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

I was doing well, health-wise, in the last few days. And I was starting to find my rhythm writing basketball. Life was starting to look up.

But after I watched the late game between the Wizards and the Lakers, Pops called me up and mentioned that one of my uncles passed away in NorCal. It froze me. I broke down.

You never want to think that anybody, especially a family member, would be going away. It’s been difficult dealing with losses in the last year. It really started when good friend, Colleen Burns, passed away tragically in the summer of ’16. My brother’s best friend, who I played basketball with in my teens and 20s, also died tragically playing ball from a heart attack (this is resonating with me more and more). I’ve also had a cousin and an aunt (my mom’s sister) die in consecutive days and in different circumstances.

I was dealing with so many emotions last night. I was sad because I lost yet another family member. I was scared because life is so fragile. I was frustrated because it’s so tough to be so limited physically. And I was angry because all of these things were happening.

While I couldn’t sleep, various friends contacted me throughout the night to make sure I was okay. My chest did hurt for a bit and my back felt super tense again. After getting those talks and doing a lot of breathing, I was finally able to go to sleep around 3 AM. It didn’t help that on some nights, I had been afraid to sleep because I thought I would never wake up.

It’s been rough.

Earlier in the morning, though, I got a surprise text. It was my best friend from high school, Madison Alexander, who I know as simply Gee. He happened to be in town for JUST today and wanted to catch up. Gee had been busy hosting trade shows all over the world. We met at a local park.

Gee had known a few things about the recent car accident but he didn’t know all of the other things that had been happening like my hypertension that sent me to the emergency room and the heart attack that I did not even feel. I also told him about the anxiety that I had been having.

Gee also told me his own problems, in terms of his health. He’s doing better than he was a few weeks ago. He had also been through a lot in the last few years, like dealing with the death of his newborn baby. We also talked about our synchronicity. Gee told me that he was wearing the shirt the last time we saw each other, which was three years ago! He just felt that, besides it being overdue, he NEEDED to see me today and waited until the morning to call me up. I’m glad he did.

I also got to see his dad, who was with him playing hoops. I hadn’t seen him in 20 years. I remember him being such a kind man and he remembered me being so positive (which has been far from that these last seven weeks). He’s in his mid-60s and he still runs around the court like he’s in his 30s (basically me and Gee).

The talk with Gee and his dad was very therapeutic to me. And the timing (the synchronicity!) was great. He was like the guardian angel that was sent to me when I needed it the most. Hopefully, it won’t be another three years before I see him. I hope you’re reading this, Gee. You know I love you, brother.

Last night was a setback. Today didn’t bring back my uncle. But I’m sure my uncle wouldn’t want me to just give up and he would want me to take care of myself, even though there is so much going on in my life. I feel bad that I won’t make it to his funeral; there is no way I can make that trip to NorCal without a moment of being terrified and anxious. But again, I have to take care of myself, first and foremost. This fatigue won’t last forever. Neither will my back pain. Heck, neither will I but there is no way I’m quitting life.

Life will continue to throw lemons. But I’m gonna keep going. And drink lemonade.

I love you all. Please help lift me up in these trying times.

R2

Friday was the last main obstacle concerning the danger zone for me. It was finally my appointment to the cardiologist. The nurses in the clinic were pretty sure I’m fine. But then again, you never know. After all, my last EKG test mentioned that I had a heart attack.

They made me take another EKG test. After that, the cardiologist saw me. Told him everything that was going on. He mentioned that the heart attack was from the stress and he recommended that I take more tests (including a stress test) on a later date. The EKG test revealed today that my heart was beating normally so that was of great relief to me.

As for my fitness, he told me that I should take it easy for a couple more weeks before I can slowly get myself back to full tilt. It had been mentioned before that my body had been weakened over the last few weeks. While I’m going to see the cardiologist more than I would like, this felt like the best news I’ve had in weeks.

I’m gonna be okay.

Of course, outside of the heart problems, I’m actually fighting a cold right now. It is flu season so that annoys me more than anything right now. I am sore all over the place.

