In Sickness and In Health (UPDATED)

This afternoon a friend and I were talking about her husband’s bout with vertigo. The conversation was sparked by our discussion of our shared complete and utter inability to deal with vomit, anybody’s vomit, including our own…and she has kids! I became really disturbed when she explained to me that even lifting his head from his pillow was enough motion to send him hurling, and that he needed someone to be with him every moment of the week he was experiencing this hell. This terrified me, as do most stories of illness these days, for a couple of reasons. First, I live alone. Who’s gonna clean up my vomit, or at least bring me the trash can, if I get vertigo? Or the flu for that matter? And second, I am extremely paranoid about life threatening illnesses right now (not that vertigo is life threatening). Especially with all that has happened in my family recently. Is it possible to dodge a bullet forever? What if the fateful day comes when the doctor says, “I’m sorry, ma’am…” ? The thought of it really has me out of sorts. I’ll explain…

I am healthy. I have regular physicals and well-woman exams and everything is A- ok. All of my crucial levels are in the normal range, except for one. My weight. I want to stay healthy. I have a family history of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer out the wazoo. And to be quite honest, this scares the shit out of me. I’ve watched family members bravely face their illnesses. I’ve seen some beat them, and others succumb. Too many have succumbed. And what’s frustrating about that is that most of these have been preventable conditions. I know the arguments that heredity factors into many of these conditions, especially in Black, Native American and Latino families. But, come on, tons of this has to be cultural. We eat crazy things like fat back, hog maws, chitterlings, smothered pork chops, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken and peach cobbler (in one meal) and then blame our illnesses on heredity. I’m not sure I buy that. And, while I stopped eating soul food a long time ago, I’m still overweight with my grill pan using, organic food buying, whole wheat only, ground turkey, no red meat in the house self. And that scares me!

I know I need to get moving. I know I need to get the weight off of me for my health and honestly, that has become my only motivation these days (although it’s not working all that well). I have quit beating up on myself for not being able to fit into my size 4s or 6s anymore (or 8s or 10s …or 12s for that matter). I’m ok with how I look (well, “ok” in the “I’m not going to do things to my body or my psyche out of self-hatred anymore” sense) but I know it’s not healthy for me. I’m so afraid that they day is just around the corner when the doc says that I have type 2 diabetes, or my blood pressure is out of the normal range and it scares me to death. I’m even to the point where I quit doing my breast self-exams because I’m just scared. I haven’t gotten past “what if I DO find a lump?”

A friend with a family history of breast cancer sent me an e-mail yesterday. The subject line read, “Inflammatory Breast Cancer, FYI”. And that’s about all I can tell you because I would not read it. I want to bury my head in the sand about women in their early 30’s dying of cancer – breast cancer, cervical cancer and the like. I’m facing my own mortality, I think, for the first time and it scares the hell out of me! I’m afraid to get sick. I’m afraid to be in a position where someone else has to take care of me. And, unfortunately I realize that the fear is becoming paralyzing, to the point where I’m ceasing to be proactive. I guess what stands in my way is that I know I can’t control everything, no matter how proactive I am. And, as a person who lives at the extremes (all or nothing) that’s not a welcoming thought. Because I’ll be damned if I eat grass and hay and work out and sweat like a pig (with all that means for maintaining a hairstyle), to just die of cancer anyway. And, I’m afraid that the stress brought on by the fear is going to cause one of these things to crop up in me anyway. What’s a woman to do? Does anybody else struggle with these fears? Am I being irrational here?

I gave some thought today to my eating habits. Thanks to Fresh Air Lover. Her last post made me really consider a few things. I love to cook. But I never do. I usually eat out. Why? Because it’s just me at home now and I hate to cook when I’m not cooking for someone else to enjoy. I never have a glass of wine with dinner because I have vowed never to drink alone since my family is full of alcoholics. But today I came home, cooked a nice dinner, poured myself a glass of wine and really enjoyed it. I realized that, hey, I AM good company and I’m worth preparing a great meal for too! It was actually really nice. Perhaps this can become a habit that will help streamline my waistline and my budget. Imagine that!

I’d like to hear your thoughts on health risks, concerns and fears. It’s driving me a little nutty.

~Scared to death to die.

UPDATE: So, I’ve decided to be proactive. I joined the gym in my neighborhood. My work has a discount program through my health insurance, so the monthly fee is reasonable. I think I can begin as early as tomorrow morning. AND, the gym is 1.5 miles from my house. We’ll see how ambitious I am, but I can envision a 3 mile walk/run to get the cardio pumping before and after my in-house workout! I’ll show those hypercancerbetes!!!

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6 thoughts on “In Sickness and In Health (UPDATED)

  1. Death is scary. Life is scary. That’s just the way it is.

    Eating organic and eating home-cooked food are two very important things you can do for your health. I think the weight loss will come as long as you eat properly and get a little exercise now and then–I like walking.

    I was diagnosed with cancer back in February. Sometimes it is scary. But I’ve also discovered how many people survive. It isn’t a death sentence anymore. My husband has a family history of heart disease but he gets regular check-ups and eats well, and he’s keeping it under control.

    We all will die someday–which is a scary thought. I believe each of us has a predetermined lifespan–so I could beat the cancer but get hit by a bus! We never know.

    Keep up your healthy lifestyle, and try not to be alone so much. Unless that’s your thing. (I love quiet and solitude.) Most importantly, stop worrying. You’ll be fine.

  2. Thanks for outing me, Mike!! Are you so sure I wanted my myspace address publicized here? LOL

    Dude, I’m worried about your protection skills. You’re a prime target for identity theft…MINE if not your own!

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