I intend for 2018 to be mine.

So I wore a heart monitor device for 24 hours starting Monday afternoon. As I mentioned, it was to monitor how I was doing for that 24-hour period. If something went wrong, I was to push the button and record my progress. It was basically a Life Alert thing. I’ve fallen! And I can’t get up!

It was more cumbersome than anything. I couldn’t lay on my stomach while I laid on my bed. And I had to keep adjusting it because, sometimes, the device would just kind of fall off the side. So it really annoyed me.

Nothing went wrong. I was fine. I had fleeting chest pains weeks ago but I’ve been A-OK in terms of my heart since. All the heart tests went fine.

And now I have a follow-up on the 29th. Hopefully, it’s the last time that I’m at that office for a long, long time. That is definitely some good news.

It’s not the only good news.

I’ve been going to physical therapy since immediately after the car accident, which was September 5. Well, my back doesn’t feel as tense anymore (only when I’m driving, really) and the pain hasn’t been as great. I still have aches that pop up but I mean, I’m also not young anymore. I can manage. The chiropractor has been monitoring (I mean, that’s his job) my healing and he thinks I can close physical therapy before the year ends.

To be honest, I would like to have physical therapy for the rest of my life because who DOESN’T like getting their back massaged? That roller bed is AMAZING. And I can put heat pads on my back myself if I need it.

But yeah, going to some sort of clinic for four days out of the week isn’t exactly the greatest feeling. I may be finally free from that when the year changes to 2018. I had set that as my goal and I’m a little excited that I can actually accomplish that.

The mental issues are another story. But I also understood that it would take time. Yesterday was the first time I drove with a passenger since the accident. I still stuck to the streets, mind you, but this is a win for me. The passenger happened to be my friend, Nick, who encouraged me that I’ll eventually get there, even if it takes a whole year. I still have to drive on the freeway at some point. And at another point in time, I have to drive on the freeway constantly.

I’m still seeing a therapist and he’s been very good at helping me break down what’s going on in my head. It’s not like he’s the only one that says this to me but he continually reminds me to not put too much pressure on myself. And I really shouldn’t try to take on too much especially since I have a heart condition (even if it’s okay now, I still have to be careful). I have to remind myself that I don’t do well under stress at the moment.

But as of now, I might end up getting that third chance in life (2004 was what I considered my second chance). Not many people get that. People like to use the new year as a starting point (or restarting point) and I hope that’s true for me in 12 days. That light at the end of the tunnel is right in front of me.

2018, you will be mine.

And to all of you that have been with me throughout this ordeal, I cannot thank you enough for being there. I never felt I was alone because of you guys. And your encouragement really does wonders. I love you all.

Let’s live it up.

R2

Sooooo… it’s been a while since I updated about my health. I’m as okay as can be. Except for this cough. It’s super annoying. But everyone around me seems to have caught something.

I had my third and final heart test. Well, not “had.” More like “have.”

So I did the usual EKG and blood pressure tests. From all indications, my heart is doing fine. Blood pressure is a little higher than normal but the dangerous levels are a distant memory.

The picture you see above? It’s a device that monitors my heart. I have to wear this for the next 24 hours. Whenever I feel some sort of chest pain, I hold the button and record what I got going on.

So it’s almost like some sort of Life Alert thing. I’ve fallen. And I can’t get up.

Basically, the best-case scenario is that I wear this thing and nothing happens. I have to return this device tomorrow at noon.

It does feel weird wearing all these wires and this device on my body. I almost feel like the doctors can electrocute me anytime they want to.

As for my anxiety on the road? Still a tad difficult. I was riding with my friend, Nick, a few days ago and I freaked out when cars cut in front of us twice that night. Other drivers suck.

Back to the chiropractor tomorrow in addition to returning this device.

Oh, yeah. I have one more follow-up appointment to the cardiologist’s at the 29th. It’d be good to take care of everything related to this heart attack before the year ends.

Give me strength for 2018.

Thanks for all your support throughout this ordeal. It always feels good that I don’t feel like I’m going through this alone.

R2

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