  Whatever choice I end up making, it will be one in which I will accept the consequences, good or bad.  Currently, the choice to follow the “doctor’s orders” seems to have not been the best one for me…

Time will tell.

Jane Birch - June 2, 2015 - 11:06

I’m sure you’ll make the best decision for yourself. I recommend you get Dr. Esselstyn’s book (Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease) and/or get on his site and read everything and follow his prescription for preventing heart disease. He has worked with hundreds of patients now. Everyone who has followed his diet has avoided further progression of heart disease! Knowledge is power!

sumoflam - June 2, 2015 - 11:09

Thanks for the input Jane. I do plan on getting on to both Dr. Esselstyn’s site as well as Dr. McDougall’s and getting on the forums to see what others have said about this. I know that it is a serious decision (either way) and I do want to make the right decision!

sumoflam - June 2, 2015 - 19:08

Jane: I got on to Dr. Esselstyn’s website today and noticed that we could send an email to him with health questions concerning heart disease. I wrote about my dilemma in the email and included a phone number. About an hour later Dr. Esselstyn called me! No joke! We had a nice chat. He told me that in some ways I was like a little puppy lost in tall grass. He provided some great advice and recommended a few things. I am still awed by te fact that he would so kindly take time out of his busy schedule to call a virtually unknown individual to chat. That revitalized me!!!

KAri - June 2, 2015 - 11:37

Hmmm yeah, you gotta take care of your ticker, for sure. You have a great attitude about preserving the quality of your life though, and will do what you need to do to achieve that. The gorgeous food you’ve posted on here gives you pleasure, and health! The BP medicines have made you feel bad and unhealthy. I reckon you’ll do your research on BP medicines, etc. and maybe there is one that won’t make you feel so crappy. The exercise though is tough. I will urge you again to consider some sort of aquatic program, and don’t underestimate the ones they offer to seniors. You’re not a senior yet, but there is a lot of love and support without judgement in that crowd, and the workouts can be really effective and not blow out your knees. Yeah, I was a swim teacher, can you tell? 😀

Mia - June 2, 2015 - 18:38

I think you need to speak with your doctor and make him aware of the side effects you are experiencing.. There are other blood pressure medications that you can take….. High blood pressure puts you at risk of a plethora of very serious medical problems. I have been taking the same medication that you are for the past 16 years. I had pregnancy induced hypertension that never improved. Thankfully, I have not experienced any of the side effects that you described.

maren - June 2, 2015 - 20:26

David, you should tell your doctor about the side effects. There may be other blood pressure drugs that you can take that won’t make you so miserable. Love you….

sumoflam - June 2, 2015 - 20:28

Thanks Maren!! Appreciate the advice, and yes, I should probably contact him

Jane Birch - June 2, 2015 - 22:03

Elder Holland, “Sure it is tough . . . Don’t panic and retreat. Don’t lose your confidence. Don’t forget how you once felt. Don’t distrust the experience you had. . . . opposition turns up almost any place something good has happened. . . . With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence.’ Stay the course.” (Devotional address given at BYU on 2 March 1999.)

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