You Have the Fears of an Adult
Your fears don't paralyze you - they are very rooted in reality.
You have had enough loss in your life to know more is to come, and you dread it.
Compared to most people, you deal with your fears well. They don't ruin your life.
Your fears are strong and very real, but you try to let them go. You know you can't control what happens.
Some months ago I took this quiz:
Do You Have the Fears of a Child or an Adult?
(Click link to take the test yourself.)
I'm posting the results (above) now because I have a bit of adult fear going on due to results from blood work done in the course of a physical I had earlier this month. The rest of my physical was great: all systems go. But it seems that my total cholesterol has alarmed my doctor by going from 250 in 2007 to 262 this year. The weird break-out of good and bad cholesterol that, combined, makes this total is:
Bad cholesterol (LDL) = 152
Good cholesterol (HDL = 101
According to my wonderful family doctor, the average good cholesterol count for his patients in my age range is 40. Forty! He said my count is phenomenal and is what's been "protecting" me. I don't like to think about what it's been protecting me from. Hell, until two weeks ago I couldn't have told you which was which, LDL or HDL. Those were just alphabet letters to me until my doctor began talking options for controlling the LDL letters in my blood.
Until a repeat blood test eight weeks from now he said I can try to lower it with exercise and a change in diet. "Cut out the red meat and pork, and reduce dairy," he said. When I told him I had not eaten red meat or pork since 1976 (it's in my chart but how can he be expected to remember every little nuance about me written there over the last 20 years?) he said it's likely, then, that I've inherited this...that it's in my genes. My mind was whirring as I agreed to try a statin drug for eight weeks to see what happens. What I failed to tell my doctor was that in the last few months I'd consumed a few pints of Haagen Dazs ice cream and two Safeway cheesecakes. Also, the night prior to the blood test Mike talked me into eating Chinese out, although I had mentioned that I didn't want msg or extra greases to sway my test the next day. I didn't mention that to my doctor either. Instead, I filled the prescription and took the first statin pill that evening.
Then Mike started doing online research into statins as I read the printout from my pharmacy that accompanied the prescription. Good God. What a fright the various side effects can be, none that I'm willing to risk unless absolutely necessary. I decided that I would not continue the prescription and would instead increase my exercise and really watch cholesterol in my diet, and see what the test shows eight weeks on. So for the first time in my life I've been reading labels for that magical 0% cholesterol rating, which has seemed so strange. I've never had to diet in my life and basically have been totally spoiled by being able to eat whatever I wanted. Same thing with exercise; it wasn't something I had to do for weight control. In the last year I really haven't been exercising enough and that most definitely has to change as a lifestyle commitment. I love exercise and I don't really understand how I got away from it. Well, yes I do. I used to be a power walker and a hiker. Then we got our dogs and the entire world of walking changed around dog exercise pace. Both dogs are too old to take to the hills for a rigorous hike and this means that if Mike and I plan a hike it must be a short one leaving the dogs at home, or boarding them if we wanted to do a day hike. Obviously, it's time to think of myself and work out the doggie arrangements.
So, how did fear come into play in this cholesterol drama? It came today when I called my brother, Tony, in Duluth to wish him a happy birthday. We talked for 40 minutes and had a great time catching up. Tony and I have different mothers and we met for the first time when I was 21 and drove cross country with a woman (and her daughter) who worked at the savings-and-loan where I had a part-time college job. Her mother lived in Mankato, Minnesota, where my other brother, Richard, lives and it was quite an odyssey sharing the driving for the opportunity to meet my brothers, paternal grandparents, and my father that summer long ago.
Because we weren't raised together I've consulted Tony about family history on our father's side, including the occasional health-related issue. Like today. When I brought up this whole cholesterol thing and he immediately said, "It's probably your genes. Richard has been on statins for years now and I have been on them for a couple of years." He said that Richard experiences some of the side effects (muscle and joint pain). I wanted to cry. But I didn't.
This is definitely a case of knowledge being power. I'm grateful to have this information to share with my doctor in order for us to make the best decisions for my health care. My intention is to do as I planned and not take the damned drug for these eight weeks while at the same time increasing exercise and not eating foods containing cholesterol. Then, if a repeated blood test shows little change I'll research naturopathic or Ayurvedic remedies. Of course if I must I'll take the damned statin drug.
As my yoga teacher said to the class a few years ago when one of her knees prevented her from assuming a particular position, "Aging is humbling." Which reminds me. I absolutely need to get back to a serious yoga practice.