Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Your Health IS Your Wealth" - Grandma Lucid ( who lived to be 99 yrs old)

WARNING: if you squirm at the mention of bodily functions or sickness, you might want to pass up reading this post. That said...

I think my answer that "Shopping" was/is my biggest fear here in China was a little ... extreme.
Yes, it's frustrating, but with time ( and in different stores and situations) it gets easier. Food shopping here is no problem and now that I've learned how to say "39" ,my shoe size here in China (somehow it has magically  quadrupled from the old "size 8" that I was in the USA. Too much salt/soy sauce maybe.) in Mandarin, I'm pretty confident that future shoe shopping will be a breeze too.

Truthfully ... getting really sick here scares me. Like filling out forms and talking to doctors and having to go to the hospital sick. I just found out tonight that Harvey's ( from my Pre-K2 class) mother is a doctor.  My boss told me. I don't know what kind but Thank God because at least now I can go to her as a reference for any future concerns/needs.... what about an OB-GYN? What about a basic physical?

I am generally a pretty healthy person - cursing under my breath and banging my head when a sinus headache and/or stress headache hits me. That's pretty much it - I get pretty regular sinus/stress/tension/caffeine withdrawal headaches once a month or so ... and then maybe the occasional itchy/watery eyes when I'm around a long haired cat.

I've never broken a bone. I don't need/wear glasses ( yet - my mother and father both got them in their mid-40's - so I assume I'll need them some day).

I've had some "serious" close call moments in the past. When I was 4 I got poison sumac in my eye and my eye completely shut and would not open. I had to go to the hospital and be hooked up to IV's for a few days. Thankfully all of my vision returned. Then when I was 16 I became anorexic and kind of lost myself and battled with that for a year... so crazy how it seems like a world away now... just a "blip on the screen". But it was very scary at the time. More scary for my family and Joy and some of my friends I think. I couldn't really "see" myself... but thankfully "I" have returned... and I did not lose circulation to any of my arms or legs and I have my vision... and I'm here.

The point it, right now I've had cramps/gas in my stomach for the past two days. I haven't really had a good #2 in the past two days either. Maybe it's the grilled cheese sandwiches I've made for  lunch for the past 3 days? .... Maybe it's just a case of too much ( "binding") cheese and not enough fiber?

Today I went out and restocked my supply of vitamins - bought a bottle of  multivitamins, Vitamin-C, and a bottle of "Colon Cleanser" pills. I'm hoping that this constipation and gas is just... not enough fiber.  But living in a foreign country ( specifically CHINA) ... of course, my mind goes to "crazy land" and worries about the worst. ( SIDENOTE:  I'm burping now ... and this is making me feel a little better. I know you wanted to know that. You're welcome.)

I don't have ovarian cancer "in my family" ... but you truly never know. My mother is the youngest of 5 girls. Ironically- they are ALL nurses ( or they all WERE - now everyone's retired or semi-retired). None of her 4 sisters ever had breast cancer -- but two years ago my mother was diagnosed with it. Thankfully, that was just a "blip on the screen"  in her medical life- and thinking back on it,  it all seems like a bad dream now. She is healthy, all of her hair has grown back and she is "cancer free" ( knock on wood) today. But two years ago ... it was very scary.

Whenever you go through those... health scares I feel like there are certain moments that are frozen in time and completely 3D and burned into your memory. With me with the anorexia - it was buying my dress for the Sophomore Semi Formal and trying it on and hearing my mom gasp in the dressing room and then "the sleepover" where I saw my childhood best friend cry for the first time - watching her run out of the room - after a trip to the city for an Italian Dinner and a Broadway show with her dad and step mom- because I would not eat the ice cream that she and our other friend were eating when we got back to the house. Then another 3D moment was me at 3am hanging my head over the toilet bowl shaking and clammy saying "God Please Don't Let Me Die, God Please Don't Let Me Die, God Please Don't Let Me Die" .... (kind of transitioning from anorexia into a short stint with bulimia before truly starting to "get better" ) after taking too many laxatives and worrying that my sodium/potassium levels were out of balance and that my heart was going to give out and that I would die on the cold floor there at 3am alone. Because I was so underweight, I used to have these moments where I would lose circulation in my one foot- randomly while I was walking - and I remember this happening during lunch in 11th grade - tripping and trying to play it off like my shoelace was untied. I remember going for my "weight and blood pressure" checks every two weeks at my pediatrician and having to use the "Children's" blood pressure checker.... because my arm was so thin.

