One year ago today I underwent an extremely invasive surgery to extend my life beyond what nature would have naturally allowed. I’m grateful to be alive and thankful for modern medicine. Only a generation ago and for thousands of years before, others like me didn’t have the option of receiving a quadruple bypass to stay alive. While the recovery and year have been rough I am humbled and grateful to everyone whom assisted and visited during this time. Words cannot express my gratitude to all my friends. Thank You!
While the surgery saved my life, I landed in the unfortunate crowd of approximately 5% of open heart patients which end up with chronic nueropathic pain. A year later my entire chest still hurts 24/7. I’ve underwent 4 nerve blocks which dramatically reduced the nerve pain and I’m on 200 mg of Lyrica, a nerve pain medication, a day. The combination has reduced the pain to a manageable 2-3 pain level where I’m not limited functionally and have been able to have a good quality of life. I’m very active and activity seems to be the only time when I don’t notice the constant aching. It’s expected that the nerve pain could last up to another 2 years but that it will eventually dissipate.
In addition to Lyrica, I’m on a heavy daily regimen of other drugs. 14 pills a day and a $1,000/mo pill bill. 8 of those pills, a combination of 3 separate drugs, are specifically targeted at reducing my extremely high cholesterol caused by an inherited genetic mutation which doesn’t allow my body to dispose of cholesterol. A typical cholesterol test for me is 300-500 range. I’m happy to announce in my last test, taken yesterday, I reached a lifetime low of 164. The first time it’s been under 200 my entire life. Yeah!!!!!
I had a nuclear stress test this past summer and cardiac wise I’ve been cleared with no cardiac issues. However, the energy boost I’ve been told which should have materialized, hasn’t arrived. I’m thinking it’s all the drugs I’m on.
I’ve had several long conversations with my cardiologist and doctor about longevity. The average person with my genetic condition only makes it an additional 10 years. Due to my age, weight, diet, and physical condition he’s confident I’ll get 15 years. Meaning 14 more from today. There is a small percentage of folks, 3-5%, with my genetic condition which will make it 20-30 years. Due to my bypass having been performed with all arteries and no veins, there’s hope I’ll be in the latter group. While any of us could die today, the mere fact of having a high probability of a timeline put to my life has brought about a lot of soul-searching in what I want out of life. I’m not afraid to die, but I am afraid to not live my life. I want to live my life to the fullest and squeeze everything out of it I can while I have the chance. That’s something everyone should be doing but absent the timeline one gets caught up in the day-to-day making a living, getting ahead wheel most of us call life.
This soul-searching has brought me to the conclusion that I’m going to go for my dream and goal I set back in 2009. That’s to visit/experience all 324 countries (As defined by TCC) in the world while inspiring others to reach for their dreams as well. What’s held me back? Why didn’t I go for it before? Simple, I love my career and by most people’s standards, even in America, I make a lot of money and I wasn’t willing to give that security up for the harebrained idea of going broke nomading around the world, an even greater passion of mine than a career I love. With the timeline, I simply don’t care anymore. Why keep working, saving, and living way below my means so that I can retire comfortably in another 10-15 years? I’d still be considered a young retiree and a success in any land. Oh, but now there’s a chance I’d get there and leave behind a large sum to what? A friends cat? I’d rather burn what I’ve saved in the past 30 years (I started saving for retirement at 14) chasing my dream and risk going broke in the process than continue working and knowing that I’d be able to achieve what most would consider a success; retiring in my mid 50’s.
Let’s make one thing clear. I don’t have enough saved up to travel and make it through my life expectancy yet alone if I exceed it. I’m not rich, but I am fortunate to have more saved at my age than the vast majority of humans. Note, it’s going to take 15-20 years to achieve my goal, so I need to figure out a way to create an income while traveling to afford the travel and my healthcare. I’m willing to vagabond it and travel on an extreme budget to extend my funds, but I hope I won’t always have to travel that way. I have no guaranteed plan on how to achieve this. So, on the surface, it’s business lunacy.
I have some generalized plans which are still in development which I will be sharing about more at another time. I will be needing all of your help, at some point. In the meantime, I am staying in my current career until I get my house paid off, which I am nearing and should accomplish within the next year. At least then if I go broke, I’ll have a place to live or an asset I could use in other ways. Sometime in 2015 I will be traveling and blogging again.
Hopefully throughout all this, I’ll attract the girl of my dreams, which either A. I figure out a way to make enough on the road that she joins me on this quest. B. She accepts that I’ll be gone a month at a time between visits at home. or C. She’s filthy rich and can afford my travel habit.
Your turn. What are your dreams, goals, and passions of life? What do you want to do with your life? Are you pursuing it or putting it off for various reasons as I did? Let me know, I am genuinely interested.