For me, it started with a phone call. For more than 20 years, I lived many miles from my parents. Although we visited back & forth regularly, our main communication was by phone. This particular call came about 7 years ago. My father had just had 4 cancerous moles removed and his dermatologist told him to tell his children that they all needed to be checked. I was only 40 but I was living in Florida and was out on the Gulf most weekends. I had fantastic health insurance so I figured I’d go ahead & get checked just to reassure my sweetie.
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Ha. The joke was on me. My brand new dermatologist said that he wanted to remove 2 of my moles. They weren’t “bad” yet, but looked like they would cause problems in the future. Same thing the next year. And the 3rd. Except on the 3rd trip (3 times a charm, right?) I got a call back. One of this year’s moles was pre-cancerous. He told me how lucky I was that we caught it so early.
Another phone call revealed that my mother had suffered a stroke. Only mild damage that she eventually overcame with therapy. But it was only the beginning for her. When she gets super-stressed, she has mini-strokes. She still has high blood pressure but the minute it gets back down in the recommended range, she quits taking per pills because they are for HIGH blood pressure and her’s is NORMAL. Don’t even get me started on that one.
The next really bad call was when they discovered that one of my father’s kidney’s had to be removed because it was full of cancer. I talked to him on the phone the morning after the surgery but he was so weak I could barely hear him. Turns out he had a heart attack during the night and everyone thought that he was just still in pain from the surgery. This turned into a really major hospital stay when his thyroid went into overdrive and had to be chemically killed and he was put on Synthroid for the rest of his life.
I could go on like this for several pages, but you get the gist of it. And when you add in a brother with thyroid problems, high blood pressure and bad knees, and a sister with high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, you begin to understand why I’ve become paranoid.
I was overweight, living a mostly sedentary life. I earn my living sitting in front of a computer for way too many hours every day. Probably 90% of my ancestors were obese. 3 out of 4 grandparents were. Lots of XXL aunts, uncles & cousins. On both sides of the family. Even though I’ve always been healthy, the cards are stacked against me.
So I’m going to fight back against my genetics. There may be some things like the thyroid problems that I can’t avoid, but if there is the slightest chance that giving up a bowl of rocky road ice cream will keep my blood pressure under control and possible keep me from having either a heart attack or stroke in the future, then I’m all for it.
So this is my motivation for getting healthy. What is yours? What gets you up and on the treadmill in the morning? How do you keep from eating a whole bag of Oreos at once?