Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What Do I Do Now?

I attended the PA Governor's Conference for Women last month.  Aside from the great seminars and addresses from Judge Hatchett, Marcus Buckingham, and the incomparable Suze Orman, there was an exhibitor's hall with filled with vendors and organizations.  There was one table there for Thomas Jefferson Hospital and they were taking blood pressure for free so I volunteered.  It was high.  Very high.  It was a shock, sort of, but not for the reasons that you think.  I was already made aware that my blood pressure was high.  Some years ago, I got my blood pressure checked at the doctor's office and it was high.  I reasoned that clearly my pressure was high because of the stress that I endured in order to have it taken in the first place.  They were having issues with the bp cuff.  (yeah, I know.  I am not a doctor.)  My doctor gave me a lecture and prescribed meds, which I refused to take.  I didn't even bother to get the prescription filled.  Besides, I thought he was overreacting   My bp was never high before.  Plus it's sensitive, so this had to be some kind of fluke. 

I'll admit that I was a little nervous by the diagnosis.  I knew that I had no intention of taking the meds, but I figured that I could step it up in other ways to help lower it.  I already only eat chicken and fish.  I normally use sea salt.  I began exercising.  I also took it easy on the junk food.  I normally don't like salty things, so if I had pretzels or something, I would just rub the salt off.  I just knew that it worked.  A year or two later when I went to my GYN appointment, my blood pressure was high again.  Again, I felt like it was high because of extraordinary circumstances.  A GYN appointment is considered a traumatic experience to most and considering that my bp was taken after the examination, it's no wonder that it was high.

Since then, I have done two Master Cleansers, exercised (although on and off), started getting acupuncture, and lost over 30 pounds. I am doing wonderfully and feel a lot better than I did in those days, so imagine my surprise when she read off those numbers.  It certainly didn't make me feel any better when the nurse told me that I was going to have a stroke.  Another nurse tsked and wagged her finger in admonishment like I was some kind of bad kid.  Then she asked me if I ate a lot of fast food.  I said, "Not at all.  I might get a small or medium McDonald's fries once a month.  Anything else that I ever get from there is a chicken caeser salad."  She looked at me in disbelief.  Then she asked me if I like a lot of salt.  I told her no.  I really don't like salt.  I use sea salt.  That is all that I cook with.  I rub the salt off of potato chips on the rare chance that I eat them.  I tend to buy low sodium or reduced fat items at the grocery store.  Again, they shook their head.  They both assumed that I was lying simply because I am overweight.  To them my weight automatically means that I take soft drinks to the head, live and barely breath fast food, am totally inactive, and pour mounds of salt on everything that I eat.  All of this is so far from the truth.

After that, I just walked around feeling really upset and nervous.  On the drive home, I really thought about it.  I started looking for the silver lining.  (See Be Grateful).  In the end, I was actually grateful to have gotten the news.  It made me realize that my blood pressure is important to monitor, especially since it runs in my family.  It also made me realize how sensitive it can be even when I am doing the right thing.  Now that I know this, I am no longer taking my responsibilities for granted. .

I acknowledge that I am doing some good things and have had great results, but I can do a little more.  I will continue to workout, probably more often now.  I can really monitor the amount of sodium in the foods that I eat.  I can increase the amounts of fruits and veggies that I eat.  I can also do some research to find some alternative therapies to lower my blood pressure and keep it lowered.  The point is, that by getting this wake up call about my health, I have some time to look at other options and make the necessary changes.  If I walked past that table, I could have easily continued on my path until one day I collapsed and meds prescribed and surgeries discussed were mandatory to keep me alive.

Please don't ignore your health.  "Without health, life is not life; it is only a state of langour and suffering - an image of death."  - Buddha


  1. wow i can just imagine how shocking and scary that was but it truly was a blessing because a lot of times we walk around without a clue as to what is really going on inside of our bodies!

    but i am truly glad that you are taking the reins and gearing up to beat this!

    i am cheering you on all the way!

    In Curvatude!

  2. Thank you so much! :-)