I’m just here wearing a heat pad on my back. I’m still a long way from where I want to be.

I also feel I’m a long way from where I was in October.

It’s becoming more and more evident that the heart attack I suffered was more of a shock on my body. It doesn’t mean that it didn’t affect me, though, because it definitely did. Remember that my body felt weak for a good amount of time after that happened.

It also doesn’t mean that I should be careless. I still have to eat right. I still have to lose weight. And you should never mess around with heart attacks.

Still, if the two previous heart tests were any indication, the third one should be okay. My heart rhythm test is on the 18th, a week before Christmas. I should follow up shortly thereafter then go from there. My goal is to be able to start fresh in 2018 even though I know my other issues will go deep into that year. Or maybe for the rest of my life.

Driving still gives me pause. But I’ve handled it better on the surface streets. I still get freaked out when cars suddenly show up on my right side.

I did go through a little test on my driving recently, though.

Longtime good friends Anna Melissa and Angelica invited me out to their Christmas Party, which took place last Saturday. I had told them that I was “day to day.” Well, I made it out there but not before going through the freeway, which felt like a huge obstacle course.

I also noticed something while I was driving: I was blinking for minutes at a time. And I couldn’t stop it for a while. It was strange.

Anyway, I got to their place and it was just good to see people. I haven’t socialized much since the car accident three months ago so it was nice to have those interactions. Of course, if you guys know me, there were a few awkward and funny moments (I botched a hug/handshake and I ended up getting patted on the head) but, otherwise, I had a lot of fun. Shoutouts to Anna Melissa and Angelica for inviting me (and also for being in my corner since the start).

I also got together with some old friends throughout the weekend. It was nice catching up with old friend Alfred. It was also nice to chill with Nick and Beerman on Sunday.

I could say it was the best weekend I’ve had since the car accident. Lots of laughs were had.

The past couple of days have been up and down. Pain is constant but manageable. But really, I’m not a young buck and I’d probably still have some pains even if there was no car accident. I’m 40 next year so I REALLY have to take care of myself.

Still, I love that you guys continue to encourage me to get better. I appreciate you all.

R2

It has been a while since I updated on this blog. I know some of you think that it either means everything is peachy… or I’m dead. But obviously, it’s not the latter (unless a ghost is actually updating this blog).

No. Everything is not peachy. I just don’t want to be repetitive on how I had been doing as of late.

The issues will be ongoing. I don’t have to tell you for months straight that I hate driving. I don’t have to tell you for months straight that my anxiety can get the best of me. And I certainly don’t have to tell you for months straight that I’m in some kind of clinic for four days out of the week. It’s not fun doing that.

And I continue to live in constant pain both physically and mentally. I can manage to be functional with my back but it’ll stiffen up (both upper and lower) at times. Not to mention that my shoulders get tense at the most inopportune moments. So please don’t assume I’m A-OK. I’m not but it’s also not something you’d have to be extremely worried for. I do think that I have gotten past the worst.

But things did happen the last couple of days.

My oldest brother (who I don’t really talk to much) knew about the accident. Yesterday, he texted/called and wanted to check how I was doing overall. He then asked how it happened.

I wasn’t exactly prepared for that. In fact, I thought my other brother would have told him. I stammered throughout my response before he told me that I didn’t need to go any further. I hung up a few moments after.

I immediately had a panic attack thereafter. I haven’t had one of those in weeks.

I don’t normally talk (not type) about the accident. So I guess this was probably why. It’s difficult to talk about it. I calmed down later on but those few moments were scary to me.

I also just finished my heart stress test. They had me walk the treadmill for about 10 minutes. The speeds got faster and faster as time went on. I felt tired as usual but I didn’t feel faint. The only thing that was bad was that my back stiffened up at the end but that’s unrelated to the heart test (but also definitely related to my car accident).

I have one last heart test the week before Christmas. It will be about my heart rhythm. But both tests have gone well so far and there SHOULD be no reason this one can’t be excellent as well. You never know, though, right?

Since I’m the nicest and most mature, guess what my heart rate was before the test today?

69. Heh-heh, heh-heh.

Sure, we can giggle about this all we want. But that is actually really great news. Because when I wasn’t doing well last month, my normal heart rate was around 100-110. The fact that it went down to that number is fantastic.

See? 69 is good for you!

I updated Pops about what went on. Then he asked me why I still have such a phobia on driving (I’ve still only driven on the freeway twice since the car accident in September 5).

You know, I wish I could JUST get over being afraid of driving after nearly dying THREE TIMES in car accident-related events. Reminder:

1) 2002. Going 70 MPH and had to swerve at the last second to not hit the truck stopped in traffic. Moved to the car pool lane without looking and, luckily, there was no vehicle. I was unscathed but that was still a near-death experience.

