09 Nov Health …..and the other mirror on the wall was wellness
Body Massaging: Health Will Not Wait!
Why do we need a crisis before we make a change? When New Year’s Eve rolls around we often make a resolution to get more fit, eat less, and take our health seriously. Sadly that intention fades all too quickly and our usual unhealthy habits resume. This is a cautionary tale about the urgency of now and the consequence of not being proactive with our health.
I rarely look in a mirror, perhaps to make sure I don’t have a toothpaste mustache and move on. Mirrors are typically used for putting on make up, combing hair, and making sure we “look” presentable to the world. When we face our reflection in the mirror we are typically focused on the outside of our body, not the inside. These days I am more concerned with the function and condition of the inside of my body, something no mirror can reflect. I wonder if am I hydrated enough, eating well, taking time to exercise, or am falling into bad habits that are harmful to my health? I had to learn the hard way, and thanks to messages from my body I could no longer ignore, I lived to tell this story and be able to encourage others to act before it is too late.
I consider myself to be quite stoic, not much of a complainer, and a person who makes the best of a situation with humor and perspective. I also subscribe to the mind over matter philosophy and think if I tough it up, I can overcome most obstacles. While these are admirable traits, they can also undermine my well being by causing me to ignore important warnings about my health. This was definitely the case when I began to feel an ache in my left left calf so severe I could draw the line of pain on my skin. I had to sit down to see if I was stung by a bee; however, there was no visible sign of a sting or insect bite. I remember rubbing the back of my leg to a point of nearly slapping it to try to relieve the irritation. Then that was it, I quickley dismissed the incident and got on with life as if nothing happened. After all, there is always so much to do and distract us. Sound familiar?
My body messaged me again. You might assume I would have picked up on the seriousness of these reoccurring bursts of pain; however, I looked and felt so good between the episodes that I chalked it up to life in the fast lane. Instead of investigating I kept up my breakneck speed and hectic schedule. Some weeks later I had a very deep pain at the top of my left breast, which continued for a few days before I went to the doctor. After I described my symptoms, he said (with an attitude) that I looked fit and well and basically not to waste his time ( yes I have switched doctors now). The extent of his examination was to ask me to turn my head side to side, he touched my shoulders and remarked that I was tense, therefore I must be stressed. Finally he asked me to bend down and touch my toes and asked me if I thought I had a heart condition. He prescribed me tablets for inflammation of the muscle; however, little did I know this was the second body message and an ominous warning of serious things to come.
Several months later on November 9, 2015 I was finally diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism. My body messaged me several times before the final blow hit. Just a few days earlier all my friends gathered with me to celebrate my 50th birthday, traveling from all parts of the globe for a three day birthday weekend. The night of the big party I felt ill and knew something was not right; however, this event was months in the making and my attention was on my guests, enjoying the evening, entertainment, and this huge milestone in my life in my typical YSC Life-style. In retrospect, I realize how lucky I was to make it through the night to share my story with you today. The months following my PE diagnosis changed my life in many important ways, and served as a reminder of how much I love to live. We can take for granted good health and get caught up in the negative and what is missing rather than appreciate the most important thing in life – good health. Another quick take away is the importance of questioning our health providers, not to blindly accept without doing our own research and getting a second, even third opinion. While this health crisis was terrifying, I feel enormous gratitude and have learned so much that I will share with you in future blogs. On May 31, 2016 I go to the doctor for my final check so stay tuned and cross your fingers for an all clear report. In the meantime, when your body messages you, be sure to listen!