Tennesseetransitions


Back to Basics
May 6, 2015, 9:39 PM
Filed under: Back to Basics

Sometimes I have to relearn old lessons-important lessons that I thought I’d never, ever forget! In the case of my own health and well being, I think I got so wrapped up in curing Michael’s cancer that I let my own health slide. A year ago, exactly one year into his two year cancer odyssey, I began taking cholesterol-lowering statins and blood pressure medication. And they worked very well-except the effects lulled me into thinking “I am safe and healthy now”. About the same time, Michael wasn’t healing well from his multiple surgeries, so doctors encouraged him to get a meat form of protein into his diet, rather than the fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains that had kept us both in excellent health for almost 10 years. So, we started with a bit of chicken, and placebo or not, he began to heal very quickly. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t just jump on the meat bandwagon right away! We tried protein powders, protein shakes, protein bars and more before we tried the chicken, but doctors said when our bodies are under severe trauma (as in colon surgery) that a ‘more powerful’ form of protein is needed, and that the only form of that is via eating meat. Now, a year later, he’s healed and been declared cancer free, as of 2 weeks ago. Funny thing though, now he’s become seriously B-12 deficient. So deficient that he’s taking regular B-12 shots. The very vitamin that he’s deficient in, comes from, you guessed it, meat. When we ate a mostly vegan diet, he was not B-12 deficient. These truly are what I call “things that make you go, “hmmmm”.

Lately I’ve been feeling serious muscular pain in my neck, shoulders and upper arms, so I find myself taking Tylenol for it. I’ve also noticed in the last 3 months an irritating and worsening ability to remember common words. Like at supper tonight, we had mango salsa on our fish, only I couldn’t remember the word mango. And in that first paragraph, I couldn’t think of the word placebo. Earlier today my daughter asked me if I could remember how much niacin her doctor had advised her to take to clear some of her own mental fog and coincidentally, help lower her own cholesterol, (even though her level was quite acceptable). I went to some of my usually reliable online sources for medical advice, and one link led to another and another, and I began to read more and more about the possible side effects of statins. Can you guess what they are? Muscle tissue breakdown and short term memory loss, for starters!

So, what lesson did I forget? To take personal responsibility for my health, rather than relying on a doctor that barely knows me and makes recommendations based on one simple blood test.

What other lessons have I forgotten? 17 years ago I took a 6 week course called “Voluntary Simplicity” that quite literally changed my life. I embraced the ideas and practices of leading a simpler life, and in doing so, established a profound sense of purpose, direction and joy in my life. Somehow these last two years of cancer-fighting found me putting aside some of the very values and principles that I know I need for my own continued good health. I’ve compromised myself a lot, by taking on too many projects, abandoning my spiritual practices of yoga and meditation, and letting clutter creep back into my personal space, for starters. I even started buying the damn paper towels again!!!  Sometimes conveniences seem necessary. But then they can stealthily become ‘needs’, rather than ‘conveniences’, and before  you know it, you’re buying the damn 6 pack because they’re so much cheaper per roll that way!

define necessity

Another example: last night was the first of this season’s monthly garden classes for the community gardeners. I forgot it completely, and I’m sure it’s due to the fact that I’m juggling too many balls in the air~and the statins seriously affecting my short term memory! My life isn’t simple anymore. I’m not having much fun either because my days are ruled by the ‘To-Do List God’. I’m not eating as healthy. When I find that I’m buying paper towels again, it’s a sure barometer of ‘not enough time’.

So, I’m getting back to basics again…I started this evening by dropping a bag of stuff off at the thrift store when I walked the dog. Donating excess stuff feels good and helps somebody, somewhere, I’m certain. I cooked a delicious, healthy meal from scratch, and mostly from the garden, for supper. I’m weaning myself off the statins beginning tonight, and  I will meditate before I go to bed, so that I can begin to lower that blood pressure back to P.C. levels. (That’s ‘pre-cancer’ levels.) I’m going to follow my own advice to ‘just say no’ to anymore obligations for a while. I’m going to read more, nap more, write more, plant more and spend a lot of time on the porch this summer.

porch sitting

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7 Comments so far
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Well, Sam, your words have hit me right on top of my head again and stirred up some ‘stuff’ up there in my brain that has been fogged over! It started with statins and forgetting words that I use often. Then you started talking about the things that take up too much of our space and time and the important things to our health and happiness begin to slide. Bingo!!! Hubby and I have been retired several years now and we stay tired from trying
to keep up! I admit to being OCD about my living space inside and he is OCD about the outside yard, vehicles(too many) and such. Well, dang it! There is no end to trying for ‘perfect’! Besides, who cares about that except the two of us? Can we ease up some? You betcha! Gotta run and fix lunch as he will be in soon and then I may take a nap!

Comment by Karen

You’re right Karen, nobody cares about your clean house or immaculate yard but you and hubs. I mean, do you care about mine? Of course not! We’ve just gotta stop that and relax, have some fun. To that end, we’re going to Dollywood-of all places- for the day Saturday. Not even gonna worry about watering my seeds that day or anything else…just going to concentrate on fun fun fun! I’ll try to get Michael to take pics of me screaming down the roller coaster track haha!

Comment by simpleintn

You go right ahead and get on that roller coaster!
That’s too much fun for me! I do love to look around at Dollywood, though. And eat!

Comment by Karen

That porch sittin’ is a good thing. I get too wound up in all of it too sometimes and have to pull in my reins and remember to go sit on the porch. There are birds and squirrels to watch out there! Have fun at Dollywood. Yea, pictures!

Comment by sarasinart

Love that, too. We do that every single morning when it is warm enough. Makes the coffee taste even better!

Comment by Karen

· Thank you for these, Sam: “… the very values and principles that I know I need for my own continued good health. I’ve compromised myself a lot, by taking on too many projects, abandoning my spiritual practices of yoga and meditation, and letting clutter creep back into my personal space, for starters.”
“… classes for the community gardeners. I forgot it completely, and I’m sure it’s due to the fact that I’m juggling too many balls in the air~and the statins seriously affecting my short term memory! My life isn’t simple anymore. I’m not having much fun either …”.
· This sounds right, to me:
“I cooked a delicious, healthy meal from scratch, and mostly from the garden, for supper. I’m weaning myself off the statins beginning tonight, and I will meditate before I go to bed … I’m going to follow my own advice to ‘just say no’ to any more obligations for a while.”
· And your plans are very good:
“I’m going to read more, nap more, write more, plant more and spend a lot of time on the porch this summer.”
· I made a change similar to this though I added two fast, sweaty walks every day, and in one-to-three months I was feeling five-to-ten years younger than my actual 78yo.
David.

David MacClement, http://davd.i8.com/EFquiz_DsResponses-080515.html#up
http://davd.tripod.com/#up ZL1ASX davdATorcon.net.nz
http://davd.4t.com/-/021DsupportsBdownPath768hi.html#up
http://reocities.com/davd.geo/#earths I’m on Kawau Island Auckland NZ
earth my home. David’s life story, on Avaaz: http://ow.ly/DtZbo

Comment by davdnz

So good to hear from you David! You are such an inspiration to me, and I love reading your posts on Less Is More. My daily walks aren’t as vigorous as I’d like them to be, but Michael and I rode our bikes last night for the first time in months and it felt soo good. Back to Basics is already working for me.

Comment by simpleintn




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