Illness scares the crap out of me!

Just yesterday someone asked me why I was so into this health and wellness thing. She made the comment that all of my FB and IG posts are of healthy recipes, articles about living a healthy lifestyle and eating ‘green veggies’ (her words). At first I thought, she was exaggerating and then thought, well…that’s an odd question to ask someone who’s studying for her Health & Wellness Coach Certification. But then I stopped and really gave it some deep thought. So I thought back, years ago, to 1999 and a comment one of my business associates made.  Yep, I still remember it.

I was working at my desk and had my usual snack; a bowl of nuts, berries and dried fruit, when a co-worker popped his head into my office and said, “you do realize you eat like a bird, right?” and we both laughed. Yes Joe Lilly, if you’re reading this, that co-worker was you.

Then I thought back even further, to 1993-94 (isn’t it odd how you remember the things that really hit you hard) where I was working in an office. Every day between 2 – 3pm, most of the office employees would congregate in the little kitchenette and stand by the vending machine to catch up with one another about family, what they watched on tv the night before, etc. A co-worker made a comment (that I felt was hurtful) on how unsocial she thought I was because she never saw me at the vending machine chatting and sharing stories. Isn’t it odd? I never even thought to go near the vending machine because I knew there was nothing in it I wanted to eat! It had nothing to do with me not wanting to be social and everything to do with my eating habits and lifestyle.

So yesterday, when this woman asked why I was so into this health and wellness thing, it made me think about my WHY. And the truth is really, really simple…illness and disease scares the crap out of me.

I’ve watched a woman die of emphysema in her own living room, lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to oxygen because she couldn’t breathe on her own. I was shocked beyond belief when, on her last day on this great earth, she asked for a cigarette. At the time I thought, gosh, I wonder if this was truly her destiny or if this could have been avoided.  I’ve watched a man die from diabetes because of his diet. He asked his family to make sure they had donuts served at his wake because they were his favorite food. Again, did his life really have to end like this? I’ve watched a woman get skin cancer and have half her nose removed and then fall into a deep depression because of her appearance. My heart ached for what she was going through. I’ve had stomach issues all throughout my childhood and well into my 20’s until I finally realized it was my diet and lifestyle that was causing all the pain. I went through cervical cancer in my early 30’s and thank goodness we had already been blessed with 3 beautiful boys. Was it all the stress in my life that brought it on? I guess one never knows what ones destiny truly is but if mine is supposed to be cut short and I can avoid that, I’m going to do it!

Long story short – My why? Why am I so into this health and wellness thing? I love life. Seriously – I love life. I’m one of ‘those people’ that greets every morning as a brand new day. I wake and tell myself ‘something wonderful is going to happen today’ and at the end of the day, figure out which one wonderful thing I can be thankful for.  To my 3 boys who are reading this post right now, who are rolling their eyes, laughing and saying, “that’s my Mom, rainbows and butterflies”, I want to say – I want to be around for a very long time and enjoy everything that life has to offer. I don’t want to spend my days and all my money in a Dr’s office, or popping pills or in a hospital bed. I want to treat my body with dignity and respect. But, don’t get me wrong, I have an occasional ice cream and regret it later. Or that piece of chocolate cake – I’m not into absolutes at all, I do want to LIVE. But I believe that our health is our greatest asset and without it? Well…I think you know the end result to that.

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