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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Heart Health Awareness

This is my second year having my cholesterol checked.   The only reason I have an annual physical now is because my husband's insurance requires it in order to get our hsa deposit.  And boy am I thankful for it!  It has been found out because of genetics, I have terrible cholesterol.  In fact, the worst ration my certified nurse practitioner has ever seen (and she's been practicing a LONG time!).  Anyone who personally knows me along with myself was totally shocked.  My diet isn't perfect, but it's incredibly good!  I was told the reason is because I hit all the hereditary markers.  I was told last year to add in more vegetables and fish/fish oil.  This year we rechecked and while a couple numbers were down a bit, the worst was up - my ldl-p.  Those are the small, sticky particles that stick to your arterial wall causing build up.  Furthermore, the good cholesterol (HDL) was the lowest they have ever seen.  In fact it was so low they rechecked.  This year it was up 2 points, but only at a 12.  Most people my age have 50 and over.   In fact, on some charts they won't even register anything under a 20.    So, I've hit all the hereditary markers, I have PCOS which may contribute, severe ongoing stress (which contributes because of hormones) and hormonal imbalance which contributes.  My estimated risk of having a heart attack in the next 9 years (maybe sooner because I wasn't tested before now) is incredibly high.

So, my doctors battle plan at this point is to put me on a statin (water soluble) and have my levels rechecked in 3 months.  I plan to also add in a lot more fiber and am changing up my exercise plan to incorporate high intensity (for me) intervals.  This is supposed to make the heart work harder which in turn could potentially up my HDL.  Studies have now found the only way to up HDL is through exercise.  While I've had a pretty regular exercise routine, because of other health issues I cannot push myself.  I've already found with this new exercise routine I'm feeling too tired and foggy brained.  But it's either that and hopefully see an up in HDL or risk a sooner heart attack...

So here's why for me this is so challenging.  I mentioned the above challenges with my health and exercise.  What's challenging with food is I struggle with candida (have to be careful with many foods) and I also have many food allergies.  So when someone shows a meal plan showing how to have high fiber meals it's either too full of natural sugars from fruits (which contributes to candida) , or wheat (which i'm allergic to), or too many carbs which is bad for my pos and overall personal health.  I've learned over the past 14 years how to cut out refined sugars and foods, how to work around food allergens, I've done an intense candida diet and a short time of a G.A.P.S. diet.  But this is going to be the most challenging - adding in more fiber without too many carbs and sugars.

I'm asking for prayers as I continue to try to make changes that will Lord willing help impact my heart health for the better.   I struggle with depression and anxiety already and since finding out this news it's been a struggle of my mind. My energy has been at an all time low because of that and other issues.  Please pray for renewed physical and spiritual strength as I now embark on yet another journey in health.

I was already planning on compiling a new cookbook this years with healthy recipes.  Now, it will be even better because of all the new recipes I plan on trying out.  My hope is and has been since I was young to help others.  I hope my struggles along the way can help even one person.

"Never worry about numbers.  Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you."
Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa has inspired me for many years and continues to do so.  I have big plans in the future where I feel like God is leading.  Please be in prayer about that also.  I want to do HIS work.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Loss is a Loss, No Matter How Small

Within the first year of marriage, my husband and I conceived our first child.  We were so incredibly excited!  I already had a 4 year old daughter; this was our first child together.  I had no trouble conceiving and keeping my daughter and didn't in my wildest dreams think I'd be one of "those" people who lost babies.  I remember at about week 8 into my first pregnancy with Matt,  feeling all my pregnancy symptoms go away.  Then the thing a pregnant woman fears most; the sight of blood.   It was just spotting at first, but as time went on, it got heavier.  I called and talked to midwives and other mom's who had been there before me.  I went to the Emergency Room but there was nothing they could do.  I knew deep down in my heart this baby wasn't meant for this earth.  I remember the day my miscarriage was complete.  I felt a lot of pressure, went and sat on the toilet and delivered my baby.  I remember hearing screams and wailing; then realizing it was the sound of my own voice grieving the loss of a child I would never know.  The child I was so excited for, I dreamed of and planned for.   Throughout out marriage I was able to conceive a total of 7 children, and lost 4.  Without my personal relationship with Jesus and His comfort during this time, I don't think I would have made it through.

Why am I writing this now?  Because over the last several years I've seeing a huge difference in the way people treat mothers of children who are lost in the later stages of pregnancy vs women like me who lose them early.  I realize it's a different loss; but loss is loss just the same, no matter how small.  Women who lose babies early like I did don't get meals delivered, they don't have someone keeping in touch with them making sure they are ok. There is no funeral for our babies; they get flushed down the toilet. Let's just stop here for a moment.  Flushed down the toilet.  This is so heart wrenching!   That alone made me almost lose my sanity.  No one takes care of mama during this time, she's left to fend for herself taking care of the rest of her household whilst still bleeding and recovering like you would after a full term delivery.  Her milk still comes in and she's left to grieve the baby she will never feed.  She's left wondering what she did wrong; could it be something that could have been prevented?  Why is this happening to me?  There are no cards coming in the mail for support, no flowers to offer some kind of beauty amidst the dark days ahead.  Just the woman alone with her thoughts; dark as they might be.  To most people around us, it's like our babies never existed in the first place.

Please, if you know someone who has lost a baby at any stage, realize they are grieving too.  I had statements from those I was close to such as, "you can always try again", or "be happy for the children you have", "at least you weren't far along", and one of the worst, "well, i'm sure it's part of God's plan."   Please, offer them support, offer to take care of any children they may already have, set up a meal train, send cards of encouragement (or texts).  We grieve too.  We feel loss just like anyone else.  Please don't forget us.