Friday, January 12, 2007

Take Good Care of Yourself

Not only is it a good idea to "Button Up Your Overcoat" this time of year as the old song says, but it can also be a good idea to look at what else is needed to take good care of yourself.

It doesn't matter if you are single, living with roommates or family, the time you put into taking care of yourself will pay off for yourself and anyone who cares about you far into the future.

My 80+ year old mother is a 5+ year survivor of lung cancer. If you know anyone who has fought the fight against lung cancer, you know that she is among the lucky few. She has been good, far better than I will ever be, at eating right and exercising for most of her life. She credits that, along with excellent medical care and a very early diagnosis, with her survival. Her children, her extended family and many friends are glad that it worked out that way. With her care as a role model, I've been focused on doing a better job of that myself, but it's not easy.

With all of the items on my real and virtual 'to do' list that tug at me for attention, it's hard to focus on anything beyond that. Despite that, in the last six months I've done a series of screening tests and a few procedures after years of hoping that if I ignored what I didn't want to deal with the things would go away. Silly me.

The latest was a colonoscopy this week. Results were great. The reason I'm blogging about it is that if you decide to take that screening test or any other one that required a pre-screening regimen to clean out your digestive system, there are a few tricks I tried that really helped make it easier to prep.

Start four days in advance of the day you will prep. At that point begin eating more easily digestible food. In particular stop eating red meat. Indeed, if possible, stop eating meat altogether for the last four days. The second day before I had eggs and fruit and toast for breakfast and soup with chicken and brown rice for dinner. Lunch was yogurt and some almonds. I drank a fair amount of water that day. The day before was all liquids including fresh orange juice, broth, and lots of tea. The day of I had some fresh orange juice and herbal tea in the morning. I started the prep at noon. Since I had done this type of prep before I was pleasantly surprised that this time there was very little cramping and I was all finished up by 6 P.M. Last time I was up all night. If you are over 55 and have never had a colonoscopy, please think about having one soon. The prep is the most difficult part and if you follow a similar eating regimen to the one above it is very likely that your experience will also be that it is easier than a stomach flu and shorter, too. The upside is that you will catch anything that needs attention when it is tiny and easy to deal with and be around to tease your great-grandchildren or great-neices and great-nephews at least.

Not ready for that or too young (50 may be the best age to start...don't know but your doctor does)? Maybe with the new year you resolved to exercise more or eat more fish or veggies or fruit or whatever. Those are all good goals. Maybe you actually were brave and did the blood work-up and doctor physical thing and know that you need to tackle the eating better and exercising more thing to avoid medications instead. Go for it! You can do it, somehow, if you want to. Find a buddy to do it with if that suits you. Misery loves company. So does success.

Live long and prosper.



3 comments:

Melindy said...

A good reminder, Elle. It makes me want to slow down and take heed of my own body and needs of myself and the people around me I care about. It is important.

Check this out-

http://www.onemillionawake.com/

Elle said...

Hi Melindy. I checked out the onemillionawake blog site also. I guess that I'm not personally ready to give up the seeking, struggle, seeker. Life is beautiful. This world seems beautiful to me. Death is inevitable, but I'm enjoying the challenge of more than being. Being is the starting point. Living is a challenge, struggle, joy and sometimes sorrow. Not enlightened yet I guess.

Kristen said...

This is such a good post for all of us, no matter what our age. It's important that we take the steps necessary to make our lives as healthy as possible. Thanks for the gentle nudge.