It seems like another life now... but it was and is so vivid. It's hard for me to look at that today. It's really sad but it scares and frustrates me to see someone battling it. Now, seeing someone on the subway or whatever, I feel somewhat like what my parents and friends must have felt back then ... a mixture of "snap out of it!" and "oh my god..... I'm scared and I truly don't know how to fix this".

It's hard for me to empathize with them, even though I DO. It just frustrates me because I know that there is no magical cure and it's a pretty lonely battle. I could never be a therapist who counsels anorexic/bulimic/binge eating clients. I know... it would just frustrate me and make me sad. Everyone has their own unique prescription for "getting better" and ... there is not one surefire cure. You ultimately have to want to live and to save yourself. It sounds... a little "out there".... but it's true. For me, anorexia had nothing to do with "wanting to be a model" or ... "feeling too fat in ballet class", etc. etc. It was about sexuality. I was realizing my attraction to girls at this time. We didn't have "AfterEllen.com" or "The L Word" or  any "It Gets Better" campaigns. I think all we had at this point was ... Melissa Etheridge and The Indigo Girls - neither of whom I really related to. I had fallen for one specific friend- very hard, very deeply and I was afraid that I was "losing her" ... to this "new" high school life - filled with french kisses and boyfriends and .... new " girl friends" who might be something more? I never talked about it and the fear and the shame is what almost cost me my life. I cut her off because my feelings were so deep at this point and yet at the same time I was hurting missing her and I wanted to be "as thin" as one of her new friends... thinking maybe she would notice and care more about me? - so crazy I know. What was WORSE was that I TRIED to talk about my sexuality with my therapist at the time and she pretty much told me that I wasn't a lesbian BECAUSE "butch women are really women who want to be men, and femme women are women who have issues with men" - and since neither of those things applied to me - I wasn't a lesbian. This was 1996-97'. I am truly hoping that the bulk of therapists don't share this overgeneralization and completely skewed mindset now in the year 2011.

For me - seeing "Les Miserables" on Broadway is what saved me. It was a start. The first step was me wanting to have the energy to sing and dance and ... ultimately I did. I got that back. Years later .... an A'cappella group, a musical improv group, hip hop dance classes and shows. I had( and have) the energy for all of it.

As far as my mom- a big "3D, frozen in time" image for me of her... was Thanksgiving two years ago. She had just started chemotherapy and she had lost most of her hair and she was lying on my dad's lazyboy chair in their bedroom, halfheartedly watching tv ... and looking so sick and out of it. It was scary. We had a very, very quiet Thanksgiving that year. I was sad and scared but I felt like I had to be a little strong- for my dad - he was downstairs- crying ... he lost his father to leukemia.... and seeing mom... who is SO strong and really SUCH a DYNAMIC ACTIVE force ... looking so weak and out of it ... and probably remembering his father when he had chemo... was a little too much for my dad. So needless to say last Thanksgiving, one year later, was truly something to be thankful for.

OK- so I've burped about 5 times now in the past hour. I am happy about this. This feels promising. I know you care.

Bottom Line is - "Your Health Is Your Wealth"- as my Grandma Lucid used to say. She should know. At 99 yrs old she outlived two husbands, one brother, one sister,  one son-in-law, one daughter-in-law, and one granddaughter.

If you have your health .... you have everything....
you have the best chance to go out and be the best "YOU" that there is in this world.

1 comment:

  1. Some tips to make you poop.
    1 Stop thinking about not being able to go.
    2 Drink a glass of water every hour on the hour, water makes it come out. If you don't drink water it wont move.
    3 take some coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for about 15 minutes, spit it out, rinse your mouth with salt and water, brush teeth. You will be pooping within the hour.
    4 Prunes Carrots Bananas help you go.
    5 Make sure your eating your veggies.
    6 Lay off salt, as it is dehydrating, this includes soy sauce.

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