Becoming older means becoming wiser, and I believe it. Life experience is nothing like trying to imagine a predicament, a disease or a lifestyle. Fighting with blood pressure is not what I had in mind when I looked into my future from my thirties.
For most of my life I was thin. I was one of those lucky people who could eat all kinds of junk and fattening food without gaining weight (go ahead and hate me, I understand). Fat people had high blood pressure. I gave birth to four babies and never had a problem, except that I have that Rh factor due to my O negative blood type. I was healthy, or so I always believed.
I have always lived a stress-filled life. My ex-husband was a cop and he was never around. When he was home, he was sleeping. I raised our 4 kids mostly on my own. There was no time for me, but I looked forward to my future. A kid-free, stress-free future.
It never occurred to me that I had an incurable and debilitating disease that would change everything. I was born with it, and cysts were busy growing all over my kidneys making them less and less effective.
In 2011 I got appendicitis. I had a stomach ache that wouldn’t go away. A big gas bubble was lodged in my gut, but it wasn’t a gas bubble, it was a swollen appendix. When I had that removed, the doctor scanned my mid-section and found the cysts. I had PKD. And higher than normal blood pressure is a lovely side effect.
I remember the day I got my first Lisinopril (BP medication) prescription filled. I couldn’t believe I was going on a drug that I would need to take for the rest of my life! When I picked it up, the young woman working in the pharmacy called me over to the “consultation” desk and asked if I had any questions about the drug. Then she said that it may be possible for me to get off the drug one day if I watch my diet, exercise, blah, blah… I stopped her. “No, that is not my problem” I said, wishing at that point that I was an overeating, 300 pound fatty. At least there would have been hope! As I turned to leave the pharmacy, I was boiling with anger. I wanted to throw the damn pills down and jump on the stupid bottle until they were crushed to bits. This, I am sure, did not help to lower my BP!
I bought a blood pressure machine so I could monitor myself. Every time I take my BP I want to throw that machine too. Even with the Lisinopril, and all the kidney pills, and new HTN pills from my Homeopathic doctor, my BP stays just OK. Normal is 120/80 or LESS (Click for Chart). Mine is seldom that good, but every now and then it is. It’s usually more like 125-130 over 79-86. It’s not bad, but my point is that with all the trying – cutting way down on salt, exercising, eating the right foods, and taking special medication, it should be way better than that!
I recently saw a very overweight woman on the Dr. Oz show who had made some lifestyle changes to get healthy and her BP was 107 / 70, or some unbelievably good reading. I stared at the tv. How did that huge person have such low numbers? It’s irritating for me to realize I am not on the same playing field. Any normal person who ate like I do would have super fabulous readings!
So I am always looking for new things to try that will lower my blood pressure numbers. (Maybe I need anger management, but I’m thinking I’ll try decaf.) Those of us with PKD won’t have the same results as the normal people and we must accept it, for now. The fight continues.
(Photo credit: Pixabay)