If you want to ask something nearly impossible of an introvert, ask them to write a blog about themselves. Sheesh! This is going to be a rough one for me to write.
Yes, I’m an introvert and don’t normally air my health laundry…… but my passion to promote great health is bigger than my privacy issues…. and YOUR health is just as important as mine…. so I’m here to spill the beans on how I came to be “a healthy me” at the age of 50. Perhaps you can glean some inspiration, knowledge, and hope from MY story….and then maybe you too can turn your health around. I going to dissect my life into two halves, and will post the first half today… the second will come by the end of the week.
Life is full of lessons. I have been fortunate in that my profession of choice (pharmacy) has given me the gift of continuous learning. I LOVE learning, researching, digging up and exhuming hidden facts. It took me many years to piece together my health story, but once I did, everything made perfect sense. If I had not made some conscious choices to change my life habits in my early 30’s, I likely would be one of the statistics (one of the “one in two” people in the USA with an active chronic health condition).
I was not a chronically hospitalized kid growing up, but I had my share of chronic issues. I was the kid in the family that the pediatrician saw frequently for fairly severe allergies, bad asthma, and for some odd reason, strep throat regularly. I had a steady diet of (prescription strength) Dimetapp, steroids, and antibiotics in the early ’70’s. When I hit puberty, my cycles… tho regular… were excruciating. It took a few years, but I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. This was in the early ’80’s, and not many doctors were well studied on this female disorder. I will abbreviate the story here…. 2 surgeries later, and after being told to ‘have children quickly or good luck with that‘….. we found a way to manage the ongoing problem with a prescription. Meanwhile, I still had allergies to many things. Sadly, the things I loved the most were the things I was most allergic to!….. animals and the great outdoors (pollen, grasses, trees, etc)! My allergies were severe enough that they prevented me from entering Vet School (my life long dream). I was crushed, and after some deep thought, switched directions to pursue a pharmacy degree. Many years of college (and working while in college), poor diet, too much coffee and Diet Coke and not enough sleep eventually gave me some fairly significant stomach issues. I graduated in ’91 with my degree and a diagnosis of (ICD-10 code K59.9) ‘functional intestinal disorder, unspecified’ as an added bonus.
Fast forward…. Charlie and I got married in ’92…….. and in 2001, after 4 doctors and many months of seeking answers for my new issue (the incessant need to pee both night and day) … I got diagnosed with interstitial cystitis (a bladder condition that has no cure). Thru trial and error over the next several years ( that’s another post/another day) we found a definitive pattern regarding food triggers. Using diet modifications, I was able to ‘somewhat‘ manage my IC without the VERY EXPENSIVE drugs or the daily self- catheterizations that are common among people with this condition. Thank God! Let me tell you…. there is no incentive like the prospect of daily self-cathing to change your diet!
About the same time my IC was diagnosed, I had a fairly minor fall (tripping over a wheelbarrow) and broke my wrist. I was 33. My orthopedist suggested a bone density scan, and I was subsequently diagnosed with osteopenia. He told me to take more calcium and warned me that I would probably need to be on a medication to prevent further bone loss before I turned 40. It was the same year that Charlie and I both were told that we both had high cholesterol (over 200), and that if we didn’t attempt to lower our cholesterol levels soon we would both need to be on a cholesterol med.
So you see….. I was right on track with the “not so American Dream”…. to be good and unhealthy by the ripe old age of 40. I was set to join the ranks of the 50% who drew the genetic short straw and got to be on the losing team of the “one in two” who have a chronic health condition. Yay me! Not.
And this is where the baby steps of change truly began occurring.
Fast forward to 2017….so how did a sickly, allergic, asthmatic …..who became a young adult with endometriosis and a messed up gut…. who then became an adult with interstitial cystitis, osteopenia, and hypercholesterolemia on top of all the previous ailments (at 33) become a healthy 50 year old? That, my friends, is what comes next….. how I slowly worked my way backwards out of this health hot mess train wreck I was going to be the older I got.
Stay tuned…. You truly ARE what you eat….. and drink…. and expose your body to (or deprive your body of)! In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about some of my lifestyle choices my family and I have made, join me here!
Hugs and Love~ Liz