I felt genuinely unwell when I asked my Doctor for a blood test, she agreed and I went for the test. While waiting for the results I found out I had shingles! I expected this to be shown in the results, but it wasn’t! Instead the Nurse rang me a few days later the same day a letter from her arrived by post, she wanted to see me about the results of the blood test! Gulp, I wondered what could be SO bad. I already knew she was going to phone me with the results at the time we had arranged, she said something that I didn’t expect that my, “Cholesterol was a bit high,” I said, “Is that it, nothing else?” she replied, “Nothing else,” and went on, “I want you to come in on the 8th to see a Nurse,” I said, “OK, can you tell me the number of my cholesterol”? “Sorry I can’t, you need to come into the surgery.” At first I wasn’t troubled until I looked on the internet and learnt that high cholesterol is a disease! That shocked me!!! So with the fear of God now in me I looked again on the internet, for foods that sent it up and foods that reduced it.
With the new information I went and bought nasty unsalted various nuts, brown bread with seeds in and it seemed some bread makers were trying to outdo each other into how many seeds they could put in their bread, I bought porridge, plums apples, honey to sweeten the porridge, lovely fry ups were out! Lovely MacDonald’s out! Could it get worse? Yes! Fish and Chips, cakes, biscuits, crisps, chips, chocolate and much, much more! In fact all of my basic staple diet! OUT! But, did I want to live or die! That was a tough question for I didn’t know how high it was, was it too late I wondered, had I eaten junk food too much and was already tumbling down into an early grave. I had to buck up my ideas and fast!!!!
I really didn’t want to fail, I have seen all the smokers at work fail, with good intentions they had started out well.... and within three weeks it was back to the fags! With all the excuses! I didn’t want to fail, but how do I change a habit of a lifetime? The smoker had to be true to themselves when no one was around, not cheat for they only cheat themselves, and this too would apply to me too. Could I do it? Did I have this deep inner strength in me? I would give it a go it was now or never really. I had no choice.
When I ate the horrible, nasty peanuts, I imagined it was medicine, doing me good, bringing my number down. Plums and apples do not fill the craving for chocolate, crisps, MacDonald’s, cake with yummy custard (what is nicer than that?) I would be SO proud of myself, if my number levels went down by diet alone; it’s ok to dream......
I had porridge for breakfast, with brown seeded bread to fill me up, but I was soon, too soon very hungry, I felt like I was knocking on death’s door! I hated that feeling and I wasn’t used to it, for really I knew just two biscuits or a bag of crisp would make me feel better again, so I decided each time I felt like this, I saw it as a step for it was by a step at a time I was going to win, NO other way! So I overcome the step in front of me by taking my medicine – peanuts, plums, apples, lovely brown bread toasted, with lovely thick set honey.
A lovely friend who I hadn’t seen for a while gave me a bag full of chocolates she even said, “I have included jelly babies, as I know you really love them.” She was right of course I DO love them!!! I gave the chocolates to the kids and to Paul I said, “Hide the rest of these chocolates and you have the jelly babies,” he replied, “I don’t like them,” (neither did the kids,) so that too was left in the bag, with the last few chocolates that was left. The next day at work I thought of nothing else, but those flaming jelly babies and I came up with a great plan to eat them all!!!!!!!!! I would ask Paul to give me three a day, that was very good for me, as a pack can last me, at least thirty minutes, that would be progress and a treat too, for I had to live, I wasn’t dead! In the living room that evening with Meghan also in the room our teen daughter, I said to Paul, “You know those jelly babies that I gave you, but you said you didn’t like them....” “I ate them! I had no fags!” I don’t know what my face must have looked like, when I replied, “That’s fine, you did me a favour....” (I lied!) The following day, I went shopping with Meghan when we came back home she said, “Mum, I bought you these jelly babies; I saw the disappointment on your face yesterday and was sad that you didn’t have them.” I replied, Paul did me favour, it was hard, but I was glad.” Meghan said, “I will give you three jelly babies a day.” I had to smile, and said, “Thank you Meghan.” Later on that evening I noticed something in a bag I opened it and saw it was the jelly babies, so I opened it and took out one and instead of eating a whole one, I bit into it three different times letting it last me longer than usual trying to savor the moment. I then ate the second one the same and the final one, I close the bag and put it back into the supermarket bag. After the work the following evening when I always have the munchies I remembered the jelly babies and ate the three as I had done the night before. The night after that, I ate four! Well, that was still good for me, right? The forth day I couldn’t wait until the evening and had three in the morning, which I thought after eating them, it wasn’t good, for what was I going to do for my munchies later, I would have to just cross that bridge when I came to it. I had brown seeded toasted bread and good old thick set honey. I hoped the Nurse wouldn’t tell me when she saw me on the 8th that too much honey was not good! Meghan then saw me eating them and said, “I wondered where they had got to,” I told her, “I’d been good and having three a day,” but because I had been ‘good’ I felt it was OK to eat the lot, that was left, so that is what I did, without going on a guilt trip.
