Tag Archives: smoking

The Stories I Tell And Why I Tell Them

4 Apr

I am participating in the Health Activist Writers Month Challenge, in which I publish a post every day for the month of April, based on health-related prompts.

April 4 – I write about my health because…: Reflect on why you write about your health for 15-20 minutes without stopping.

When I was young, I had a somewhat cavalier attitude towards my health. This was partly due to the invincibility and stupidity of youth, and partly because there were some things happening in my life that relegated my health to the backseat. I really had better things to think about than whether I was eating enough spinach.

Of course, my lifestyle through my early twenties didn’t really lend itself to healthy thinking anyway. I was fond of pasta, Coca Cola and beer. I was not fond of vegetables, exercise or moderation. Water was for swimming or showering in, not for drinking. My daily life was punctuated with cigarettes. I didn’t really care whether I had enough money for groceries as long as I had a six-pack in the fridge and some cigarettes in my purse.

One morning I woke up and realized that I was tired of being a smoker. And just like that, I decided to quit. I reasoned that while I was quitting, I may as well fix up the other troublesome aspects of my lifestyle. And so I gave up the soft drinks, reduced the alcohol consumption and took up running.

In the years since then, more things have happened that have forced me to take a close look at the health of myself and my family. I have learned better ways of running, I have battled some mental health issues, I have lost family members to cancer and I have become an autism mom.

The subject of health is not something I can ignore or take casually. So much depends on it, and it has far-reaching effects on my children. I am mindful of the fact that for the next few years, I am making decisions about food and activity on their behalf. And for their sake, I have to get it right.

Through my journey, I have learned a lot and discovered that there’s so much I still don’t know. Through my writing, I can share what I have discovered and reach out to people who very often have answers that I need. I have come across people who know exactly what I’m going through, making me feel less alone. In sharing a piece of my life, I have found a voice that I might not otherwise have.

I write because I love to, and because – hopefully – I tell stories that people can either relate to or be informed or entertained by. And as long as I think my voice is touching at least one other person, I will continue to write.

(Photo credit: Kirsten Doyle)

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Invasion of the Body-Snatcher Bugs

7 Dec

OK, that’s it.  I’ve had enough of this nonsense, and it is time for me to take charge of this situation.  My body belongs to ME.  It does not belong to this pesky bug that is invading it, making it feel sick and trying to keep it down.  This bug has been here before, and on previous visits I have waited until I was sick for weeks before seeing a doctor and getting rid of it.  Earlier this year, right after I had recovered from my injury, this bug hit. I allowed it to go untreated for almost a month, by which time I had bronchitis, was being tested for pneumonia, and was under instructions from my boss to not show up at work until I had a clear chest X-ray.  NOT THIS TIME!!!

I’ve been sick for about a week, and initially I thought I was just catching a cold.  But when I get colds, I get a stuffy nose and an unreasonable sensitivity to normal Kleenex.  I become a tissue-snob, insisting on the expensive super-cushioned tissues because the regular ones feel like sandpaper. My eyes go red and rheumy, as if I’ve been on a month-long drinking binge. My skin gets red splotches all over it that makeup only serves to accentuate instead of conceal.

That’s not what I have. What I have is the fact that I cough up a lung every five minutes or so. It’s the kind of coughing that is so invasive that people who have workstations on the other end of the floor keep coming over to ask if I’m OK.  I have headaches. I am hungry because I am not eating properly.  I am not eating properly because whenever I have food in front of me, I suddenly feel ill and cannot face the thought of eating it. During parts of the day my entire body aches, and I am completely sapped of energy.

This cough, which I can tell from unfortunte prior experience is on the slippery slope to bronchitis, is troublesome for several reasons:
– I cannot run. This is bad for my physical wellbeing.  I need my exercise.  I am getting married 145 days from now and have to look prettier than Kate Middleton, who’s getting married the previous day.
– My incessant barking is bound to annoy the people around me.
– I cannot run. This is bad for my mental wellbeing.  Not running is driving me crazy, and that’s already a short trip.  I don’t need any help with that.
– Every time someone says something funny and I laugh, I end up breaking out into the ugly,hacking cough.
– During the really, really bad episodes of coughing, a tiny little bit of pee escapes.
– I cannot run.  I miss my Sunday long runs with the running club, and I miss my solo runs with my music.
– The kids are getting tired of having their bedtime stories punctuated by coughing.

My tendency to get bronchitis is probably my own fault.  I never had this problem when I was a kid.  I first got bronchitis when I was about 21 and not following the healthiest of lifestyles.  Although I succeeded in quitting smoking almost fifteen years ago, the fact is that I was a smoker for a decade and probably weakened my lungs considerably.  I am hoping that the more I run, the stronger my lungs will get and the less this will happen.  The fact that I have not been sick since February is an indication that things are moving in the right direction.

Today I will be going to the doctor, who will no doubt give me some nice drugs to take.  Within a day, I will start to feel the cough retreat, and by the weekend, I could be running again.

Let the war on the bug begin…