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Fancy a smoke fatman?


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Gillibran Find out more about Gillibran
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  • Fancy a smoke fatman?

    I was diagnosed about 5 years ago after a routine medical. I had been feeling unhealthy but just put it down to lifestyle. Cried on my way home from the hospital. Great - another burden to bear. Just my luck.

    According to the doctor I've a relatively minor enlargement of the heart wall, but i don't have any figures on it. I go in for a checkup once a year.

    Problem is this. I'm paralyzed with fear. I always had a pretty unhealthy lifestyle - drinking, smoking... recreational drugs. And in fairness I look back on those carefree days with fondness. Because now I can't drink or do any drugs. Even if my heart could handle it, my head can't. I feel like I'm living a half-life. I'm afraid to do anything. I split up with my girlfriend because, well, I felt I'd lost all my vigor and 'manliness' and lost alot of the drive that is part and parcel of a relationship. Since I lost some weight I've been better, and I'm imagining if I gave up smokes and lost all the weight (I'm about 50 pounds overweight) I'd be a helluva lot better - which leads me to my question I guess. Has anyone else been like me? Have you found altering your lifestyle to a healthy one has made much of a difference? I guess I'm almost afraid to become healthy in that I fear that I will still feel as limited, tired, palpitationous (nice word!) as I do now... a kind of security blanket situation that allows me to at least HOPE - thinking to myself "well, i can always get healthy and then I'll be ok"... but is there really hope? Is it likely to change if I change? OR am I doomed to this relatively crippled lifestyle where I can't do sports, drink, stretch myself physically?

    I swim daily - but get a kind of groaning sound in my heart that freaks me out if I push myself at all in it... so I only do about 20 minutes.

    I feel a bit better when I don't smoke - but not a whole lot.

    I'm not looking for anyone to say 'keep smoking buddy', but has anyone noticed a big improvement from changing either smoking or eating habits?

    I'm pretty sure my condition is complicated by my fear, my negativity and my tendency to despondency. Also, I've pretty much shut myself off emotionally in trying to deal with this (though I have sought counselling).

    I felt pretty emotional on discovering this site. So evidently I'm not dead yet.

  • #2
    Welcome to the first step toward taking your life back!!

    Lets start with some education. You need to know your heart - know your measurements - if you are obstructed or not and do you have a family history of HCM. You can get the information about your heart from your echo report, your doctor will have that. Simply ask for a copy of the echo report.

    You are far from alone in your fear... we have all been there at one time or another - and revisited from time to time as well!

    How old are you? What medications are you taking?

    Yes, you should quit smoking - but you knew that and I am sure you will try to do it soon.

    Send my best to all my family in Ireland ( I am not even sure how many are still there - my great grandfather left in the late 1800's but was one of 8 children - so I am sure I have some releitives left!) They are all Flanagans or Flanigans in Caven County!

    Best wishes,
    Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
    YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

    Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
    lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
    Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
    Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
    Currently not obstructed
    Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)


    • #3

      Welcome to our site, And yours now Lisa is right get your Echo report and we can go from there and yes you need to quit smoking, I smoked for 30 years and quit a year and a half ago so if i can do anyone can and yes you will feel better in the long run, but again welcome and look forward to hearing more from you here

      Diagnosed 2003
      Myectomy 2-23-2004
      Husband: Ken
      Son: John diagnosed 2004
      Daughter: Janet (free of HCM)

      Grandchildren: Drew 15,Aaron 13,Karen 9,Connor 9


      • #4

        Welcome aboard! You're not alone in how you're feeling.

        I can certainly say that losing weight *does* make a difference; I dropped about 70 pounds from my wide-bodied, 6 foot 4 inch frame and I feel alot better for it--most immediately my knees stopped bothering me as much and there was more of a spring in my step! Since quitting smoking about 8 years ago my tastebuds have come back to life again.

        Carrying a 35 pound bag of dog food from a store out to our automobile was instructional! When I realized I was carrying that much weight in fat (actually twice that) around with me every day I really got motivated to work on my diet. If you can lose some weight then I imagine your heart might thank-you instead of groaning while swimming.

        Good luck with your journey!
        Rob Thomas

        P.S. Great title for the message thread--certainly caught my attention!
        --Living life on the edge .. of a continent!
        Charter member: Tinman Club


        • #5
          Thanks for the feedback folks

          I'm 35 and take 25mg antenelol daily - I've tried 50mg and it makes me quite tired etc.

          I gave up smoking last monday (26th September)... I still feel crap!! I'm meeting my specialist wednesday and I'll get my echo results etc then. I'll post 'em to try and give an idea of what my condition is like and whether i should expect to have the symptoms that I do... a very common symptom I have is a feeling of 'stiffness' around my heart/left side of my chest...

          BTW - I find it very hard to differentiate between actual chest pain/palpitations etc, and ANXIETY about having chest pains, palpitations etc. For instance, work is pretty stressful at the moment and I'm walking around feeling like I'm on the verge of a heart attack... any idea's on how to seperate worry and anxiety from reality?

          thanks all - I'm real happy I found this site...


          • #6
            Congratulations on going a week (so far) without smoking! Once you've gone a week I think you are well on your way to quitting for good. When you get the urge to smoke remind yourself that you don't ever won't to re-live the past week (day, hour, or minute) ever again!

            I'm afraid I really can't comment on separating symptoms from anxiety. Good luck!

            --Living life on the edge .. of a continent!
            Charter member: Tinman Club


            • #7
              Congratulations on making that decision to not smoke. I smoked for years and I can tell you that each week you go without will make it easier and easier. Keep it up and you can be smoke free for life!

              As far as stress I can understand what you are talking about. I have been a restaurant manager for about 22 years and have just now learned how to deal with the stress of all **** breaking loose on some nights. You mentioned that you were a drinker and smoker. Since my HCM diagnosis I have cut alcohol completely. No cocktails to wind down at the end of the night. I have found that my stress has gone WAY down. Now when crazy stuff happens I just deal with it and don't feel like I am going to have a heart attack. Also breathing is key. Not just normal breathing but some good long inhales and exhales. I hope this helps you a little bit. Also, keep up the non smoking. You may not feel much better yet, but you will no doubt feel better in the long run (and live longer too so that's kind of cool )

              Best wishes and best of luck to you!

              41 years old. Diagnosed with HOCM in Feb 2005. Myectomy at Mayo on June 8, 2005


              • #8
                So I got my feedback today from the cardiologist... I need a defibrillator he says, which has really thrown me and freaked me out. I also got a copy of my echo, So i think what I'm going to do is start another thread, as my questions now aren't related so much to smoking or lifestyle, but more how people have reacted to the changes mentioned above.

                Regarding the smoking - its about 10 days now - and I'm supremely confident I will not smoke again. before I always felt I was 'trying' to give up, where as now I feel like I 'have' given up..

                Anyway, thanks for the replies, and if you check out my new thread I hope you have some feedback.