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I Do Know Why - January 6, 2012

Friday, January 06, 2012

[DISCLAIMER: This blog is going to be a bit brutal, so you might want to keep moving and find a more motivational one.]

As some of you may have already seen, I’ve had a rough week this week, and my feed has reflected some of that. Now let me tell you some of why I’ve been a tad ornery. I finally realized why. Or at least part of the reason why.

I guess it started about three months ago when my former boss, who has since become a very dear friend, sent me an e-mail that her husband had had a stroke that morning. What was so shocking to me was this was a 54-year old man in apparent good health. It came like a bolt from the blue. Strokes don’t usually happen in someone so young.

Flash forward to last week, and I get ANOTHER e-mail from someone else, with the subject line reading, “Pray for D”. Reading further, I discovered that HER husband had been found in full cardiac arrest on the living room couch that morning, and was rushed to the hospital and placed in a medically-induced coma as a protective mechanism. His age? Fifty-four also.

Two men. Fairly young. Two serious events. The second time being on the receiving end of all this, I felt like it was “déjà vu all over again.”

I went to the hospital last Tuesday night to check on Friend Number Two, and while waiting for her to talk to the nurses, I called my best friend and found HER barely able to speak to me. She said that she barely was able to drive herself home from work, and told me she had severe chest pain. I know her to be a relatively practical person, not usually given to histrionics, so I took this quite seriously. She said she was waiting for her husband to come home so he could help her go to the bathroom. Now I am speechless. She’s 60 years old, not 90. Her husband told me that she had made an appointment with the doctor, but after taking two aspirins and feeling better, she canceled the appointment and instead went to work the next day. What I love so much about all this is, she gave her husband a stern lecture about losing weight and getting into better shape. In other words, “Do as I say, not as I do.” In fairness to her, she is in good physical shape, but I would like to know the reason for her symptoms, not just that she was feeling better. From where I sit, the symptoms were just too bizarre, and I still believe there is a need for medical consultation (we have yet to talk about that, but we sure will).

All these recent cataclysmic events got me to thinking. There are some things for certain within our control, and others as my boss wrote to me tonight that we cannot control. I agree, but I do know one thing, and wrote this to a friend the other day: The only way we can help avert a catastrophic event, if it is at all in our power to do so, is to be in optimal shape physically. The genetics, we cannot conquer. Our age is immutable, but being in prime form is the only thing we can do for ourselves to maintain a semblance of good health. So why is this so hard?

Do we have to be in denial until something horrific happens? Or as a friend’s husband did, when he was told about his health, drop to the floor and do major pushups to prove that the “powers that be” are, indeed, wrong?

In Case Number One, cited above, it is now believed that this man’s heart was enlarged (discovered on further work up for the stroke) secondary to nutritional supplements he had taken to lose weight (He is stable, by the way, and was discharged from the hospital the next day, with almost a complete recovery). His wife had gastric surgery (the non-reversible type) a year and a half ago, and is still suffering the effects of it, with persistent vomiting. I just have to ask: Do we have to die to be thin or thinner? What price is too high a price for a “killer beach body”? Must we go and resort to extreme measures to be healthy?

All major diet plans on the market today share the same structure: Caloric reduction, more physical activity, lifestyle alterations for life.

We know quick fixes don’t work. So many people on SP have been blogging lately, chastising themselves for weight gain over the holidays. This is for the long haul, and a lifetime of bad habits are fighting back with a vengeance.

So I guess my question to you folks is, what exactly will it take to arrive at good health permanently? I sure don’t have the answer either.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wowsers what a bunch of blows you have had! And these people are all important to you of course, so these things not only hit close to home, but so close that they are practically knocking your door down!

    I often wonder when I will abandon my ultimate desire to have that perfect body that society screams at me i simply MUST have to be happy (through every media outlet). But something keeps stirring up the desperate need to deprive myself. What's that about?

