Eight months. There, I officially acknowledge the lapse. Let's move along then, shall we?
"When we last left our heroes," Wonder Woman was about to have a hysterectomy. Well, she recovered quickly and rather well, I might add. While I'll admit to having mild uterine pangs when my nephew was born in June and my niece in August, I have to admit it's nice to no longer lug around a cantaloupe-sized tumor or to worry about if/where/when the floodgates would open. Not a tampon in the house! There was that one box my mother brought over three weeks post-op, (“They were on super sale!”) but we tossed them right after we had to explain “hysterectomy.”
These past few months have been a time of major changes and milestones for me and some people I care about.
To support a friend who needed to make doctor-ordered lifestyle changes, I hitched a ride on the “Mediterranean Heart Healthy Diet” train with him. I’n down 38 pounds since July 6th. On Tuesday, I hit the personal milestone of being at my lowest weight since Ben was born (he just turned 10). Granted, it’s a weight that most women would rather not ever even see, and no, I’m not going to give you the number. I only trust three people with those digits, and one of them owns an EKG machine. But it’s still a milestone for me, and only 27 pounds away from a goal that was set for me. I’ll never be thin. But I’ll be thinner. And I’m doing it be setting little goals for myself and celebrating the little milestones along the path. Today, I once again biked around Lake Galena in Peace Valley Park, Doylestown. But this time I managed to pedal up the entire quarter-mile 8% grade hill on the route. No big whoop for most, it's not quite the "Widow Maker," but not having to get off and push my Schwinn for the first time was a major milestone for this old gal. (And I celebrated it with a McDonalds Diet Coke on the drive home.)
Changing my diet and bumping up exercise were all I originally thought I’d need to tackle this weight goal of mine. But as is often the case, one change leads to another…and another. To work on the astronomical blood pressure, the cardiologist ordered I go on a very low sodium diet. So that means the 3-pound brick of Feta sitting in my “Mediterranean Diet” laden fridge is now verboten and has been replaced by “deliciously low in sodium” Amish Farmers Cheese. I do not believe that “Amish Farmers Cheese” is eaten by Amish farmers or made by Amish farmers. I do believe that it was named after the substance that grows in their wool socks after a solid day of barn raising. I’ve had to give up salt, "bad" fat, sugar, alcohol and taste. It’s led to a severe loss of appetite and I occasionally have to force myself to eat. But to get to the “normal blood pressure” and “goal weight” milestones, you do what ya gotta.
My attained and desired milestones, however, are but a mere pittance compared to those some of my fellow forty-something friends. Take the aforementioned diet buddy. Every year he rides in the two-day “City to Shore” fundraiser to help in the battle against Multiple Sclerosis. After last year’s ride, he vowed to mark his 50th birthday this month by riding a whopping 100 miles on the first day alone. After a heart scare and being unable to really train all summer, it looked like that goal wasn’t attainable and he reluctantly cut his aim down to 75 miles. Once in the saddle though, that 100-mile milestone was all he could think of…and he reached it; and knocked off another 75 miles the next day. After two days and one sore fanny, he’d raised over $800 to help fight Multiple Sclerosis. Great accomplishments all the way around, achieved through hard work and sheer will.
But no one’s milestone is more remarkable than that of a wonderful woman I know in northern England. I haven’t seen her in years, but we’ve always kept in touch. She recently emailed me, congratulating my little achievements and encouraging me to write more often. And also thanked me for sharing my friend’s link to his MS fundraising story on my Facebook page. Like another friend of mine, she has been battling Multiple Sclerosis for quite some time. What started as “odd tinglings” a few years ago is now slowly but steadily ravaging her body. She wrote that she was moved by the idea of the bike ride fundraiser because she herself was an avid cyclist. Her favorite place to ride is a mountain bike trail that ran through “Cold Law” in New Castle Upon Tyne. She and her husband would ride it together several times a year. When their son learned to ride, the three of them would ride it as a family. As her disease progressed, their rides shortened. From 18 miles to 12; from 12 to 8; from 8 to 5. Sadly, today she can no longer ride at all. And she knows that one day, who knows how far down the road, she may no longer be able to even walk. So this summer, she set a goal for herself: hike Cold Law. Just a little. Just as far as she could. She’d take walks around town to “get ready,” trying to go just a little further each time before she’d take a break. This summer, she slowly hiked two miles of “Cold Law” with her husband and son…far less than the 18 mile rides they used to take, but she said it meant far more. They saw plants and birds that they used to overlook as they’d whiz past on their wheels. And they celebrated with a picnic midway. She plans to try again next year. If it’s shorter, or if it’s with a cane, she doesn’t care. Just as long as she tries and her family goes with her.
An 8% hill. A 100 mile trek. A hike through the English countryside. Doesn’t matter what it is. If it’s a goal you set for yourself and you chip away at it until you achieve it, it’s a milestone you should celebrate. Even if it’s only with a Diet Coke and a blog post. And then set another goal for yourself; another change you can make. I want to be diagnosed as officially “healthy.” I’d like to have a normal blood pressure. I’d like to see “overweight” next to my BMI score instead of “obese.” I’d like to be able to answer my cell phone without first having to see if it’s a bill collector. I’d like to be happy more often than not. And I’d like to quash those little demon voices that occasionally whisper (or shout) at me, “You’re not good enough.”
Some milestones a reached far easier than others, obviously.
Just keep chipping. Just keep chipping.