2) 2004. The one I talk about every October 14th. Car going about 60-65 MPH smashed into my vehicle while I was slowing down because of traffic. Car miraculously did a 180 instead of hitting the guardrail. Went to physical therapy for six months and didn’t drive on the freeway for two months.

3) Last September. The car accident wasn’t major but it was big enough to open up a Pandora’s Box of health issues. Anxiety on the road continues to this day and anxiety in general affects my everyday life. Hypertension was bad enough that it sent me to the E.R.. I noted how tense I felt every day for about a month and a half (sometimes, it’s still there but it’s not as bad).

I also suffered what I would call a silent heart attack; I didn’t feel it but heart tests proved it happened. I’ve been going to the cardiologist since. The worst seems to be over but a heart attack is nothing to be messed with. I was so afraid I wouldn’t make it to my 39th birthday but I’m here now and the light at the tunnel is getting brighter.

But all of that stemmed from that car accident.

So yeah, Pops doesn’t seem to understand. He also tried to blame the radio I listen to, which basically meant he was blaming ME for my accidents. For goodness sake, “I” was the one that was hit in the back TWICE in accidents (the first time I was rear-ended wasn’t a near-death situation if you’re keeping track) and in my third accident, I didn’t cause the car to go in front of me. Sometimes, I wish he would think about what he was saying.

Trust me; I DO wanna get over this fear of driving. But it’s not that easy. My body and mind go to different places before I start the car. It has been better than weeks past but I still have a long way to go. I haven’t driven on the freeway in seven weeks.

It’s still a battle I’m fighting. And once again, it really helps to have people’s encouragement. I don’t feel alone going through this. One day, I WILL be outside of that tunnel. And one day, I will be healthy again in body, mind, and soul.

And I could have a fresh new life in 2018.

Thanks for reading. You know how much I love you guys.

R2

This is a bit of a different subject than what I’ve been writing here in the last couple of months. But it’s also something I have expressed multiple times in other social media outlets.

I believe everyone plays a role in this world. Even if it’s not what you thought what you were going to do.

I had embraced this role years ago. But I knew a long time ago that I was going to be the person that people would go to when they had problems. Even if they didn’t know me very well. I’m always willing to listen to people. And if I feel someone is in trouble, I will do what I can (however little or big it may be) to get them out of that troubled place. If they feel better because they just had to get something off their chest then I’m glad for that.

I have learned over the years or so that the best thing you can do for someone, especially one that you consider a friend, is to be there. That’s it.

Because the worst thing you can honestly do to a friend is to ignore them. Lack of caring. Apathy.

I already learned the hard lesson in 2004 (my major car accident then) that people I considered friends weren’t going to be there. I got that people could be very unhelpful in time of peril but the least they could do was acknowledge it. Some didn’t and I moved on because that’s all I could do.

I knew it was going to happen again after this particular car accident in September. I had already mentioned this last month. But it’s frustrating when some people that you thought were “pretty good” friends would just ignore what’s going on with you. It’s been 11 weeks since that accident. I made NO secrets of what I had gone through. Like if I was in your internet vicinity, you couldn’t miss my blog posts, status updates, and tweets.

Why didn’t you text them then, Rey?

Because those same people are on the internet all the time and they should be able to see all my helplessness for the public to consume. I’m tired of being a friend of convenience. I’m tired of being in a one-sided friendship. Heck, they should’ve heard it from a mutual friend (who also happens to be on the internet all the time).

You talk to me when you’re in trouble and I listen. That’s what a friend does. I help you out so I expect you to be there when I’M in trouble.

And unfortunately, I’m not getting that from some people I have known for a very long time. It doesn’t take much to acknowledge what’s going on. React to a Facebook post. Leave a comment even if you don’t know what to say. “Hey, I don’t know what to say. But what you’re going through sucks! Feel better!” At the very least, I know you cared.

But 11 weeks is just too long (THAT’S NEARLY THREE MONTHS) for a supposed good friend to not acknowledge ANYTHING. And people that will read this blog will probably get in contact with me as soon as they read it. If we weren’t close, I don’t think they’d have to worry about me being disappointed at them. After all, there are varying degrees of friendship.

I’m disappointed at the ones that have been friends with me for a long time, have gone to me, and have talked my ear off for hours. I’ll probably end up forgiving them but it’s not going to be the same for a long time and, chances are, it’s not going to be the same ever.

Now don’t get me wrong; the current support system I have is fantastic. The ones that contacted me within the first 24 hours of my accident, the E.R. visit, and my heart attack were awesome and I could not have asked for better encouragement from them.

It’s just too bad that some of them didn’t include longtime friends (I’ve heard for a long time that it’s not about quantity but quality of friendship). Like this isn’t even a talk about egos. Or work. This was a life or death situation. God forbid I pass away during those times, would they still have never found out a month after? Maybe two months after?

