Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jump Start

Lately I have been uninspired about writing. I have been so busy and overwhelmed (mostly all v good things) in my life that I haven't been paying much attention to the smell of the roses. Fortunately tonight pulled me out of my relay race. I was given the glorious opportunity to speak to a group of pre and post op bariatric surgery patients. I am not going to go into exactly what that means but the short answer is weight loss surgery. This is not liposuction because you want a six pack for your wedding or surgery for cosmetic reasons, this surgery is only given to people who are obese, often morbidly so and at a serious health risk. Unfortunately there are some people who will be given this surgery and then go right back to their old habits, eventually regaining the weight. I was asked to come and talk to the patients about pre and post op exercise and health options.

I don't think I can fully do justice how moved I was. The people in this group are so dedicated to taking an active role in changing their lives with the help of this "jump start". One man talked about how he always keeps his phone in a different room so when it rings, he has to get up and walk to get it. One woman was giddy when she described sitting on an airplane with the tray table down for the first time. They didn't really need me there because every one of them are walking and swimming and stretching and moving all day long. They have been to the unhealthy side and they do not want to go back so they are doing everything in their power to take advantage of health.

Obviously this made me teary and excited and introspective. There are many people who are against Bariatric surgery. They say things like, "Those people got fat because their lazy and have no willpower, it's their own damn fault." Now I disagree. There are a million and one reasons why a person becomes morbidly obese and it usually has v little to do with lazy. It's usually depression, genetics, co-occurring illnesses, injuries and or joint problems. Add that to a family system that doesn't value health in a society that says they value health while they shove diet pills and cheesecake down our throats and you've got a problem. Bariatric surgery is a jump start to a situation that seems un-fixable. But this post is not about the benefits of surgery so I digress.

Let me use a more personal example and then I will get to the point. I have RA. While I know it isn't my fault, I do believe that I have a say in my recovery. Unfortunately until I started taking bad-ass RA drugs, I was unable to do more than whine about my pain. Now that I am on meds, I feel well enough to make a conscious effort to get myself well. I eat right, exercise as much as I can and do spiritual practices to get my immune system fighting the right foes.

Last week the BT had a horrible cold (which he gave to me, thank you v much). He took over the counter medicine in order to feel better. If he had taken that medicine and then stayed up all night partying with friends, got stressed about work and ate a bunch of sugary crap, it would not matter if he had all the Sudafed in the world, he would still be sick.

If a person is suffering from depression and they are prescribed anti-depressants, they need to know that it is just the jump start. Medicine and surgery and pills and salves are only a push in the right direction, they are not the holy grail. Anti-depressants work best if used in conjunction with a healthy life.

What I am trying to say in this v long winded diatribe is that you have to take responsibility for your health. Go to the doctor, do what they say (if it's sane and helpful), get knee surgery (if it's right for you) but don't expect your knee to heal by itself. You gotta put in the hours, strengthening and stretching and icing and massage.

Got the flu? Go ahead, take some NyQuil if it helps you sleep and feel better (and your doctor says it's OK) but make sure you get the sleep you need, drink a ton of fluids and stay home.

How many of you reading this have something you are taking medicine for? How many of you are also taking responsibility and being good to your body and soul?

Let our saviors (the doctors and nurses and healers) give us a jump when we need it but make sure we get that car into the mechanic for regular tune-ups, feed it healthy fuel and don't let it sit in the garage unused. It's a priceless piece of machinery and it's all ours.

Be Good to your Body, it's where you Live.