Highway to Health
Setting an intention or a desire for something to manifest in our life, is like putting an address into Google Maps. Life will show us various ways of how to get there, or how to achieve what we desire. And like Google Maps, we often set out on our designated course only to find that along the way there are detours due to traffic, construction, or accidents. If we listen to the app on our cell phones, we make appropriate course corrections, even when the current flow of traffic seems to be flowing just fine. If we don’t listen to the warning, we can find ourselves a few miles down the road, stuck in a backup, wishing we had listened to the digital voice of our mobile device telling us to go a different way.
Over the years, I have started on many paths to greater health in a desire to release extra weight, gain muscle, and feel more vibrant, energetic, and strong. I have done this with friends, and by myself. I have used gyms, worked out at home, and even creatively gone to places like the beach, parks, and mountains, to walk and be in nature while I do something for my higher good. Each time, I share my progress and try to encourage others to care for themselves, as I want those I love and care for to also experience a greater sense of health and goodness throughout their bodies and their minds.
After being in a program for a while, I found myself, each time, slipping back into older and more comfortable habits. I gave excuses, even logical arguments, to validate my straying off the path of healthy choices. We all know them:
- My life is too busy
- I was on vacation
- It was a celebration
- There was nothing better to eat
- I just gave in
- I can’t give that up
- It won’t be that bad
- It’s too hard to maintain
- And so on…
And so the cycle continues, and I unconsciously slip into a pattern that is fun for a while, until my clothes are no longer fitting again, family is concerned, my energy levels and sleeping habits have plummeted into erratic expressions of discomfort and fatigue, and of course, my higher self telling me, again, this is not the road that I am to be on.
In February of 2015, my mom passed away after we learned, four months earlier, that she had bladder cancer. My sister cared for her most of the time, and I would go and spend 7 to 10 days each month in Southern California to be with her, and care for her as my sister took a break. To care for myself mentally, I would take a walk every day. My mom encouraged me to keep moving my body as she saw how it helped me. Yet, at the time of her passing I found myself, at 5’1″, 176 pounds, due to unconscious eating, lack of consistent sleep, and empty calories to pacify me due to the grief I was in. Something had to change as I found myself stuck again in a place I really didn’t want to be. I thought of all the times in the past that I set my intention to be healthy, and to eat well, and to care for myself in a more loving way. I wondered if my intentions were just fantasy or wishful thinking. But, I dialed in and set my internal GPS to a different direction. In March of 2015, I committed to my greater good by joining with a medical team to monitor my weight, health, supplements, exercise, and nutrition. I went to them every week and received counseling and guidance. They performed a body scan every 6 weeks to see how much fat was released, how much muscle was gained, what my water and bone weights were, and they formulated it all on a sheet of paper to show me my progress. It was very effective. I was not hungry, as I was eating nutritious foods, not skipping meals, and becoming conscious of what I was doing, what I was feeling, and learning about myself in new ways. I was able to release 26 pounds and keep them off. I was 150 pounds, and feeling better than I had for some time. I had new energy and was beginning to sleep better as well.
Stagnation occurs when we don’t refresh our goals and dreams every few weeks or few months. And, towards the end of 2015, I just couldn’t seem to get past this hurdle of the 150 pound mark. My regular doctor had been telling me for a few years that she needed me to get to 130 pounds; that there are health risks of carrying the weight I had been holding onto for so long. It seemed that in my past attempts to drop the weight, the 150 pound mark was my barrier. What was keeping me there? What was I resisting? I was educated, I knew what to eat, how to exercise, what to do, and how to work out. The motivation waned. I still ate better than most, but through the excitement of buying a vacation home in Oregon and taking trips to New York and Ireland, I began to allow old habits to slip back into my life… but not for long.
Life’s GPS alarm rang loud and clear this time and there was no ignoring it. Two weeks after a routine annual visit to my GYN in June 2016, I received a call from Kaiser Permanente informing me that I had suspicious cells in my endometrial lining of my uterus which could be early cancer, or would become cancer unless I schedule a hysterectomy. SLAM! The next few weeks were all about education and waking up. My sister and I read and researched the pros and challenges of the surgery, as well as the cause of this diagnosis of “Complex Hyperplasia with Atypia.” It was too much estrogen in my body, causing the lining in my uterus to grow with suspicious cells. Women, as well as men, have too much estrogen in their bodies when they are carrying extra fat. Extra fat causes our bodies to create more estrogen than we need, thus complications and issues can surface. My GYN oncologist at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco, confirmed that this was most likely what happened in my case.
After I got the call that changed my whole view of life, I immediately, without question, was able to make adjustments to my diet that I had not made before (or at least not sustained for any period of time). I dropped the coffee, the social cocktails, removed the added sugar and white starches, ate only organic foods, and began taking supplements that aided my body’s immune system, such has turmeric, holy basil, olive leaf extract, omega 3 and 6, calcium and magnesium, pro-biotics, a good multi-vitamin, and spirulina. I drank green tea in the morning, and in the evening I had either chamomile or lavender tulsi tea. I also made sure that my thoughts and emotions were cared for as I went to see my counselor to talk about all that I was experiencing. I made sure I was reading good things to focus my attention on, and I made sleep my priority, as it is the number one thing we all can do to allow our body and mind to heal. Another thing I did, through the advice of a friend who had been through a hysterectomy before, was to read the book “Preparing for Surgery, Heal Faster” by Peggy Huddleston. I also bought the meditation CD to go along with the book. For 4 weeks I would do the meditations twice a day, and read the book to help me prepare and see myself coming out of the surgery feeling comfortable and peaceful.
Seven weeks after I learned of my diagnosis, I had my hysterectomy with my sister, Debbie, and my life partner, Jo supporting me all the way. I was able to go home the same day and on the drive I learned that very little cancer cells were found in my uterus after it was removed. I cried with relief and I could not help but to think that some portion of what I did to prepare myself had some beneficial effect. I stand in gratitude now as I continue to recover.
Reset for Life
I see that this surgery was a wakeup call, a course correction, and a blessing. I gained from it an understanding of what carrying extra weight can do. There are a number of diseases that can come from too much estrogen in the body, which is just one of many issues that can come from being overweight. There are foods that we can eat and choices we can make which benefits our bodies for the longer term. I want to share about this with all my friends, and those I don’t even know. My intention for so long has been to be healthy, happy, vital, and strong, and it was not ignored, no matter how many times I didn’t make the right choice or take the right path. Life did not forget my desires, and the circumstances that came up were not to test me, per se, but were used to help me reach my end result; to be happy and healthy. Life can only do for me what it can do through me. Action and choice on my part is required.
Don’t wait for a diagnosis before you change your habits. Food, exercise, proper sleep, and a positive outlook on life are our preventative medicines! We are here on this planet, at this particular time, for a reason. I want each of us to live our best lives, filled with energy and vitality. We can change our habits and change our thinking to support us being here as long as possible, to see the grandbabies, and fulfill our desires and dreams, and see the next sunset with a loved one. There is too much living to do to allow ourselves to be dragged down by a body and mind that is sluggish and susceptible to illness. Let’s choose wisely and consciously the highest good for ourselves, and in the process of doing so, we end up helping many more people by our presence in this world.