Taking Care of My Health

Oct
08
by Christine

Another picture from our recent trip to Maine.

I have been flat on my back for the past week with a mega cold. It was a lovely parting gift from my twin grandbabies. Two very huggable six month olds whose smiles caused me to experience a momentary lapse in judgment. Truthfully, I weighed the pros and cons for engaging with two sick babies. Over the past ten years, each one of my grandchildren have shared a cold with me at one time or another so I thought why should these kids be treated any differently? Little did I know twins pack a double dose of cold germs.

In 2007 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. To hear the “C” word is mind numbing and momentarily debilitating. As my doctor explained to me “if God said to you that you were going to have cancer but you got to choose, thyroid cancer would be the choice.” Thyroid cancer has a 95% cure rate and 2012 marked my 5th anniversary cancer free. But thyroid cancer changed my life.

Pre-TC I lived life as though it was a sprint, moving from thing-to-thing as fast as I could. My capacity to raise my children, manage a home, hold down a job and volunteer in my community on minimal sleep and a marginal diet was great. No was rarely used in my vocabulary unless it was to say, “no problem.” 

But in 2007 my life became a marathon. I had to pace myself. I had to eat properly, exercise and get enough sleep. I had to learn to say no. Now this didn’t come easy and it took me a while to figure it out. Slowly, maybe too slowly, I understood that the key to living the life I wanted started with taking care of myself. Yes, maybe others could stay up late to watch David Letterman but not me. As for alcohol, even moderation was sometimes too much and exercise, a requirement.  Slowly, healthy living has become a way of life.

The most difficult skill I have needed to learn was to say no.  To say no to myself, “no, you can’t stay in bed, get up and go exercise”. To say no to others, “no thank you. I don’t want a drink.”  But what I have learned was if I use the word judiciously, I would be healthier and ultimately, have the energy to live the life want. Sometime though the life I want includes cuddling and hugging a sick grandbaby. Of course I did suffer the consequences of my decision.

There is a quote by the writer, Augusten Burroughs, “When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.” It is a clique for only those who have never experienced the loss of good health. I ask you to take this day to make a conscious effort to care for your health. Notice if it takes work or does it come easily?  And finally what advice would you give to someone not caring for his or her health?

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