I haven't posted a new recipe for several weeks now, and many of you have asked why. The reason is we are experiencing yet another one of those pesky life updates, and this time it's my wife.
On February 16, 2023, at about 4:00 am - I had to call 911 for my wife Rhonda as she woke up not feeling well and her blood pressure was 208/118 with a pulse of 92.
Weeks prior to this, she had been experiencing random nosebleeds, usually in the wee hours of the morning, and when I started checking her blood pressure - it was always very high. A response to the nosebleed? Or were the nosebleeds a response to the blood pressure spike?
In fact, we went to the ER when this FIRST started happening, back in April of 2022 but surprisingly to me, emergency room doctors are VERY HESITANT to do anything with blood pressure - so they taught her how to pinch her nose to stop the bleeding and sent her home.
On Feb 15, we FINALLY managed to get into our doctor's office to see a Physician's Assistant, who prescribed the drug Clonidine to help her relax and bring her blood pressure down, if we needed it.
Turns out we DID need it that night, but unfortunately, the prescription still had not been filled yet (due to a backlog at the pharmacy). So at 4:00 am - I made the call for a terrifying ambulance ride BACK to the ER with a blood pressure of 208/123.
I should note: my wife has been taking 2 blood pressure medications for as long as I can remember, but was actively trying to eat better and exercise to hopefully come OFF of them. She has been 100% WFPBNO since January 1.
After several EKGs and blood tests, even though they were still very hesitant to do anything with her blood pressure - they gave her a dose of Clonidine (but only because our doctor had already prescribed it). And at 6:00 am she was released to come home.
Another important factor in all of this - she was NOT experiencing any other symptoms. No chest pain, no shortness of breath, no headaches, or blurred vision... JUST the blood pressure spike and sometimes a nosebleed.
And so we have been in the "hurry up and wait" mode of our wonderful world of American HealthScare ever since.
It seems every time we try to set up an appointment for an office visit or lab, or imaging of any kind- we are told the earliest they can see her is in 1-2 weeks. And even though we also got a referral to a cardiologist - we can expect to wait up to 4-6 MONTHS for that.
"But what if it's an emergency?!", I ask.
Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands
So as we weave ourselves in and out of our extremely broken healthcare system, I also started looking into alternatives.
Maybe there is something WE can do - RIGHT NOW - as we wait.
Obviously, I thought of diet and lifestyle, but here's the thing, my wife HAS been eating a VERY clean 100% WFPBNO diet since Jan 1, and 95-98% compliant for years now.
If she is eating so well, why does she seem to be getting worse?
For that answer - I turned to the same doctor I turned to after I had my stroke in 2020 - Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, MD.
He called us last week and after a little small talk, he asked about her weight.
- Rhonda: "135 pounds"
- Dr. Essy: "And what did you weigh in High School?"
- Rhonda: "98 pounds"
- Me: "Hey doc - she HAS been losing weight and she DOES eat WFPBNO..."
- Dr. Essy: "So why is she still 30 pounds overweight?"
Ouch. He may look gentle - but don't let him fool you - he IS hardcore.
And this all happened JUST when I began live streaming to my support group. And that's when THEY suggested we all do the ESSELSTYN REVERSAL DIET together, for Rhonda, and they even coined it - "The Great High School Weight Challenge"
We are also reading his book, "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" as a group in our community's Book Club.
You can join us if you'd like - either for the book club or the challenge.
Here's the link. BNV Community
In addition to all of this, as a result of finally getting back into our doctor's office to see a nurse practitioner this time - she put her on a low FODMAP diet with yet ANOTHER blood pressure prescription.
One Last Thing...
So we still don't have any answers, she is up to 4 BP meds now, trying her best to follow Essy's Diet plan AND a low FODMAP diet plan (which trust me, doesn't leave much she can eat), and the BP spikes are still happening.
So just to cover every possible avenue available - I just set up a virtual appointment with Dr. Niki Davis, MD from Plant Based TeleHealth.
You may have seen her on Chef AJ. She is the "rocket scientist" turned medical doctor and is one of many plant-based doctors Plant Based TeleHealth has to choose from.
Even though this is strictly an online virtual telehealth company, let me assure you they are all real medical doctors (not just NPs or PAs) and can order labs, prescriptions, whatever - just like your real doctor can. And they cover all 50 states here in America, so ANYONE can have a plant-based doctor.
In fact, one of the co-founders is none other than Dr. Micheal Klaper himself.
So - that is where we currently are.
And trust me, there have been MANY sleepless nights since this whole thing started.
We just want answers.
WHY are the blood pressure spikes happening all of a sudden? What can we do?!
My poor wife is AFRAID of going to bed at night knowing she will probably wake up in a few hours - not fun for someone who eats very clean, exercises regularly, doesn't drink, has never smoked, and looks way younger than her age.
"I'm doing all the right things - so why me?"
Prayers? Good vibes? Healing thoughts? Send them our way if you'd like and thank you, they are very much appreciated.
We need all we can get.