Deformed Carotid Artery Forced Dietary Changes

After a two decades of mysterious illness and random superficial blood clots that took years away from the poker tables, I finally have answers. However, with those answers has come a gut punching reality that I have to make changes or suffer the morbid consequences.

My first round of clots I took me down in my mid-twenties. At first, the doctors brushed me off as too young and diagnosed anxiety. I had stroke like symptoms followed by horrible migraines that would come and go with no rhyme or reason. I suffered a missed miscarriage that year. Pathology found a massive clot in the cord. Suddenly, ignoring me turned into respect, apologies and testing began.

Photo by Liza Summer on

Blood work showed Lupus Anticoagulant which is a clotting disorder that comes and goes. I started taking Aspirin and do annual blood work ever since to make sure levels are normal. Things were great for a long time after they figured things out. However, in my mid-thirties, I ended up with another round of clots. While playing poker in a state championship my body took a painful turn. My leg hurt out of no where and I had trouble focusing at the final table. I finished in 4th place, I’m so bummed because I actually think I would have won had my leg not started cramping.

Thanks goodness my friend has access to a private prop jet. We ladies flew over in luxury which saves so much time. When I got home doc immediately went to work. He knew a clot formed based upon my symptoms but the ultra sound of my leg showed nothing. My Lupus Anticoagulant came back negative as well. The symptoms got worse over the next few weeks. After more labs and an MRI they found the superficial clots had traveled to my chest. Thank God the clots were not deep vein. Where the hell did these clots originate became the million dollar question?

I flew with a model, a private casino owner and a poker tour owner. They all are used to flying. I have airplane phobia so I hugged the nose for luck to the amusement of the other ladies.

The vascular surgeon ran a CT scan of my head and neck. He ended up finding a deformed carotid artery. Due to the artery being deformed the area was unusually clogged at a young age. The odds of having an issue like this are rare. Like why cant I hit the low odd chance of winning the Main Event of WSOP instead 😊 Believe it or not doc said I was very lucky to find this issue young. Another decade down the line and I would have probably dropped dead of a stroke or heart attack.

A twenty year mystery has now been solved but digs up more stress and issues. Doc wants me on a cholesterol med but Id like a chance to try and reverse the stenosis. I hate pills, I like to handle things naturally and with hard work. We argued for a few weeks over statins and I even emailed a release of liability should anything happen to me. The doctors say there’s 0% chance to reverse stenosis but I at least want to try before going on a pill the rest of my life. Especially a pill with a bunch of side effects. We eventually found neutral ground. I have one year to show a change in my artery or Ill go on the statin.

Now the hard work begins to end a lifetime of fatty recipes, over meat indulgence and Holiday food fests. I love steak, I love prime rib, I freaking love bacon but the new reality screams stop. My favorite foods will kill me at a young age if I do not stop eating them. Painfully, I started to research Veganism. As a family we watched the movie The Game Changers and I read a lot of university studies online. After a week of research there’s no way I can completely convert to being a vegetarian. There are some parts of the diet that I do not think are healthy in the long run. Humans need balance and moderation. I also want to enjoy my meals.

I chose Pescatarian life with eggs. We shall see how this journey goes. After researching Mediterranean lifestyle, they are the only culture to actually reverse artery stenosis due to the high vegetable and fish intake. The process shouldn’t be too hard as I already love all Mediterranean foods. However, what’s Thanksgiving going to be like this year? I make a kick ass turkey with sides. Envisioning Christmas with no prime rib is like having no Christmas tree! I really hope in a few months these emotions will not be an issue. Anyone here an ex meat lover who has successfully converted?

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