My husband graduated from the fire academy when I was enormously pregnant with our third son. I was so incredibly proud of him for his hard work and commitment to following his lifelong dream. I remember sitting in that auditorium and being moved by all of the firefighter rituals. My man endured a lot during those 12 weeks of training and this ceremony was 100% fitting to these people and everything they did, not only during those 12 weeks but all the tests and training leading up to this point.
One thing that stood out to me the most was when the speaker talked about how these firefighters are now in the best shape of their lives and how they need to continue being in good physical condition because one of the biggest causes of death, injury, or illness amongst firefighters is cardiac related. All of a sudden I wasn’t so concerned with losing my man in a fire, but instead losing him to a heart attack.
I went to a new doctor a few months ago to address the fatigue I was feeling along with some other symptoms. She is a functional medicine doctor, and I just love that approach to medicine. As functional medicine doctors do, she ordered a boat load of labs and a super fun saliva hormone kit. As my follow up appointment drew near, I became more and more curious about my lab results so I went online and tried to read them myself. Please remind me to never do that again, as Dr. Google is not the most optimistic doctor around.
A few days later I told her that I saw my labs online, and with a smile on her face, she told me to tell her what my self diagnosis was. I laughed, admitting I couldn’t read the hormone test, but from the blood work I believe I have inflammation. Indeed I do have inflammation along with a few other problem areas; 1-lipoproteins way too high, 2- sugar slightly elevated, 3-hormonal imbalance, 4-inflammation, 5- cortisol high across the board. There are a few other things too, some are high, some are low(Ok now I feel like I’m reading Dr. Seuss). But this was a good wake up call for me. Because for all these years I’ve worried about my fireman’s heart, and while I still think about his heart and staying healthy, I realize that my health needs to take more of a priority in my own life and less of a backseat to the needs of everyone else in my world.
The more time I had to think about all the areas that are not so good, the more I got to see the connection between them and it’s actually kind of cool because when you look at it from a functional medicine stand point of treating medical issues with supplements and food, rather than drugs, a lot of the great healing supplements and foods work together to treat multiple ailments. For instance, as I’m learning about anti inflammatory foods, I noticed that a lot of these foods are good for cholesterol and balancing hormones. Exercise is an important piece to the puzzle as it helps to treat all of these areas.
It’s been about 2 weeks since my appointment now, and I am learning to be more mindful of everything related to my body. I am taking more time and care when preparing meals for myself. I’ve actually been cooking so much more for myself that I’ve been able to freeze meals. I think the hardest part of eating healthy in the past has been food prep-it just takes so stinking long to be healthy! I am making it a priority to move my body every day. Since my cortisol is high I shouldn’t be doing stressful workouts so I’ve been doing yoga, walking, riding my stationary bike, and kickboxing. I am watching the way I react and respond to situations, sometimes our emotions get the better of us, but I’m not doing my heart or my stress levels any good by getting bent out of shape at every little thing. Lastly, I’m trying to do one thing that I enjoy every day, and not feeling guilty for taking me time!
Basically, it’s really all a matter of the heart. I love my people so much that it is time for a change, it’s time to get healthy, for me and for them. I can’t prevent what has already occurred, but with this wealth of information I can work towards healing. It’s funny how we can look healthy on the outside, and perhaps even feel healthy on the inside, to everyone around us, we are fine. It’s a matter of the heart, and I want my heart to be in top physical shape, just like my firefighter’s heart was when he graduated from the academy.
If anyone has any tips, recipes, or would like to join me on my journey to better health, leave a comment. I would love some encouragement and support!