The first step to wealth is health
December 21, 2009 § 14 Comments
“The first step to wealth is health.”
That rhymes, I told my doctor as he was chiding me for letting a period of extreme stress get in the way of effectively managing my diabetes. He hadn’t considered that, he said, noting he is not a poet. It would to me as a writer.
“There will always be jobs,” the doctor continued. “But if you don’t take care of yourself, that won’t matter.”
For someone who several others readily call a mentor, the motivator had allowed himself to be distracted from Looking out for Number One. He who has pushed others to be positive has lost his own focus.
No excuses. I know better. If I am to remain competitive in the battle against the D word, then I have to do better. Every day. It has already taken its toll in varying ways.
I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 10 years ago this fall. At first, my doctor felt I could address it with proper exercise and diet. After five years that didn’t work, primarily because I didn’t do the work, and I was prescribed two medications for that as well as pills for cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Diabetes can best be described as juggling four balls – there are four main contributing factors – heredity, stress, diet, and exercise. The first, I can do nothing about. My dad was “borderline” diabetic. When I told the diabetes nurse this, she laughed. “That is like being borderline pregnant. Either you are or you aren’t.”
Then there is stress. Mostly, I am able to use this in a positive sense, feeding my natural drive and energy but lately I have found myself distracted by it, letting things over which I have little or no control bother me.
Speaking of feeding … although I don’t eat horribly, my diet management is not great, mostly in terms of portions and timing. Before I learned I am diabetic, I didn’t eat breakfast so that was an improvement.
The exercise has improved lately, walking the dog almost every day for at least a half hour, often more.
The bottom line is, diabetes is a silent disease. It is not necessarily going to give you a daily reminder like a lump or chronic pain do. But holding it at bay does take daily attention.
So, while I am great at fostering motivation in others, I must accept the responsibility for managing my own stress, diet and exercise. It is MY blood that needs to be monitored and MY doctor appointments that must be kept.
Others can provide encouragement, but it is me who must take charge of my own health.
And, ironically, the best prescription to stress has been at the forefront all these years.
On the side of my mother-in-law’s fridge (for the record, the least reason for me to have stress and, no, my wife is not standing over me as I write) she has posted the Serenity Prayer … God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
My mother-in-law learned in her late 70s that she, too, has diabetes, and has done a much better job of monitoring the disease.
Perhaps, even though I know I have the disease and know the consequences, I’ve been just too busy worrying about other things.
The doctor was right.
The first step to wealth is health.