Why we don’t wait for retirement to travel

Looking back through our vacation videos it’s evident that the progression of Kim’s heart disease has not slowed down.

Although statins have reduced her cholesterol, beta blockers have controlled her tachycardia, and aspirin is supposed to be guarding against that first heart attack, her blood pressure, insulin levels, fatigue and headaches continue to worsen. Yet, we still try to live our best life possible.

Unfortunately, after having a heart cauterization this week, we discovered that she has a 70% blockage in a branch artery and her LAD (the windowmaker) is already 20-30% blocked. She’s on nitro now, and they’ve added another blood pressure medicine to the daily ritual of pills she has to take.

We are more than a decade from retirement age. Our fear is she is not going to be able to do the things we love by that time. We try to take advantage of the five weeks of vacation we are fortunate to have every year. But the future causes both of us a great deal of stress and anxiety and those two things are known to contribute to the quick progression of ASCVD.

Heart Disease was not something she asked for. It effects millions of Americans including some of the best athletes and marathon runners. She has all the hereditary markers that stem from a long line of heart disease on her father’s side of the family – in other words, she drew the short straw. With all that said, lifestyle changes such as increased daily exercise and radical diet restrictions are the only thing left in the toolbox aside from invasive surgery that her cardiologist says is not on the menu just yet.

The problem with maintaining any routine lies in 1.) affordability 2.) motivation.

When we are traveling, we live a more active lifestyle. We walk several miles a day and we have recently started kayaking. The problem lies in the other 47 weeks of the year when we aren’t traveling and with food prices rising, eating a healthy diet has become almost impossible.

Like everyone else we struggle with day-to-day stuff. We’re trying to figure out the best solution without sacrificing the stability (and much needed health insurance) that full-time employment offers. However, as outdoor activities get harder for her to do, we question this choice.

How our story ends… only time will tell. But know this – we are not giving up!

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