Archive for May, 2013

Calorie Wars
Today on ‘Morning Joe’ I watched Mika B.talk with a reporter about her new book Obsessed. I haven’t read it but I did hear her words, probably because listening to a personal story has more impact for me. I have spent the better part of my 50 years in Nursing listening to others relate their mental, physical and emotional hurts. I am always fascinated by the triggers or unseen forces which drive us to a state of being in which we are no longer comfortable but feeling powerless to call a halt.
Truly, many days we are driven by demons whose source is within our being, crying out to satisfy simple needs which our mind attaches to much bigger things. For example, when we have a craving for simple salt, how much easier it would be to sprinkle a few grains in our hand and allow it to melt on the tongue. I mean, I get the idea that we have addictions, food being a major player. So the simple desire for salt becomes attached to potatoes in the form of chips, or fries, or some other goody which will eventually hold us hostage to its delight. When I heard about it, and thought about food addictions I could understand in a heart beat how that would drive the body and mind to work in sync for the worst outcome. The intellect has no defense against those cravings.
I have not been fat all my life. As I tell folks who have only known me in the last 20 years, this obese woman is not me, never was, but illness altered the course of events in my life and every practitioner I met in the last twenty years was also powerless to stop the relentless gain of pound after pound of unwanted and disfiguring fat. When most diabetics lost, I gained. When others with cancer lost, I gained. There is no common sense defense against that.
Then the struggle with calories begins. How much food is needed to satisfy the body bulk and drug needs without leaving myself short. The war was exhausting. Each battle a defeat. Eventually, I personally got driven to absolute surrender. Even as a health care practitioner, the whole thing just became too much to even discuss or ponder. I ate to satisfy my needs. The slim woman with a perfect 34-24-36 measurements just didn’t exist anymore and would not live again.
But wait!
In the real war of calories, someone has to come along with a new practical, applicable idea at the same time as the scales tip as high as they have ever been. As I write this, I am 52 lbs lighter than I was. How I came to be here isn’t a complex story. Nor is it about finding the right diet. It is about change and understanding. It’s about satisfying those cravings and addictions, but also evolving a disciplined lifestyle so that when the craving for salt cries in your soul, you can sprinkle a few grains in your hand and allow them to melt on your tongue in the corner reserved for that taste, before moving on. You can forget about salt attached to anything other than the two elements which comprise its being: sodium and chloride. Or you can say no, I will wait until my next meal. Discipline has to evolve as part of the process in order to fight those demons inside which aggressively lobby your body and mind against the intellect of common sense.


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I have been in nursing for at least 50 of my 66 years.  It sure has provided me with a good life.  Being lucky enough to fulfill my dreams through education and hard work is the culmination of Grannie’s dreams, my mother’s ambition, my father’s wishes and my inner drive.  For those ancestors whose genes created mine,  I give thanks and never question that most of what I wanted to do, I was able to achieve.  There isn’t much else except to continue to educate myself and try to pass on that same desire to my children and grandchildren. 

It’s hard to think about losses when I have been fortunate in so many ways but life is often a trade off of one thing for another.  Not sacrifices, but real exchanges for the good or just accepting that decisions have consequences.  What I understand is that the debilities of aging are concomitant with a mind, full of experience, ready to be passed on. Both enable me to come to peace more easily with change. 

So I sit here thinking about the empty space inside of me following surgery, typing its epitaph and trying not to mourn the loss of yet another body part which certainly received its share of work over the years.  When ‘it’ took early retirement from active service, I was dismayed, promising to nurture its quiet years until death.  ‘It’ had other ideas and now lies elsewhere away from me, soon to be buried in an unknown place. 

Wisdom teaches me that when something cries out to be released, we should let go with a happy heart because we are acceeding to the wishes of the other.  These are the lessons of my grandparents and parents.  When their time came, I did  let them go with grateful thoughts for all they did in support of my wellbeing.  Body parts are not quite like people.  They are however, a part of me, like my children and deserve some thought for the service provided to the health and wellbeing of my body. 

So as I recoup from this loss, I give thanks for wisdom which enables me to process change, the career which taught me to accept change, and a family creed which teaches  change as inevitable. 

I can’t put my experience alongside the recent victims in Boston.  Their experience is outside of my scope except as a practitioner.  I am however mindful of the consequences, when thoughtless others decided our fate.  My heart and prayers go out to them for the unintended losses  they must deal with now and forever.

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