South City Confessions: Living with high blood pressure and heart attacks in the family

We’re all going to die. As a wise person once said, none of us are making it out of here alive. Those are just the facts, but it’s all a matter of how you deal with and interpret them. You can either live in fear or get busy living.

For me, it’s an interesting setup. My family has heart disease located in its history, as my wonderful grandfather, Lawrence Bulus aka Pepe, died of a heart attack suddenly. It’s a loss that rocked my family for the first in my existence. My big brother, Bryan, had drove out with Larry on a hunting trip. Bad news followed them home. I was only 7 years old, so it wasn’t a huge jolt.

When you under ten years old, the probability to react with true sadness isn’t very high. You recognize someone important is gone, but the impact is deadened by the time it goes through your parents and other family members. You feel it but not as much or for as long. Children bounce back quick, like a veteran baseball player who doesn’t stay on the injured list for long.

When I was in my 20’s, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. Let me correct that. Very fucking high blood pressure. The bottom number was over 100 essentially. So I went on medication and saw the numbers return to healthy levels. I have been on that for at least 12-15 years. Outside of the random tiny panic attack over something stupid, the blood pressure and heart are fine.

But there’s always that linking idea or possibility resting in your mind. What if it flares up and gets bad very quick? Am I ready for that? The honest answer is no. You can’t live in fear … even if it’s heart disease in the family. You are alert and know of it, but you also deny it the power to overwhelm you. It’s there and you adjust the way the chips are handled.

I live life freely on guard. I go for regular runs and work out often. I eat healthy food while indulging my foodie heart. There’s monitoring and care given to each meal and workout. Staying healthy is a lot about knowing where the line is between overdoing a regimen and taking it too easy. Unless it’s imperative, going fast on any diet or lifestyle chance usually leads in one giving up too soon.

I work out so I can eat, but it’s also to keep the body running on all cylinders. If one thing shuts down, a few more could follow-so keeping them strong is my goal. It’s what I am doing for my family and future. Really, it’s trying to stay sane with exercise and find a way to enjoy everything. The key is sticking around for as long as I can.

Like Shia LaBeouf’s character from “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” Tyler, said to his new friend, Zac, about going for his first swim: “We’re all going to die. Nothing can change that. But it’s all about doing some cool shit while you’re here, so don’t be a bitch. Come on!” I could have mixed up a few words from that magnificent film’s script, so my apologies Tyler and Michael. But the message still hits home: we’re not going to be here forever, so have some fun and make the days count.

That’s my goal. Nice and easy, moving with passion forward with recognition of the future.

Thanks for reading this random snippet of thought,



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