In the days running up to the Nurse’ appointment, I suppose I did fall a bit, It was Easter after all, I bought four Easter eggs for Paul, Daniel, Meghan and myself there was two crème eggs in each, I ate one of my crème egg on the Saturday and I ate the other one on Resurrection Sunday, I didn’t feel bad, I didn’t feel good either! So that feeling in itself was progress! If I wanted a bag of crisp I had one as a treat, usually I would have a bag of crisp a day but now the ‘new’ me couldn’t tell you when I had my last bag of crisp. I had at first refused to buy cake, then I saw one Easter Saturday reduced, too good to miss .... So as it was holiday time I bought it, even with this I have been good, I had a tiny portion of cake and custard. Yum.
Yesterday was the big day, the results of my cholesterol levels, I wasn’t nervous, as I was going to see what the Nurse had to say, she was lovely, and listened to me as I told her why I asked for a blood test, I had shingles but didn’t know it at the time. She said to me, “Your cholesterol levels isn’t that high. It is 5.7,” I said, “Is that all! I thought you were going to tell me it was something like 11” She went on, “You need to get it down to 7 within six months.” She suggested I have another fasting blood test then. I told her what I used to eat before and what I had eaten since I heard my cholesterol was high, she said to carry on doing what I am doing, I asked for a diet sheet, she said, “We don’t give them anymore.”I told her about the jelly babies she then said the tests showed my sugar was normal, and jokingly add, “They don’t deserved to be! For Jelly babies is full of sugar!” My blood pressure was taken, that was normal, my weight was normal and my BMI was 23.6 that meant nothing to me, she explained, It is between 20 and 25 and that 23.6 was perfect!” I was chuffed to bits.
I told her that someone I worked with, I was in the minibus with another worker and but because of traffic I was running late picking up another worker who, instead walked back to work, and when she arrived at work said to me, “From the building where I was, all the way to work was 7,000 steps!” I said to her, “Wow, that’s a lot, and from then on I downloaded the pedometer onto my mobile, I set mine to 4,000 steps and did it most days. When I get to 4,000 a trumpet goes off quite loud and a gold coin appears in the top left of my phone. The Nurse said to me, “Do you know how many steps you should be doing a day?” I replied, “No” she said, 10,000 steps!” I was shocked, she said, “You should work up to that amount start with 7,000” I told her, “No; I will set my Pedometer to 10,000” that’s what I did when I went home, that was yesterday and got up to almost 9,000. Today I was ready to make every step count and last night I had found a tiny light weight hand bag that I could put my mobile in so as I did my usual chores, early this morning every step counted and none was wasted, but I still did only 4559. I walked to the post office today, where normally I would have simply took the car as it’s hard on my shingles limp. Finally the Nurse said looking at my swollen foot that I should put it up when I am sitting down at home, I said, “OK” and left on a high.
I couldn’t wait to tell my Mum, I rang her later, she was pleased too, I look forward to telling them at work too.
So now I have 10,000 reasons to walk, for every step helps me to get my number down, for free.