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Success Stories: LindyBill - 32% Plaque Reduction
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The irrepressible Track Your Plaque Member, LindyBill, posts this tale of the ups and downs of achieving coronary plaque reversal in the modern age - in an HMO, no less!

LindyBill’s initial struggles and eventual success highlight how to get the job done, even when the doctors around you do their best to booby-trap your best efforts. LindyBill handled it all with grace, despite the fact that he had acquired deeper appreciation for the finer points of coronary plaque reversal than his doctors.  Here is a true life testimonial in his own words.

I was born in Saginaw Michigan in 1934. My Father built boilers for electrical power companies all over the Midwest and so I spent my childhood on the road. After a couple of years in the Army in the 50’s, I graduated from San Diego State in 1956 and spent my productive years as a salesman and small businessman in California. Raised a family of three kids and retired to Waikiki in 2001.

I was skinny as a rail and never worried about my health. Smoked for 20 years and finally quit using “Shick Shadel” in 1974. I drank heavily for 40 years and quit, again using “Shick Shadel,” in 1995. (Schick Shadel is a hospital in Seattle that uses aversion therapy to get people off booze and cigarettes. They also use if for drugs. It got quite big in the '70s and they had hospitals all over the country. Mainstream medicine was against them and lawyers had a field day suing them. They have the one facility left. Worked great for me.)

By 2007, I was 72, obese (32 BMI), hypertensive (on BP meds) and concerned about my health. I was asymptomatic for any disease, but researching the Internet for medical info. The “Futurepundit” blog had an article on Vitamin D that was interesting and in following it I discovered Dr Davis’s blog. His explanation of heart disease fascinated me and I decided to get a scan. The only EBT machine around was located at Holistica in Waikiki, where I lived, and I scheduled a heart and body scan there in October of 2007.

The scan revealed that I had a 322 calcium score. Plus, I had a bad looking cyst on my kidney. My primary care Doctor at Kaiser Hawaii had me do a stress test which came back negative, and put me on a statin. The kidney cyst was malignant and was removed.

Upon finding the heart disease, I immediately started the full range of “Track your Plaque” supplements, including a 8000 IU dosage of vitamin D. My doctor had no interest in my supplements. My lipids at that time were HDL 34, Triglycerides 98, and LDL 119. Kaiser had a contract with VAP but had never ordered a test from them. The attitude of the Cardiology Dept was the Lipoprotein analysis was “an experimental test which had no clinical use.”

In the summer of 2007 I joined the TYP site and finally faced up to my obesity. I was very put off by the concept of not eating bread and doubted my ability to do this. But when I stopped wheat, corn, sugar, rice and potatoes, I found it very easy to stay off. To my surprise, I found myself losing a pound a week. I was 252 when I started and by January of ‘09 I was down to 222, at 28 BMI.

I participated very heavily in posting on the TYP website and my learning curve was accelerated by the input from Dr. Davis and others there. The more I learned, the more I realized how behind the times mainstream medicine was on preventive treatment of heart disease. They were doing a great job when you had angina or a heart attack, but preventing those events from happening were not a point of major interest for most doctors. It seemed to be a “lose weight, take and statin and call me if you have chest pain” attitude. Details of diet and use of supplements were never mentioned.

This last two years of concentrating on improving my health, posting here, and researching has made me realize that the only person who is interested in improving my health is me. I quit worrying about finding the "right" doctor and now spend my time figuring out what I need to do next, doing it, and getting the doctor to help if it involves a test or script. I count on the doctor to find things I am not aware of, but sense that what I am aware of is much better taken care of by me. A doctor spends 20 minutes a few times a year going over my health. I spend 24/7/365 on it.

In October of 2008 I finally convinced my Kaiser Doctor to order a heart scan and was astounded when it came back with a score of 219, a 32% reduction from my first score. My Doctor there and the Kaiser Cardiologist I talked to were not interested. They don’t believe in heart scans.

In March I changed my primary care Doctor and the new one had no interest in heart scans or advanced lipid panels. But he, at least, was willing to accommodate me. I negotiated a VAP [Vertical Auto Profile lipoprotein] test by agreeing to pay the $40 additional cost. When this came back I was again astounded by the major difference in my lipids. My 34 HDL was up to 46. My 98 triglycerides were down to 48. My LDL has dropped from 119 to 52. In addition, I found my small dense LDL, which I believe used to be high, is in the A/B 50% position. My Lp(a) is 9. My apoB/apoA ratio is 0.4.

