I had slightly elevated troponin levels after the first of five angina attacks (over four days), but nothing like you would see in a full-blown heart attack. As a result, the oncologist said there was no evidence of heart damage. That, my friend, is a huge relief.
That's good to read ... no heart attack.
When I was able to get my CML under control and it sunk in that CML is not going to kill me, I realized we can't ignore our "other" health as we get older. Heart disease runs in my family. My father had 4 stents put in and then died of a stroke a few years later. My oldest brother had a single stent put in a year or so ago. So I am actually more aware of my heart - and specifically - artery health than I am CML at this point in my life.
A little over three years ago my wife decided I was going to have a full physical (first one in 20 years!) and sure enough I had very bad exercised induced hypertension during the treadmill test (normal blood pressure at rest, very high with exertion).
A subsequent carotid artery ultrasound showed dramatic wall thickening (plaque). They stopped the treadmill test after 30 seconds! Working in front of a computer coupled with my family's genes were setting me up for something bad.
I visited a cardiologist recommended to me by my primary doctor and he wanted to put me on beta blockers and statins and all sorts of other drugs. I told him - I am first going to try diet and exercise. He said that is best - but no one does it. I told him no choice on my part. I can be determined.
So - I started to walk 3 miles a day - And actually dropped 30 pounds. I looked good before, I look better now.
But the big change was not the exercise itself. It was my diet change using supplements for what was missing that had the greater impact.
Our arteries are composed of three layers with smooth muscle in the middle. Our arteries are designed to facilitate the pumping of blood by both dilating and contracting as needed. They are supple, strong and quite elastic. They accommodate all manner of fluid increase and decrease and pressure to balance fluid flow demands (oxygen) by the body. It is quite remarkable. With poor diet, our artery walls are under near constant irritation and respond by inflaming - much like the way your skin inflames if you keep scratching it. The scratching of our arteries is caused mostly by sugar (glucose). The body repairs this inflammation using cholesterol - intended to be temporary - the way a scab is temporary. Overnight during sleep these lesions can actually heal - if we let them. At the same time during inflammation our body will deposit calcium into the arteries along with cholesterol (causing atherosclerosis) hardening them into stiff pipes. That is what was happening to me. My arteries were getting hardened all over. I felt it in my legs when I started to walk 3 miles a day.
The good news is atherosclerosis is reversible. But not in one day. It took 20 years to build, it will take years to undo - but it can undo faster than build up. That is good.
Exercise alone won't do it - in fact - exercise without fixing the artery problem could cause a stroke. And that runs in my family - so I had to be careful. My doctor told me specifically NOT to exercise intensely until I had the blood pressure under control.
I learned how vitamin K2 (abundant in fermented foods) in conjunction with vitamin D is used by the body to create enzymes which move calcium out of soft tissue and put it in bone. I was very low in both vitamin D and K2 - and so no surprise about my hardening arteries. I increased my vitamin D level and K2 levels to high normal and over one year my carotid artery thickness dropped by 46% ! The following year it dropped another 20% . My cardiologist was stunned. He never saw that. He said at best, his patients keep the readings where they are or slow the rate of increase. Most important, however, was that my exercise induced blood pressure became normal again. I am a believer in vitamins D and K2 for artery health.
I started to run instead of walk three miles a day and added sprinting. I can now run faster than some of the teenagers in our neighborhood. My resting heart rate is in the low 60's to upper 50's. Although I am still somewhat anemic from the Sprycel (mild myelosuppression), I have a lot more energy.
Along with vitamin D and K2 (200mcg per day along with fermented foods) I take the following:
1. Omega 3- (krill oil)
2. Cinnamon with chromium (sugar control)
3. Zinc / selenium
4. Magnesium (at least 400 mg sometime 600-800 per day)
5. Only grass fed beef.
6. Curcumin (lots of it)
7. Garlic (4 grams per day or food)
8. Nuts (almonds)
All the best to you - make sure you get a treadmill test and slowly carefully increase your exercise to force your arteries to expand and contract. That helps them heal - but only if you have the healing "tools" flowing in your bloodstream.
Diagnosed 11 May 2011 (100% FiSH, 155% PCR)
with b2a2 BCR-ABL fusion transcript coding for the 210kDa BCR-ABL protein
Sprycel: 20 mg per day - taken at lights out with Quercetin and/or Magnesium Taurate
6-8 grams Curcumin C3 complex.
2015 PCR: < 0.01% (M.D. Anderson scale)
2016 PCR: < 0.01% (M.D. Anderson scale)
March 2017 PCR: 0.01% (M.D. Anderson scale)
June 2017 PCR: "undetected"
September 2017 PCR: "undetected"