Thanks to SactoBob, blondie, f1jim, and landog for your help.
I haven't gone quite as far as a totally vegetarian, oil-free diet, but I have gone to a mostly vegetarian diet, with fresh fruits & vegetables, whole grains & oats, extremely limited oil & fat, and fish such as salmon and trout. I've been doing this for almost three months.
You really need to see Dr. Esselstyn's lectures, read his website, and buy and read his book. There is little if any benefit in reducing your intake off harmful foods. As Dr. E puts it, you are still throwing fuel on a fire. Reducing the amount is not going to put out the fire
I may take the next step to eliminate all oil, fat, and fish from my diet, but I feel I should adjust to my new diet first. A lot will depend on what my stress echo cardiogram later this month shows. If I am convinced that my cardiac condition is as serious as my doctor says, then I'll be more inclined to eliminate all oil, fat, and fish from my diet, but I'm coming to realize he's not very informed about cardiac issues.
Doctors are very accurate in diagnosing CAD. I would bet a lot of money that they are correct in your case. They are also very knowledgeable about the statistics of death and disability. I'm sure that they have a very good basis for both your diagnosis and prognosis. If you are in doubt, and do not want to start the program without more definite proof, then you may want to consider doing the further studies that the docs recommend. IMO, patient denial is the only really good reason for these tests.
My doctor insists I'll be dead in 2-3 years if I don't do the catheterization, but from what I can tell, my condition is not as serious as many others. My cholesterol was borderline acceptable three months ago (and has probably improved since then). my weight is acceptable and dropping, and I've exercised regularly all my life. A resting EKG and a resting echo cardiogram both showed no problems at all (but a stress EKG and CT scan did show a possible problem). I've had no chest pains and no symptoms other than the weakness, dizziness, and fainting when my doctor was prescribing too much high blood pressure medicine. The only cardiac problem in my immediate family was my mother having a stroke at age 89.
Denial is a very common response. Again, I would urge you to look at Dr. Esselstyn's research. You are playing with fire IMO.
I just don't think my doctor has grounds for asserting that I'll be dead in 2-3 years if I don't follow his advice.
Using a heart monitor while I walk, hike, and run, I've already noticed my heart rate dropping even though I'm exercising harder and longer, so I believe I'm on the right track. When I get the results late this month of the stress echo cardiogram and current cholesterol levels, I'll consider whether to take the next dietary step and go totally vegan.
You can't exercise away CAD. Jim Fixx proved that conclusively. I myself avoided all exercise until I was reasonably confident that I was "heart attack proof" per Dr. Esselstyn.
In the meantime, I'm still looking for information about the role vigorous or extreme exercise can play in reversing coronary artery disease, coupled with a suitable diet.
There are many reasons why vigorous exercise is not the solution. Exercise plays no part in reversing the disease. What it can do is develop new peripheral circulation around the blockages, and that can relieve the physical discomfort - but it does nothing to stop or reverse the disease. The new peripheral circulation that you develop with exercise takes place in the older plaque that is stable and blocking the circulation. Generally, heart attacks take place in the newer and less stable plaque that is not going to be touched by the exercise program. This is all explained in Dr. Esselstyn's lectures and books.
I can tell you that it not that hard to change your lifestyle to one that is recommended by Drs. McDougall, Esselstyn, Novice etc., and that the quality of your life will be dramatically improved by doing so. You will notice the difference easily within the first month. While I hope that is your choice, I wish you well in any event.