Of Life and Death Importance. Part Next

So yes, of course I was ready to change my life. More so than I’d ever been. The doctor put me on some various medications to curb the immediate danger the cholesterol and diabetes put me under but then advised me about my weight. He said, “If we attack the weight and your eating habits, we KNOW with absolute certainty we can make an impact on the blood pressure and the diabetes. So, you need to make some significant changes in how you eat – but this has to be a long term commitment – not simply something to lose weight and then go back to the way you were living. If you do that, all of these problems will only get bigger.” It wasn’t a hard sell at all. This was the right thing, at the exact right moment for me.

So, along with my two diabetic meds, my three blood pressure meds, my cholesterol pills and now most certainly my newest trusty friend in the midst of all of this, Lexapro, I endeavored to do everything I could to get myself OFF of all these pills. I started eating as cleanly as I could, immediately. My breakfast would contain a good clean protein and some fruit. Very modest proportions. My snacks would be composed of nuts and fruit. My lunches and dinners would be mostly vegetables (as many raw as possible) a very modest amount of a lean meat and a small serving of fruit. One of the things I immediately attacked was portion size. After a week or two feeling like I was constantly starving, those misleading thoughts fled and it became clear just how much our culture overeats on a daily basis. We can live with far less food than we shove into ourselves.

After the first couple of months, I began to flirt with the idea of committing to a Whole Food Plant Based diet. I resist the word “vegan” in the same way I would resist other culturally charged words. But essentially, a WFPB diet is vegan. I finally took the leap and it’s been quite enjoyable. Of course, there’s much more to unpack on these subjects, but you can’t say EVERYTHING in one or two posts…so…I’ll end this entry with the good news.

In LESS than 90 days…less than 3 full months…I have dropped 50lbs. I have been taken off almost every single one of my blood pressure meds. Yesterday, after rechecking my blood work, my doctor actually said the words, “You can stop taking your diabetic meds now, according to the medical definition, with your new blood work, you are no longer diabetic. With the weight you’ve lost and your dietary changes, you are officially not diabetic now. You’ve done it.”

In less than 3 months. And literally, ALL I did was change my eating habits. Because of the cholesterol, he wouldn’t let me do any kind of workout at all. All I did was change the way I ate.

50lbs in exactly 79 days. Reversed the diabetes. Almost completely off my blood pressure meds. We’ll recheck the cholesterol in another 3 months.

However, as of yesterday, my doctor told me that now was the time to get back to working out. More on that in my next entry, though.

I’ll leave you with this. Below are a few pictures. The first one is from a cat’s birthday party I attended almost two years ago. Between this picture and where I was three months ago, I MIGHT have lost 10lbs or so, but this was essentially who I was three months ago. Next to that picture, are two pictures my doctor took yesterday in his exam room. Oh, and yes. I said “a cat’s birthday party.”

I can’t tell you what a difference our eating habits make…I can’t convince you that the key to health is in what you eat. But I can show you. There’s no magic to it. No diet pills to take. No meal replacement shakes. No extra money to be spent. Just simply stop eating crap.

True. Story.

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Of course, there’s no way this is over. This is only the beginning.

Of Life and Death Importance. Literally.

Sit back, grab some coffee, and enjoy this little story. To set a little background for this journey, five years ago I was diagnosed with extremely high blood pressure. When I say high blood pressure, I mean, I should be dead. The last time I was not on medication for it, my blood pressure was 236/124. Like I said, I should be dead. So five years ago, I started the journey to figuring out how to control this, medically. After two years of struggling with different medication combinations, my doctor and I settled on a combination of drugs that kept things at a much safer level. Three different meds, two of them taken in the morning and the third med taken three times a day, brought my blood pressure down to something more in the 150s/90s range. Still not wonderful, but much better. Once we found that cocktail, I started seeing my doctor on a regular 3 month basis to keep tabs on everything.

So…this story actually begins about 6 months ago. My doctor, realizing that it had been a few years since I had any blood work done, sent me home with paperwork to get labs run on my blood before I came in the next time. I didn’t go. I found all sorts of excuses on why, but basically, I just didn’t go. So three months ago, I went back in and he was really bothered by the fact that I didn’t get my blood work done. I remember his exact words, “Do you not care what’s going on with your body?” He asked if I had eaten anything that morning yet, or had anything other than water…serendipitously enough, I hadn’t. So he demanded I immediately go and have my blood work done that morning. I had no excuses, so I went.

A few days later, he called me, worried and asked me to drop whatever I was doing and come see him immediately. He didn’t want to delay starting treatment based on the results of my blood work. “Treatment?” I thought. I began to share his concern, so I dropped what I was doing and went in.

I’ll never forget these words. He said, “Well, we know you’re overweight (ouch) and have struggled with high blood pressure…but now your cholesterol is through the roof and you’re apparently diabetic. Who knows how long you’ve been an untreated diabetic, since you haven’t had blood work in a very long time…but congratulations…with the combination of these four conditions, you’ve just graduated into a special group of people who could have a massive heart attack at any given moment 24 hours a day. So, are you ready to change your life?”

Holy moly. I was absolutely beside myself. I had no idea, obviously. I think for the first time in a life time of trying different things to change my health, I was finally ready.

(to be continued)

 

Morning Moments

IMG_5781Mornings have always been important times for me. A time to collect my thoughts, celebrate accomplishments from the day before, organize my lists of things to be done today. For the last few months, however, mornings have taken on a new importance. Ever since the 2016 Health Crisis®, my mornings have also been about constant health monitoring. Every morning, before coffee, before breakfast, before I do anything else, I weigh in on a digital scale, I check my blood pressure, and I check my blood sugar. I also evaluate my heart rate data from the day before and I plan my meals out for the day.

At 43, I’m not getting any younger, but my entire goal is to be on this planet as long as possible and to do everything in my power to live the best life I can. Years ago, my doctor told me, “You think you’re invincible, and you are – but your container is not.” So, I’m trying to treat my container with as much kindness as possible. And why not? I like this place. I love my life. So why not take steps to extend?

When I have more time, I’ll get into the 2016 Health Crisis®, which wasn’t so much a health crisis as it was a moment of reality and the need for change. There’s so much to say on this topic…and so many other topics. However, one day at a time…one thought at a time.

I just got to a place where I realized that if I say my life is valuable, then I owe it to myself to examine how much value I truly place on it – and to determine if my actions are lining up with my words.

Just a thought. By the way, today’s thought is brought to you by the letter Coffee.