Around this time of year, my blog turns to health; after all, it’s annual checkup time.
Guatemala, it turns out, was a poor man’s fat camp. During three months of stairs and beans and pineapple (and avocados!), Pat lost 15 pounds (at 6 foot 3, he is a lean 185 pounds). I lost 10 pounds myself (You expected my weight here? You’re funny.) We subsisted on the local fruits, vegetables, and beans that were plentiful in our tiny village. All that talk about giving up processed foods–it works!
This month, we switched doctors from Colorado to Virginia. Everything checked out fine. Then the nurse called with our blood test results, “Since both of you have LDLs over 100, you should start a statin.”
Seriously? No discussion of our favorable family history, a ten-point gain in each of our good cholesterol readings, material drops in our triglycerides, or an acknowledgement of our healthy lipid ratios??
Popping pills has become the oh-so-easy cure.
PAUSE THE BLOG
I’m not a doctor. Nothing I say should be perceived as medical advice.
RESUME THE BLOG
There is no flaming way I am taking a statin. At least, not now.
Since last fall, we have lifted weights every other day faithfully (with the exception of our time in Guatemala where we carried our groceries home every day). We now join a gym as soon as we arrive in a new location as part of our settling in ritual
We have stopped renting cars—not in Charlottesville, not this summer in Ireland. We used the savings in Charlottesville to stay in town. I walk 10,000 steps every day just getting to where I need to go. During a month of walking and lifting and yoga, I’ve carved off another two pounds. (And it goes without saying, I’ve revamped our eating this month as we chase an LDL target of under 100.)
This all got me thinking about my life and my goals. I gravitate towards activities that are highly inactive (shouldn’t we call these activities “inactivities”?). I read. I write. I sit in coffee shops and talk to people… for hours.
Then it struck me.
Rather than chase the illusive Great American Novel (from the comfort of my desk), maybe I should orient our time, and by extension our travel, toward movement–heart pumping stuff.
We had ten days unaccounted for in late July/early August. Perfect! Yesterday, I booked an unguided hike of the Wicklow Way—the 87-mile trail which leads from Clonegal to Dublin. At night we will sleep in B&Bs. By day, our bags (magically) will move to our next stop while we slog over hill and vale.
Maybe I’ll write about it. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll drop dead on the trail, in which case my dying words will be, “Pat, take the statin,” but I’m betting that won’t happen.
After Wicklow Way, who knows? The Appalachian Trail, Everest Base Camp, Pictured Rock Shoreline, the villages of Burgundy all await. Or maybe we’ll bike from Salzburg to Bratislava.
I’ll recheck our cholesterol this fall. Perhaps I’ll consider a statin, but not with our current trajectory.
That worry can wait. For now, I’m trying to remember where I stashed our hiking boots.
Categories: How To