I shouldn’t be at a cardiologist’s office in my age. I’m not even 40 yet. And here I am having regular visits there. It’s FRIGHTENING that I’m in this situation. Yet some people don’t get the gravity of this circumstance.

Well, no pun intended, but I got all of this off my chest. I’m going to go with the friends that have stuck with me through thick and thin. I don’t need people who aren’t going to care about what’s going on with me.

It doesn’t make it any less disappointing every time this happens, though.

Life goes on. At least, I’m confident enough to say that now considering where I was a month ago.

To the ones that didn’t stick with me, I hope your situation finds you well. I wish you a good life.

To the ones that did? I hope YOU’RE well. I hope you’re having good lives. And I love you for sticking with me. I’m certainly not disappointed with you.

R2

So yesterday (Friday), I followed up on my echo heart test, which looks at the structure of my heart. No damage. Everything seems all right and the heart is functioning normally.

The other great news is that my blood pressure was normal for the first time since the car accident. Granted, I’m still taking medication for it and blood pressure tends to fluctuate. But it was definitely good to see that result.

A new goal is to have normal blood pressure without having to take medication. It won’t get any easier as I get older.

Speaking of getting older, I turned 39 years old on Wednesday. I didn’t throw a HUGE party but it was good to see the kids. Here’s me and my niece, Eden.

My birthday was special to me because as recently as a couple of weeks ago, it looked pretty bleak. It was a very stressful time for me. I was terrified that I might not make it to my 39th. Imagine your doctor telling you that you needed to go to the E.R. because you were at risk for a heart attack. And then imagine when your doctor told you that you DID suffer a heart attack but you didn’t even feel it. I didn’t know what to do at that point. I forced myself to continue living life like nothing happened. But at that point, I was very afraid.

Ever since then, there hasn’t been any huge roadblocks. I’ll still have anxiety bouts now and then; I don’t think those will go away for a while, if ever. My heart still beats really fast, sometimes, when I drive on the road. But for all intents and purposes, I’m in a better place than where I was about three weeks ago.

It really helped to have a fantastic support system. Sure, I was disappointed that supposed longtime friends didn’t say anything but the people that have communicated with me throughout this process have been a huge help. It’s tough to be in this position when you’re going at it alone but with good people on my side, life was so much easier.

I have to remind myself that I’m out of the danger zone now. But I still have to work hard on losing weight and staying healthy. And I do have a stress test for my heart in two weeks. Quite frankly, this is the test that worries me the most although I don’t think one test is bigger than the others.

But I also have to remind myself that I’ll be fine. Just keep doing what I’m doing. One day, I will be normal me again.

And all of you that have supported me have my eternal gratitude. Thank you and I love you all.

R2

I had another heart test earlier today. I actually dreaded it even though I’ve been out of the danger zone for a while. But I’ve had such bad luck with my health the last two months, I braced for the worst.

This was actually the first of three tests I were to take. It was my echo test, meaning the doctor wanted to see how my heart looked.

I was able to see the ultrasound of my heart in real time. It was the most surreal thing. I could also hear the beat of my heart.

The one that gave me my test said he didn’t see anything unusual on my heart. From his initial impressions, he said that I should be fine. But I have to go back next week because the doctor has to fully read the test and break it down and all of that.

In the next few weeks, I have two more tests to take. The first one is a stress test, which I don’t need to explain what that is. The second is a holter test, which is about my heart rhythm. Again, I’m out of the danger zone, but we have to cover all the bases.

I’m not taking any additional meds; I’m still only doing the blood pressure pills. It was sad, though, to see some patients walk out with a bunch of medications. I know they’re all there to stabilize a person’s health but I don’t want to be that individual that takes ten or more medications at a time. There’s something terrifying about that.

As for the rest of my health? My blood pressure has flirted on the normal side, which is great news. But I also want to get to the point where I don’t HAVE to take blood pressure meds to achieve that normalcy.

I can’t say I’ve been great in terms of controlling my anxiety. More often than not in the last week, I felt my shoulders tense up (they’re tense now). And my lower back started spasming again. It was great to have relief thereafter on some times as I would have physical therapy.

It was also a bit troubling trying to summon up the courage to talk to people. Again, I LOVE talking. But I’m having some problems doing that. Also, talking for an extended period of time still takes a lot out of me. I am fine walking a mile or doing a 15-minute elliptical session; I don’t have to catch my breath doing that. But a 30-minute conversation? Yeah. It’s a lot for me at the moment. A friend noted that I speak a little quieter than before the accident.

Anyway, you just keep going. I am looking forward to celebrating my birthday with my friends on Sunday (real birthday is on Wednesday). Last month, things looked a little bleak and I didn’t know if I was going to reach November 15th.

Now? I am happy to turn 39 on Wednesday.

Thank you so much for your support. I love you all.

R2