Sunday, July 21, 2013

On the Road Again . . .

 Not sure how the title will fit this blog, but let’s get started!  Background first, since I haven’t blogged in a bazillion days . . .

Over the past couple months I’ve been on yet another “road to health” that has left me with mixed emotions.  Yeah, I’m losing weight, and I’m more active, and I’ve given away every piece of clothing that is too big. This meant two trips of boxes and bags to our local family homeless shelter, as I found several bins of “just because” clothing on shelves in the garage while doing my summer cleaning! But . . . I’m fighting a very real feeling that this isn’t the health program for me.  I don’t like the road I’m on for a number of reasons.

I won’t go into the details, or badmouth the program, as many love it and are true blue fans.  That’s ok for them, but it isn’t feeling right for me, and quite honestly, I had to talk myself into it in the first place. I haven’t been 100% committed, although I have followed it faithfully, hoping that I would find myself in that state of near Nirvana others spoke of while taking this particular road to good health. (It didn’t happen; more energy and euphoria continues to elude me!)

So I thought about what does feel right ~ frequent small meals that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates, exercise daily, stay clear of sugary treats and junk food ~ and decided that I will wean myself off of the program and instead trust myself to make healthy choices on my own.

Novel idea, I agree!  I know my strengths, and weaknesses, quite well.  I know that in the past twenty-five years I have been unable to maintain any kind of weight loss program on my own. I’ve needed incentive to stick to it ~ other people to commiserate with, and usually paying big $$ for food and/or supplements.

(Little FYI ~ I never had a weight problem until I quit smoking 26 years ago.  Do I have a compulsive personality?  Yeah, I think so.  However, I draw the line at picking up the smoking habit as a mode to weight loss!  Some roads I simply will not take again!)

But, alas, this past was before I changed to my new primary care doctor, who has left no stone unturned in making sure I get healthy, come hell or high water.  Our first conversation was 75 minutes long last January.  I was in tears: I pretty much hated her and never wanted to see her again.  She told me I was depressed, and I didn’t believe her until I started a medication for depression.  She was right, I got really depressed when I gained 10 more pounds in a month!

In the meantime, she had ordered blood work that came back leading her to believe I was on the road to self-destruction. (I guess my “road” title is working out) She said, “Get some weight off, NOW!”  I cried some more and blamed the medication . . . so, she changed it and told me I had three months to bring down my cholesterol and blood sugar numbers before I’d be put on more medication.

Well, the new depression medication was amazing.  I didn’t know I was supposed to be happy, and was surprised to discover that I liked being in happy mode. Hmmm . . .

There were a few other medical alerts during the spring: suspicious moles (I had a chunk of my cheek removed due to skin cancer, which was sewn up beautifully!) and problems suspected in my bladder and kidneys (had a couple unpleasant procedures, and then had a kidney stone blasted to smithereens, as it was too big to pass without surgery).

I lost a few pounds on my own, but heard about a “miracle program”  (I know, where was my brain you wonder??) and I was enticed with the magic of dropping more weight quicker and being in a state of “Optimal Health” so I signed up and got started in May.

Within a week, since I had a re-check appointment with Dr. Kill Joy (not her real name), I was half hoping she would tell me I couldn’t do the program.  She snickered when I told her what it was (first time she has cracked a smile) asking how I liked the food (I personally think it’s pretty awful!) and agreed I could stay on it, as I was already losing weight and she was happy to see that.  However, she ordered further blood work to be sure my numbers were where they were supposed to be. 

My blood pressure had been high the last three times, however in all fairness, two of them were prior to medical procedures and I wasn’t too alarmed.  Dr. KJ was, naturally, and told me to stick to a low sodium diet, buy a blood pressure cuff and record readings at least twice a day.  Luckily, this food program made it easy to track the sodium, but it was still a challenge to stay below 1500 mg per day.  And, my blood pressure continued to be in the “you’re not dead yet, but you’re in danger” zone, so the doctor required me to start blood pressure medication.  The first one made me dizzy, despite the fact I was on ½ of the dose.  However, the current one is working well, with no dizziness.

I’ve learned a few things on this road trip to health. 

First, although I should have been prepared for this, I am more fully aware of my limitations as I flounder in the 60’s. Nothing comes easy, everything takes twice as long as it used to, and half of what I used to know I’ve forgotten. 

Second, I’ve found myself scared into submission.  The focus has shifted from “I wish I could lose weight” to “I have to lose weight” if I want to enjoy a certain quality of life.  Lately, I like the fact that I can easily bend over to pick beans in the garden, or paint my own toes.  Simple pleasures, but I’ll take them.

Third, I have two daughters planning weddings in the not so distant future.  I really want to look good in those family photos that will hang for posterity on the family room wall.

Oh yeah, and if I eat right, exercise and take care of myself, maybe I can keep a few of those prescriptions out of my life a while longer. 

There has never been a better time for me to reward myself with good health, so I’m on the road again . . .