I can’t remember the last time I felt healthy on both body and mind. Maybe August? There are still nights when I don’t want to do anything because of my anxiety.

But let’s start the road to a full recovery. You can do this, Rey-Rey.

And as always, I appreciate your love and support throughout this ordeal. I love you guys.

R2

Not that this was a new challenge but it became more prominent this week as I start to feel a little better physically. Yeah, I still get tired easier. Yeah, my back still hurts. Yeah, I still have to worry about my heart (I DO see the cardiologist tomorrow).

But this week has been all about my anxiety.

It’s really prevented me from doing the most regular tasks. I have gotten better at driving but I still get anxious a ton. I really don’t like it when cars tailgate me (in fear of getting rear-ended) or when they come out waiting at the right side (that’s how my last accident happened).

When I’m alone in the living room, I’m always looking around to see if someone was going to scare me. Or even attack me. I get very jumpy nowadays, too. This has happened more than once but during a walk, when the traffic signals yell out WAIT when you press the button for the walk signal, I literally jumped. It’s not a good feeling when you’re feeling that anxious or paranoid.

You all know I’m a talker (I get it from my family). But nowadays, it’s rough for me to talk on the phone (yeah, I still do that). I have to because I need to get tasks done but sometimes, it’ll take me a while before I actually dial a number. For fear of what? Saying the wrong thing? What wrong thing am I going to say? There’s no rhyme or reason around it. It’s just how I feel.

It’s the reason why I haven’t resumed my podcast yet. I LOVE talking to people about basketball and other things. But I just can’t muster up the courage to do so just yet. I don’t feel ready. And really, it should be part of my therapy. One day, I’ll get back to it. I also feel that NOBODY would listen to me doing a podcast anymore because there are SO MANY podcasts out there.

So yeah. Anxiety has been such a drag. I thought I was getting better after that high school reunion. I had gotten off to such a good start the day after but then I heard some stuff that was stressful and it was right back to being tense again.

I have to learn how to control this anxiety. Doing things used to be no problem. But having that car accident has exacerbated everything. I don’t like this life. But I might have to live with this for a long time.

I love you guys.

R2

I have a new problem this week that I have to deal with. But I’d rather not talk about that at the moment.

Friday night was something that I needed. Quite frankly, it’s something that I need more of.

Friday night was my 20-year high school reunion. Yes, I’m that ancient.

I anticipated the drive for some time now. It’s my first extended drive on the freeway since my car accident on September 5th. I meditated for a few minutes and went on my way.

I sweated a bit. My heart was still beating fast on straightaways. I wouldn’t say I was more comfortable speeding up and changing lanes but I would say I felt more “alive” doing those. Does that make sense? I don’t know. It makes sense to me.

I arrived 30 minutes early and found the first available parking lot that I could go into. After I parked, I sat in my car for a few minutes to reflect how big of a victory this was for me. I went on my way and, a few minutes later, I met up with my classmates.

Even after not talking to most of them for 20 years, it felt like we all never missed a beat. While we all hung out with different cliques in high school, most of us got along.

Admittedly, I became super anxious during dinner. I went outside a few times just to catch some air and calm myself. A few of them knew about what had been going on with me, though, and it was nice that they made me feel more comfortable as the night went on. I told some of them about my story and they, too, made sure I was okay for the rest of the night. It was so great to be around a lot of good people.

After dinner, we went across the street (one of my classmates is currently a DJ and he helped set this up) and most of the class danced the night away. There was also a photo booth on the balcony where we took some goofy pics. I spent most of the night talking and catching up with classmates as I exactly couldn’t move around too much since I get fatigued easily these days. Still, I managed to stay around until 1:30 AM because how often was I going to get this chance to talk to most of my classmates?

It was an excellent night. The drive was a little easier on the way home, even though, yeah, my heart still beats a little too fast on certain situations. That will be an issue for a while.

Thank you so much, Bellflower High Class of ’97, for a night I will always remember. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be another 20 years before I see all of you again.

The last pic was one of a few photobombs I did that night. I promise you that I’m not THAT guy.

Don’t worry, guys. I’m resting right now. Trying to get healthier.

I love you all.

R2