I am continuing my efforts to reduce my weight, my small LDL ratio, and my calcium score by staying on the TYP diet and supplements. Without my reading of Dr. Davis’s blog and joining his site I would be sitting here with undiagnosed heart disease, waiting for angina or a heart attack to happen.

The active resistance by doctors to practicing "best medicine" on heart patients is discouraging, to say the least. It makes you wonder in what other areas of medicine their practice is also behind the times. They want to use new diagnostic tools when they are "sexy," such as procedures. And they want to do what the other doctors they hang out with do. Other than that, if it wasn't taught to them in medical school, they are not interested. Most have little or no interest in non-prescription drugs. Their prejudice against supplements is just as bad as the "back to nature" type's prejudice against scripts.

There’s more . . .

My natural reaction, and that of most of us here, is to preach to the world. I call it UBF: the "Universal Blab Force" we are all afflicted with. Counterproductive and a waste of time. If your doctor wants your opinion, "he will beat it out of you."

I realized even then that what I needed to do was not to argue with them but to figure out the treatment I wanted and convince the doctors to give me the tests and scripts I needed.

When I came back to my primary care doctor in ‘07 with my kidney and heart scans, I never said a word to him about the fact that he should have found the problems. He wanted me to take a statin and get a stress test? Fine. Gave me a one page handout that told me to lose weight? Fine. I knew the stress test was just defensive on his part, but it cost me nothing but my time and I was interested in learning about the procedure. I knew then that he was a "weight and statin" Doctor, with no other preventative measures in his arsenal. So what? All the others there were probably the same. I did force him into ordering a heart scan when Kaiser got a 64-slice machine in stock. But when I got Afib [atrial fibrillation], he was content to leave me on warfarin for life. Told me my "compliance" made me a good candidate for it. That was the end of him for me. I found out who the electrophysiology cardio at the hospital was and set up an appointment with him. He did an excellent job of cardioversion for me.

He was a Boston doctor who had taught at Harvard and thought he passed "Nun's farts." Tried to hide his arrogance with the patients but was not very good at it. He was brought in to run the whole electrical end of the Cardiology Dept for Kaiser Hawaii. I had two fun exchanges with him. First time I saw him my calcium score had just been posted and I asked him to look it up. When he told me it was 219, a 32% regression in a year, I couldn't hold in my excitement. It was obvious this was the first Agatston score he had ever looked at. After he looked down his nose at me and told me he had no use for calcium scores, his response to my "why?" was "they use too much radiation." I responded, "they only use about eight X-rays" and he backed right off. His lack of knowledge and interest was obvious.

Later in our interview I told him the main reason I was so interested in getting off warfarin was that it caused an increase in plaque. He made no response to this statement but four weeks later when he did the cardioversion and he visited me during the recovery period it was obvious that this claim of mine had stuck in his mind and he had researched it. He brought the subject up and said, "Do you want a stroke or a heart attack? A stroke is much worse." I told him, "That's false alternatives. I don't want either." I never told him that I had balanced my warfarin with 90 mcg of K2 every day. I knew this would make him have a cow. But I found it made it even easier to maintain a 2.4 INR level. And I hoped it held down plaque increase.

I became friendly with the urologist who removed my kidney cyst and who had discussed dieting with me before and after I had lost 30 pounds. This led to letting loose to him with my UBF about cardiologists. Which resulted in the change in my primary care doctor to the one I have now. It was this late in the game that I finally realized that seeing a cardiologist was a waste of time unless I needed a procedure. They are all "cath lab" oriented.

So now I negotiate tests and scripts with my new primary care. I know he is a "weight and statin, call me if you have chest pain," doctor who practices 1985 cardiology otherwise. That's fine because he is friendly to my outlook and is willing to order most of the tests and scripts I need. I just got the VAP. I will get another heart scan this October and another VAP next year. In the meantime I will take my supplements, dance, ocean walk daily and generally enjoy life. I tell you, the girls on the beach at Waikiki get better looking every year!

Dr. Davis comments:

Coronary plaque reversal couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

I can’t describe the tremendous satisfaction I get when someone like LindyBill, encountering nothing but indifference towards this life-changing (sometimes, life-ending) question, discovers the solution and vastly improves on what any of the doctors around him could have achieved.

Had LindyBill started out by asking his doctors if coronary plaque could be reversed, he likely would have received the usual snide comments, scoffs, or dismissals. Instead, LindyBill sought his own answers - and found them.

Not everybody who follows the Track Your Plaque program will reverse heart disease and see their heart scan score drop. However, I know of no better, more effective method to stack the odds more heavily in your favor.

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