    With all of the ridiculousness that IS me already (ailments and all), I need to offer myself more grace. Thank you for reminding me of that with this great blog!!

    2929 days ago
  • CANNIE50
    Oh my gosh, you have sustained a series of shocks. I think your point about controlling that which we can control - attitude, lifestyle, fitness, nutrition, education - is excellent. We don't choose our genetics, we can't wish ourselves younger, but we can show some respect to the amazing body we are given - the only body we will ever have. My best wishes to you and your friends. I am one of those people who believes in stating truth, even when it is painful, and even when it hasn't been asked for. Some of the greatest gifts I have ever been given by friends, at different points in my life, were when they said something to me that I most certainly did not want to hear, but that I needed to be told. I think you are probably good at being the friend who lovingly states hard facts. I have a relative in her 60's who is morbidly obese and bedridden almost SOLELY due to poor nutrition and being totally sedentary. She tries to play "make-believe" about her condition and I refuse to play, thus I am not the best nursing home visitor. It just goes against my nature to passively watch someone self-destruct. It actually made me mad, as I was gaining weight, that NO ONE said anything, that they were afraid to talk to me about it. "You're not THAT fat", people would say to me, as I drug around 50 extra pounds of burden on my heart and lungs and joints. Oh, dear, I have gone on a bit of a rant but, in my defense, this IS a powerful blog. Thank you for posting it.
    2930 days ago
    You have had a hard week. I am so sorry. I hope your friends will be restored to good health.
    I agree with everything you write here. This past year has been a real eye opener for me too. Since finding out my Daddy has cancer and watching what he has had to go through, I have become much more aware of the necessity of good health habits. Thanks for opening your heart and sharing this. Praying for you and your friends.
    2932 days ago
    I am gobsmacked! I just learned yesterday that a friend of mine (lives out of town) died of a stroke!

    Wow! I don't know what the ultimate cure for denial is, but it sure doesn't work to our benefit.

    I am sorry to hear of all the bad news. Just take care of yourself!

    And BTW it really strikes home for me . . . DH is going to be 60 on the 17th of Jan., and I will be 58 in February. I certainly pray that we BOTH bypass the denial and go straight for the taking care of ourselves . . . seeing as I'm in charge of that one, it's a pretty safe bet that denial isn't going to win out!

    My best for your friends going through this terrible time! And you too.
    2932 days ago
    some things you can control, some things you can't. you do the best you can for the former (always knowing you can do a little better), and you don't blame yourself (or your friends) for the latter. susceptibility and chance still play important roles. which i guess i why i like the saying about learning to dance in the rain. because you can't stop the rain. (that is a song, right?)
    2933 days ago
    You have been through a lot of sobering events. Each of us has to think about our mortality, and what we can do to improve our lifestyle, in order to improve our overall health. I've noticed that some people are so worried about what they ate between Christmas and the New Year, when they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas. Some people are pushing themselves too hard to run half marathons, and feeling dismayed when their 60+ bodies are not capable of such punishment. Maybe our model should be "Everything in Moderation", taking one day at a time to enjoy each day. I'm trying too... it's not an easy task.
    Lets hope that you'll have brighter skies tomorrow... I blogged a nice one for you! emoticon
    2933 days ago
  • MIQUEY73
    Persistance in being active and eating healthy foods. We are human and there are a lot of factors (genetics, hormones, etc) that go into weight loss and then maintenance. All we can do is to continue to work at it...

    I don't know that we'll ever be able to say that it's permanent. We will always have to be viligent; which is why it needs to be a lifestyle change and not a quick solution as you mentioned.

    I think you've been doing great in being consistent with your virtual trek. You're logging miles and learning things along.

    I hope you're friends continue to get healthy and overcome the challenges they've been faced with. I also pray that your other friend speaks with her doctor.

    All the best for a better weekend! emoticon
    2933 days ago
    Sobering thoughts
    2933 days ago
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