"Got no diamonds, got no wealth, I got no men, but I got my health."
DAY 8: Within the past month or so, I passed a milestone that is simultaneously distressing and hopeful. I have officially lived longer than my father. My father died of congestive heart failure at the very young age of 48 (my current age) the day before Thanksgiving Day, 1985. I inherited extremely high cholesterol and blood lipid levels from my dad which cannot be controlled by diet alone. Fortunately, there are numerous medications available to me now that my father never had, and my blood lipid levels are WELL under control. My dad was also a heavy smoker - a habit I fortunately never picked up. I could write more about my father, but I'll save that for a future blog post ... this post is to express my gratitude for my health.
In the Fall of 2006, I finally recognized that my weight was out of control. I was not happy with myself or my appearance, and that dissatisfaction was spilling over into over areas of my life. It was also not lost on me that I was only a few years younger than my dad was when he died. I had lost weight before, and quite easily, but the older I got, the more difficult it became. My dear friend, Staci, had just started going to Jenny Craig, so I decided that it might be easier to face these demons and conquer this enemy with support from someone else who was waging the same battle.
Within about a year and a half, by the early Spring of 2008, I had lost 70 pounds and felt healthier and happier about my appearance than I had felt in a long time. Unfortunately, 2008 was yet to send me a few other wake-up calls. I had my first "old guy's physical" in December of 2007, and although my doctor was very pleased with my overall health, there were some things that concerned him. My EKG was slightly abnormal and he sent me to a cardiologist, and although I've never had any symptoms of heart issues (that I'm aware of), he ordered a cardiac catheterization in April of '08. After perhaps the most frightening procedure of my life, I am now the proud owner of three stents and there is apparently one other blood vessel that will likely need similar treatment before all is said and done. That same year, I had my first regular colonoscopy. Without going into unnecessary details, the doctor said I had "dodged a significant bullet" there as well. Though I had succeeded in losing all that weight, I had never faced mortality so completely and frequently as I did in 2008.
Which brings me to 2009 ... it's been a tricky year. I would be the first to admit that part of my reason (other than the obvious health concerns) for losing the weight was loneliness and the feeling that my appearance was preventing me from being in relationship. I don't need to tell you (if you read my blog a couple of days ago) that I am still single and it's been a TREMENDOUSLY rocky up-and-down year of dating. So, of course, being the emotional eater that I am, the old fat person took control and decided it wasn't quite worth it to stay too thin. Add to that two nearly back-to-back theatre shows. Theatre is a marvelous thing, but it can play havoc with your eating habits, particularly when it comes to late-night munching on really bad food (the only kind that's available late at night).
I've put back on about 20 of the 70 pounds I lost, but people still tell me I look great and that helps. I know, however, that my health is important and I'm grateful for every day I'm alive. I also know that I don't feel as healthy as I did at the beginning of this year and it's time to get back on the program and lose this weight FOR GOOD. This time, though, it's for me and for the healthy, in control, person I want - NEED - to be ... And when that "fat guy" who hides under my skin peeks out to knock me down, I need to learn to tell him to shut the hell up. I have already lived longer than my dad, and FULLY intend to live for MUCH MUCH longer ...