Coach Benjamin Ciesinski
For as long as I can remember, I have considered myself a healthy person. As a result, I wasn’t terribly concerned when learning of my elevated cholesterol from blood tests for life insurance. At first, I tried eating less meat and more whole grains, but that drove my numbers higher. Less carbs seemed to help, so I took medication and kept some level of effort. Nothing too strict, but still thinking I was doing better than the average person.
My father had a stent followed by a valve rebuild, so I knew I had some familial issues. It wasn’t until my mother died of a sudden heart attack that I knew I had to act.
I found a cardiologist, and we did all the usual tests – echo, carotid scan, stress test, EKG – everything looked great. But a more advanced blood test showed I had a very elevated Lipoprotein(a). I won’t go into exactly what Lp(a) is here, but a high Lp(a) combined with elevated cholesterol is reason to be concerned. A CT coronary angiogram later showed moderate to severe heart disease.
I was devastated. I had a hard time focusing on anything other than having a heart attack and leaving my wife and children alone.
From that day on, my life's trajectory totally changed. My free time was dedicated to reading, listening, and watching anything and everything related to which factors contributed to having heart disease and what I could do to improve the situation. I had a new passion in life, so with careful consideration, I left my job to pursue it. I want to use my experience in educating others and my growing knowledge to help others be their best.
This passion for learning and taking a proactive response to challenge is exactly how I help you. It’s true that you can’t change your genes, but you can influence how they are expressed. As a coach, we focus on what you put in your body, stress management/mindfulness, sleep, movement, and understanding how they affect one another.
Many who find themselves with a chronic disease in their 30s, 40s, or 50s, or later, feel guilt or surprise, as I did. But you aren't alone, it's not your fault, and you have a say in your future. It's never too late to make a change.