October 8, 2012

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November 9, 2010

We all have a wake up call…

…it’s just that we don’t all choose to answer it.

I did, because my life and the welfare of my children depended on it.  I’m thankful that my wake-up call was so obvious.  God knew He needed to get my attention in a big way, because especially when it came to my health, I was the master of justification and excuses.  But the problems that forced me into action lie dormant in most Americans.

Believe me – unless you are among the few people who pay serious attention to what you eat, the time bomb is ticking for you, too.

I was looking forward to my summer vacation in 2009, as I’d not been able to really get away in years.  It was going to be the better part of a week in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.  I was so tired, and so ready to take some time away.  No sooner did my friend and I settle into the cabin late at night than I got a call from the emergency room back home.  My 46 year old ex-husband had suffered a serious heart attack.  He had 100% blockage in one of his arteries, and I needed to turn around and come back home.  The heart attack was nearly fatal, but a quick catheterization procedure saved his life.  It was certainly unnerving to see him come so close to death, but it wasn’t hard to explain.  The man worked long and crazy hours, and ate fast food constantly.  He was incredibly lucky to still be alive.

I sort of thought I was above all that, but when I was honest with myself, I knew I wasn’t.  I weighed 200 pounds, definitely obese for a woman with a 5’2″ frame.  I’d gone for a physical a few months earlier, and remembered that the reason I’d made the appointment in the first place was because I was experiencing disconcerting aches in my chest, in my arm, and my left jaw.  At that visit, I learned that my blood pressure was erratic and often high – as high as 190/75.  My cholesterol was 240, and I had constant, chronic, searing heartburn that required Prilosec or Nexium daily for my survival.  My doctor advised me to switch to a low carb diet, and do some walking.  Nothing radical or seemingly difficult… but it didn’t seem like it would make much of a difference, either.  I basically did nothing different, and went on with my thoughtless ways of eating whatever was convenient.

So, I would lay in bed at night and feel those pains.  A few nights, I recall just willing myself to sleep and praying that what I was feeling was nothing, that it wasn’t heart disease, that I’d wake in the morning and all would be fine.  I kept doing that even after my ex-husband’s heart attack, rationalizing it this way: the kids just almost lost their dad to a heart attack.  What are the odds that their mother is on the verge of suffering one, too?  Crazy thoughts that kept me on edge and anxious.  Ignorance wasn’t bliss.  It was the path to self-destruction.

My son had gone swimming and got an earache.  His dad brought him to the pediatrician, who was alarmed by HIS high blood pressure.  She also noticed a trace amount of blood in his urine.  Instead of investigating further, or recommending actions to take to mitigate the problem, she had only one suggestion: an expensive kidney ultrasound that my insurance wouldn’t cover.  My son was devastated by the whole idea.

That, for me, was the last straw.

I got on the internet and googled a simple phrase: “reverse high blood pressure.”  The first link that search brought up changed the course of our family’s lives, and that’s the story I’m going to tell in this blog.

I hope you find it inspirational, and more importantly, useful!