I look forward to the day–in a few decades from now–when my age will mean that I no longer have a self censorship chip (image right). I presume that I had that freedom of thought and expression as a little child–my recollections of that time being so far distant that they fade into hazy memory. But along the way in life, we are taught to be polite, to be courteous, to be proper, and above all, to be self effacing. At least, those are the lessons that I learned growing up.
So as an adult, when I have one of those moments when I reach a goal that has been hard won–as I did recently, last Friday–I looked around and wondered who I could shout my joy to. But, no one of my intimate acquaintance was nearby. And I had left my cell phone at home on the charger. Though, I am not one proclaim every minute of my existence on social media. Yet I do enjoy hearing about other peoples’ lives–in a limited way.
Anyway, back to me. I was at one of my doctors’ offices for a checkup and the nurse showing me the results did so benignly. Obviously, she wasn’t clued in to my health issues/struggles. Instead, she smiled in that matronly motherly way of health care practitioners who have seen it all, and blithely continued to recheck my medicine list from my various healthcare specialists.
Couldn’t she tell that I was bursting to share something with her? Has my practiced self restraint become so polished that she couldn’t tell that I was giddy with excitement? No, of course that wasn’t it. I had never seen her before in my previous doctor visits, so it is unlikely that she would have taken the time to see in my health folder what might make me happy.
But surely my doctor would notice. He had been so encouraging of me in the beginning about my improved health and other benefits that I was hesitant to believe him. But when the improvements happened–and continued–I was thrilled that at least one medical practitioner had figured out part of my medical diagnosis puzzle. My health wasn’t my fault.
And the improved health I experienced with proper medication and treatments have been a lifting of a lifelong burden. Because when you have health issues, it seems like people want to blame you–possibly to avoid thinking that they could also randomly develop your kind of health issues. They prefer to think that you must have done something wrong to be ill. They think they can control their lives. And if they do everything right, they won’t have health issues. To that I say unequivocally, dream on!
So when my doctor arrived, I greeted him warmly, then I sat brightly waiting as her perused my health folder for him to notice the improvement since I last saw him. But he didn’t, which made me pout, I’m sure. Then he asked me how well I was following my treatment plan–interested in how well I was complying with his medication instructions. I will grant that this is important. And we discovered that though he had wanted me to do a followup appointment with him a year ago–him saying he wanted to see me every six months to adjust my medications–his staff had not contacted me to make the appointment which they were supposed to do, because they don’t make appointments more than 1 month in advance.
So my doctor was interested in seeing me due to him needing to lower my asthma medicine dosages since I was managing my symptoms and I hadn’t had any bronchitis attacks–severe or otherwise–since I went on the medication. Okay, that is important. But heck! The side effect of his prescribed medicine and treatments of me had other benefits that he didn’t notice. But I sure did!
So I gently stopped my doctor in mid sentence and shared my good news about the other health improvement. I felt a little odd–as if I was bragging, which I was. And I had grown up being taught not to brag. But to give my doctor credit, he smiled and checked my chart, then congratulated me on this ancillary improved result. Acknowledgement! Snap!
I really wanted my doctor to share this milestone with me, because he had started me on this path of health improvement over five years ago when he got my diagnosis right. It has been a slow and steady journey of health improvement–and I am not near done.
It’s amazing how much a person takes a simple thing like breathing for granted–until your respiratory system has a hiccup or two. But with treatment, my quality of life has vastly improved. And for that, I am extremely grateful.
And I have learned over time that you shouldn’t just accept your new normal–because ill health often comes on so gradually that you and your loved ones cannot see the change is an illness that might be able to be treated.
And I have also learned that you need to advocate for yourself health wise until you find a doctor who can diagnose you correctly. And in my case, to find a doctor who would not attribute my health problems to my age, or my body size, or to my gender–the trifecta of prejudices that I have experienced with health care providers during my life. Instead, my pulmonologist recognized instantly that my larger body size issues were symptoms of my SOSA health issues.
And as my respiratory health has improved, so have other aspects of my overall health. Such that I have slept away pounds wearing a CPAP breathing machine mask overnight and such. According to my pulmonologist, when you don’t get restorative sleep–because you’re waking up choking every 30 seconds because your airway collapses when lying down sleeping (me, six years ago)–your body thinks it is in survival mode and holds in all of the calories and fats it can. Therefore if you sleep well, you will lose weight. I’m living proof for that one.
Coupled with my carb counting since last August to bump me off a plateau–which for me since I eat healthily any way, meant halving my evening milk intake, eating one slice of bread sandwiches, and munching lots of celery daily (they use up more calories in digestion than you consume in eating them) –I am now more than halfway to my goal weight.
So my big news that I want to shout to the roof tops is that: I am under the next to last weight loss benchmark that I set for myself. And I even weigh 20 pounds less–that’s a stone and a half for you Brits–than my drivers’ license weight. But happily, I get to obtain a new license at my birthday this year. So you can be sure that I will proudly state whatever my new lower weight is when I get my new driver’s license. Snap!
And though, I am still a very big girl–I’m a shorty at 5 foot 2.5 inches tall, so by weight, I should probably be six foot tall, judging by my bigger hubby who is 6 foot 4 inches tall. Ha!–I am smiling. So though it took me till the end of this post to let my inner cheer out, I am unabashedly proud of myself reaching this latest weight loss goal. I even had to buy a smaller desk chair for my office so it could be more supportive of my back. Snap!
And I hope that all of you out there with health issues and goals–or any other hopes and dreams that you have and are working toward–believe that you will reach your goal, you can do it! And give yourselves a pat on the back, and sing out a little cheer for yourselves each step along the way. You deserve it!
Hugs & Love! Grati ;->
P.S. At right (top) is one of my favorite pictures of the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage with Dawn French from their 2006 Vicar of Dibley promos for his two guest episodes. The talented and tiny 5 foot zero inch Dawn French–who is more petite than I am–had to be standing on a box to be able to reach the 6 foot 2 inch tall Richard Armitage here. Elsewhere, Dawn had RA sit down in a lovely scene from VofD (right, bottom) –which is what I do to reach my tally hubby, and for similar reasons. *wink*