Health and physical wellness has been something that I’ve always had some level of focus on. My weight has been a challenge for me since childhood, and for as long as I can remember, I have engaged in regular physical exercise and eating healthy food.
When Tim was alive, I focused on my own health and constantly encouraged him to take care of his own. Family walks on the weekends and healthy whole-food dinners. I pestered him regularly to finally go get his yearly physical, which like most men his age, he brushed off as unnecessary. I pestered him to go the gym, which seemed impossible with the crushing responsibility of his 60+ hour work week and the constant needs of our babies. We assumed he was healthy. I constantly pushed him to be more mindful of what he ate and exercise more. In retrospect it likely would not have prevented the inevitable genetic build up of cholesterol that ultimately caused the 100% blockage of his LAD, but maybe. I try not to spend too much time thinking about it. It’s painful.
What I DO think about, however, is what will take me out. Here is a comprehensive list of everything I have diagnosed in myself over the past 12 months and the actual causes of my “symptoms”:
Stomach Cancer (Stomach bug)
Colon Cancer (Same stomach bug)
Skin Cancer (normal mole cluster)
Breast Cancer (PMS)
Multiple Sclerosis (Sleep Deprivation)
Brain Cancer (2 day stress headache)
Enlarged Spleen (tweaked side muscle)
Pancreatic Cancer (no reason, it just seemed about right)
As you can see, I’m a bit paranoid that I’m going to die. (Of cancer, specifically. Don’t ask me why, it’s just what my brain always goes to).
When I told a friend about my list she looked at me and asked “Don’t you think it might be helpful to talk to a therapist about this?” and I was like “lolololol. Probably.”
I should probably follow up on that.
But the problem is that I CAN’T die, because if I die, my kids would be orphans and nobody deserves that. It would be too tragic for words. Everyone would be sad forever. So I can’t die.
So, guys, I’m trying really hard not to die.
And my current approach to this is to focus on my own health.
The thing is, there is no guarantee that I won’t die. I mean, I WILL die, I just would prefer to die a long time from now…so I’m doing what I can to take the steps within my control not to die young. I started by cutting out refined sugar and alcohol entirely for a month. I then began adjusting my diet to be comprised almost exclusively of vegetables, fruits, whole milk dairy, healthy fats, small amounts of whole grains, and lots of protein. I’ve been working with a wellness coach to influence and motivate my choices. I’ve also begun to include more cardiovascular and strength training into my weekly routines. And it’s working.
I’m feeling more energetic and focused. I’m losing fat and gaining muscle. I’m feeling better in my skin. I’m reducing the gravitational force against my joints. I’m making it happen.
The thing is, raising young children by yourself is fucking exhausting. And the best way for me to better care for them is to better care for myself. So I’m doing that. I’m focused, motivated, engaged, accountable. I’m moving forward with intention. I’m doing everything I can to live the long, healthy life that my children deserve. I’m looking forward to what this process will bring. It feels good to feel good.
I’m pretty sure I don’t have cancer.
For now at least.
I’ll take it.