What am I to do. My last visit to the doctor was not pleasant by any means. My cholesterol was nearing the astronomic level of 290. My blood sugar had risen to the low 100s. I had gained 15 pounds over the last year. My doctor said that I needed to change my diet or I would keep on gaining weight and suffer through diseases associated with obesity. This is not what I expected, or was it. I certainly had not been keeping track of what I was eating. My exercise regimen had become nonexistent. I had not stepped on a scale for over a year. Even though I felt like I had been slapped in the face I should have known this was coming. All the signs were there. I was just ignoring them and continuing down the path of unhealthy behavior.
It had not always been this way. For most of my life I have kept my weight under control. I was active and fit. I biked or ran most everyday. I had participated in long distance riding events of 500 miles. I had competed in countless triathlons. I had even trained for two marathons. My life was definitely headed in the right direction. I enjoyed getting out and enjoying all that I could in the outdoors. That is until I made the unconscious decision to end my healthy lifestyle.
Eight years ago I got a call from work. I had just finished a 20 mile bike ride from my first job and when I got home there was a message for me to call my second job. I had expected that they wanted me to come in and work a shift for a coworker that was sick, tired, or just plain did not want to come in. I was going to turn them down. After working for 8 hours then then biking for 20 miles I was ready to kick my feet up and relax in the comfort of my home. So I called. I was told that I needed to go to the hospital as Roy, who I had been seeing for the past 3 years, had collapsed while on the job. My manager had told me to head to Meriter to check on him. He did not give me any details. He just said go. I did not stop to think but jumped in my car and headed to see Roy. It was a long drive into town which gave me time to think. There were few comforting thoughts running though my mind. Just a need for urgency. I was relieved when I pulled into the hospital parking lot. I walked through the emergency doors and up to the front desk with only the thought of knowing that he was ok. I asked the person at the front desk and the only response I got was a question. How are you related to him. I said that we were partners for the past 3 years and all I wanted was to see him. I was finally told to wait. I stood at the counter in a daze wondering what all the fuss about my relation to Roy was about. I don’t remember how long I stood there. I only remember that a nurse appeared in front of me asking me to follow her. I was expecting to be taken to a bid in some curtained area were he was waiting for tests to be run. She escorted me to a room and opened the door to what looked like a breakroom for the hospital personnel. She told me to sit down. I started to panic because I knew what was coming. She sat in front of me as I started to shake. Tears running down my face. She said. Roy did not make it. He died before he got to the hospital. The tears blinded me as I broke down in anguish.
The days of bake riding pleasure turned into memories of our rides together. I found myself riding less and less to avoid the memories. I turned to food for comfort. Eating whatever would satisfy my emotions at the time. So this is the way it stayed for 8 months. I fell into a state of what you could call disrepair. I was not taking care of myself, only to be pressed further into my depression.
Now, one would think that after 8 months I would be healing. And yes I was. It was the holidays and I spent the time with my family. They were a comfort to me over the past 8 months. I had transitioned from depression to finding my life again.
Three days after Christmas I had left work early because I had felt sick. It was ok as I had wanted to get home early as the repairman was going to be ringing my bell at 5pm to fix my dishwasher. He had no sooner got there and started his work when I felt pain on my left side. Damn. It was a kidney stone. I hated those little bastards. I had had several over the past years and they were never welcome. The pain was intense and I knew that aspirin was not going to cut the mustard this time. I bid my farewell to the repairman telling him I was headed to the hospital and not to worry just to give me a call when the job was finished. Out the door I ran.
I arrived at the hospital and told the front desk clerk that I was passing a kidney stone. She had me start to fill out some paperwork. This was only a diversion as before I could get my name down onto the registration there was a nurse pushing me back into a wheelchair mumbling something about my pale white face and the possibility of me fainting. I was only glad to be carted to the back room. I knew what was in store. I couple of questions and then a nice long needle filled with pain killers. Damn, I need that needle as the pain was becoming unbearable. I was pushed into a curtained room and greeted by a doctor, A few questions later and I was in lah-lah land. My mind was swimming with drugs but I did not care. The pain had subsided. A CAT scan and a couple of pills for this and that. The doctor appeared in my doorway or should I say curtainway. He said there was a nice 5 mm stone making its way down to my bladder. But he also said there was a golfball size mass on my kidney. And I was just starting to enjoy the drugs. He gave me the name of a urologist and my escapade for the day had ended.
February 2nd I gave birth to a 3 centimeter cancerous tumor. They said I was lucky. I didn’t feel to lucky as they had made a 12 inch incision to take the lump off my kidney. Usually they take your whole kidney out through a small incision but since my tumor was small they had decided to cut the tumor off and save the kidney. Now isn’t that clever. I would have two working kidneys just in case I felt the need to pass another kidney stone I had a spare to filter my blood while the other worked to pass the stone.
I certainly have been through the ringer with a lost lover and the big C to haunt me in my future cancer checkups over the next 6 years. I don’t want to seem as if I had an excuse to maintain my unhealthy ways. There are many people who would brush themselves off and get back on their feet. I could have been one of them but I didn’t. My bike rides each summer got shorter and fewer. My diet was not the best. I would satisfy my cravings for fresh bakery far too often and trips to the farmers market turned into trips to the corner bakery. So here I find myself wanting to do something good for my body. I have made a commitment to myself to follow through. To eat healthy in a mostly vegetarian diet. Meat twice a month. So I am becoming a part time vegetarian. Some of you may scoff at my resolve. How can you be a part time vegetarian. I am not going to be a closet bacon eater, hiding from friends and family to satisfy some my urge for bacon cheeseburgers. But I know my limits. I will eat some meat on rare occasions as chicken marsala at the neighborhood restaurant or turkey at the family Thanksgiving dinner. And I do love sushi. But there will be limitations.
So today I start my new life as a part time vegetarian. And a full time healthy person.
Today I am eating Oatmeal and banana for breakfast, pico sauce on greens with toast for lunch and breaded eggplant with garlic yogurt sauce and fresh tomatoes. I may save some room for blueberries with yogurt for dessert.
Cheers from a part time vegetarian.