It finally happened: I could not keep up with my life and it affected my health severely. Enter–the bitter pill…
Seven years ago my youngest aunt–like my sister–died. She was a month shy of turning 50 and that reality has had a much larger impact on my life than I ever imagined. Now, in my mid-40s with a STRONG family history of serious cardiovascular issues, having a close relative that died under the age of 50 makes me a much higher risk patient when it comes to All Of The Things.
The fact that I’ve escaped medications that my immediate relatives have already been on for years is commendable for sure. But I’m not bulletproof and I haven’t always lived healthfully. I also had an undiagnosed insulin disorder that wound up untreated as a result… for at least 17 years. Oof.
When I tell you it’s been a rough year, it’s really been a rough year. My husband spent most of the year not working due to disability and returned to work only to be laid off. I’ve spent most of the year juggling the house and kids on my own while trying to figure out how to help and support him. I also got into a car accident in late June. While sitting at a red light. And then I had to take some medication for my already-severe-driving-anxiety… and I had a reaction that was not to be believed. There was more and some of it was pretty bad but you’re getting the picture…
No more daily walking.
A bit more eating out and eating crap.
A LOT more stress.
This equals some bad blood pressure. Hypertension (high blood pressure) and I have a history. When I was pregnant with my son, I was removed from my work, school and political position at around 20 weeks as a means of trying to control the rising blood pressure. That didn’t work. They tried medication. Then they layered on another medication. At 30 weeks, I was hospitalized. At 35 weeks, on a Monday, I was told that if they could wait until Wednesday (so my own perinatalogist could deliver my son), they would. But I should be warned that my child would need to be delivered in the next 48 hours. And for 6 weeks post-birth, I couldn’t have any visitors because even happy emotions will raise your blood pressure and it doesn’t just pop back to normal when you deliver. THAT went over well with the grandparents, I assure you. #not
After that, my blood pressure went back to it’s usual remarkably normal self until I started teaching in the public schools. But all it took to correct that was no longer eating in the cafeteria. #truestory
Until a few years ago. Apparently, my blood pressure has registered “a little high” since I started seeing my current doctor three years ago. I’m sure the reason this never really registered with me was because I always had a good reason why it WOULD be high at the time and it was never high enough to second guess the excuse-at-the-time.
But now it was too high and I was seeing too many doctors for other things to ignore that it wasn’t just once in a while. It was getting really high and it was like that often. My stress echocardiogram came back clear. *whew*
Let’s add the end of my husband’s income just 2-3 weeks before Christmas and waiting out two potential VERY difficult medical diagnoses. I could not out-lifestyle the rate at which my life was raising my blood pressure. At 11:30pm the night before Christmas Eve after blood pressure readings I had never seen before, I sent my husband to the pharmacy and took the medication.
It was a bitter pill.
I felt like a complete and total failure.
But I was alive to feel those emotions.
My life’s problems are not resolving but my lifestyle has taken center stage. In a matter of a week I have lost 4 pounds and I have gone back to some of the inflammation-reducing things I used to do. I need to find out how to resolve the pain that resulted from the car accident and have talked about what I am safe to do exercise-wise for now. The goal is to get off of the medication, but only when it’s safe to do so.
Thankfully, my work is getting more productive and that’s an incredibly helpful thing for two reasons. First, my family needs the income more than ever now. Second, my work is actually an act of self-care for me because I truly love it and it makes me feel fulfilled. #winning I have group programs kicking off soon that I will actually be involved in as both the facilitator and a participant so that I methodically get myself back on track. (are you joining us?)
I’m not one for resolutions–I start on new goals all the time. This initiative just happens to coincide with the New Year and I’m going at it full force.
Here’s hoping you are tending to yourself before your body has to tell you to!