Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How This Hike Saved My Life

      Maybe saying this planned section hike saved my life is a little melodramatic.  In truth I wasn't in the process of dying or on death's door, but in a big way, this trip did help add years to my life if not saving it.  I've had some health issues off and on.  Stress is my nemesis.  When I'm stressed, I eat, and I don't eat fruits and veggies, I eat chocolate and sugary desserts.  Not to mention the health issues that stress can create in your body (outside of stuffing your face). 
     So, because I had this strenuous trip planned in 10 months and because the amount of exercising I will be doing will be increasing and progressively get more intense in order to prepare for the hike, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the doctor to get checked out.  I already suspected that I might have some issues with blood pressure, but for the most part, I thought I was relatively healthy.  I had dropped a significant amount of weight over the years so I thought I was doing pretty good.
     Imagine my surprise (sort of) to end up on blood pressure medication and diabetes medication.  I was also told that my cholesterol was very high and that if it didn't change significantly in the next 6 weeks, I was going to be on cholesterol medication. So what was supposed to just be a a quick physical to tell me I'm good to exercise and go on my trip ended up being a physical that turned into finding some pretty significant problems.  And while I suspected that I had blood pressure problems, I wouldn't have gone to the doctor without a really good reason.  That reason being the hike and not wanting to drop dead on everyone and having them drag my lifeless body 40 miles to Harper's Ferry (really, though, they'd just kicked some leaves over me and leave me there). So, without this hike, I would be continuing life prescription free and that means continuing with untreated high blood pressure, untreated Type 2 Diabetes and untreated high cholesterol.

In the meantime, I have the green light to start my exercise program (really, I need to exercise to help get my blood pressure and sugar levels to a better level).  Because my EKG looked good, I don't need to have a stress test just yet.  If I start experiencing some shortness of breath or chest pains while exercising I will of course need to schedule one.  I may choose to schedule one anyway because as my doctor said, it's better to have a problem in the room with the doctor standing there with the paddles than in the backwoods of West Virginia with some toothless guy ready to give you mouth to mouth.

Bottom line is, without this hike, I would have some serious health issues going untreated, so without even starting to exercise and eat healthier, I already am healthier.

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