Step One

I went to the doctor. This may not seem like such a big deal, but for me it really, really is one. I haven’t been to a doctor in almost a decade. I haven’t had the money or the insurance to be able to do so. Now I do, sort of. I was actually very anxious about how much this would all cost, but my fears have been unfounded with the insurance I now have.

Thanks, Obama.

But getting to the doctors was a journey in itself. I had tried to go over six weeks ago, but was turned away by a too busy clinic. I at least had an appointment card in hand though. Then they rescheduled on me. The third time around I was able to go. The nurses did all the little prep tests I remembered they do, but instead of nodding and writing down my scores, I now got hmm’s and ‘let’s try that again to make sure that reading was right.’ I knew my health wasn’t as good as it had been, but I hadn’t realized what an edge I’m standing on right now.

Long story short I have hypertension. I have a low thyroid function. I am also pre-diabetic. The first and last came as a surprise to me. They probably shouldn’t have, as I very well know how much I weigh and that I am getting older, but it was a shock that I’m still processing. The doctor explained while these were obviously not good things, they were also all things that could be made better. A better diet and some exercise will do wonders for the hypertension and pre-diabetes. I also have a prescription for the PD. A second prescription is sitting next to my first one for the low thyroid.

I can’t just rely on the medications though, I don’t want to. I’d rather not have to take anything if it’s possible. The thyroid might be something I have to take for life. Many people with thyroid issues are like that, I know several family members with the same condition. Hopefully I can be weaned off the other. A new diet and actually exercising will do this. I don’t even want to call it diet and exercising. I want to call it my new life. My new life where I eat right and am active.

I have played around with vegetarianism for some time. While I like meat, a lot, I know it’s not the best for me. Also becoming a vegetarian means I will eat less processed foods. I have already taken the first step a couple months ago by giving up pop. I now only drink water and tea. I also bought some cookbooks on vegetarianism as I was having trouble coming up with meal plan ideas. I was pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of food I could still eat. Now I don’t think I will become full on vegan. I will still eat fish and eggs and other products made from animals; I will just not eat beef, pork and poultry. Does that make me a bad vegetarian? I don’t know many of the recipes I found mentioned egg and fish, so maybe I’m doing something right after all. Now I just have to convince my family that eating veggie meals is okay for dinner. I’m in charge with cooking half the meals anyways, but it’s not my money being spent on the groceries. My mother can be very stubborn and likes to eat what she likes to eat. She of course has been skinny her entire life and can eat anything she wants and likes that tradition of always using a lot of oil or butter to make a meal and that it has to have a main dish meat on it. I have sneaked a few vegetarian dishes on our menu. My father says their yummy. My mom keeps trying to add meat to them after awhile, saying they’ll ‘be better’ this way. Does anyone have any tips on how to change her mind, or at least give me peace to eat this new way without her interference or sabotage?

The exercise will be the biggest hurdle I think. For a long time now, I haven’t had the energy to keep up with a scheduled exercise plan. Depression sucks that out of you. I’m hoping the thyroid medication will help somewhat with this and that I will finally have energy again. I don’t feel comfortable doing exercise in the house. My room is too small to get much more than a curl up done. The only TV is in the living room where my dad watches TV A LOT. Not to mention people going back and forth all the time, it makes me uncomfortable. My best bet is outside. I’m going to start power walking or doing the slowest jog known to man. I wish there was a cheap gym anywhere nearby, but out in the rural mountains of Virginia those are few and far between. I want to do this about 5-6 times a week, but I think it would be best to start out at 3 and work my way up. Anyone have suggestions to getting more of a workout outside? Especially since winter is almost here as well.

None of these issues will be quickly resolved. It has taken me years to put me in this hole and it will probably take me years to get out of it. But I have taken that first step. I know what’s going on. My doctor knows what’s going on. I have medications and a game plan. As a fortune cookie I got said the day I got my diagnosis, “Theories get you thinking. Sweat gets you results.” Pretty smart fortune cookie, too bad I can’t eat those anymore.



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