When I was 8 or so, I went to the doctor and was told I was likely pre-diabetic. You’d think I would have been back the next year to keep an eye on that. Nah. I didn’t go back to the doctor until I was 21. This week was my fourth year in a row I’ve gotten a physical. I had until December to get that yearly check up out of the way, but did it now because I really wanted to change doctors.
My Odd Journey with Personal Medical Care
The only reason I made an appointment four years ago was because we’d gone over labs in my nutrition classes and I wanted to interpret my results. Really. That’s the only reason. Once there, I got up to date on everything. And I mean everything. Yes, I’m talking about female care and prevention along with some shots that got lost in the college years. Plus that oh so attractive bloodwork, haha. Surprisingly, everything was fine. All labs were normal and everything was on the record.
The next year that clinic shut down. So, I went to a new doctor. It was a very busy clinic where I felt rushed and unheard, but because I moved out of state for my internship, I went back to that same clinic the following year. Any concern of mine seemed brushed off and ignored. In addition to some “you should know better” looks/comments upon revealing I’m a dietetic student. I got that all year of my internship and every day in my own mind. I do not eat a very healthful diet nor do I regularly, without fail exercise every week.
Rant About my Fear of Becoming a Dietitian and my Own Weight Issues (Feel Free to Skip)
I am fully aware of my missteps and I know damn well what to do about it. Knowledge isn’t the only factor. That’s why, despite how uncomfortable it makes me feel and how much like a hypocrite it makes me seem, I let it slide while I was in university. I told myself I had too much going on to focus on my eating habits or exercise regime. My priorities were to be a good student and employee. My health came at the end of the list after friends, family, and even my mental health.
My idea was that once all that craziness was over, once I graduated and finished my internship, I would be able to breathe and focus on myself. Then instead of being a student and employee and friend and whatever else, I was going to be a health and exercise nut. It’s been four months since I moved back home after my internship and I’m about ten pounds heavier. I am ashamed of my body. I’m ashamed of my lack of studying to pass my licensure exam. Heck! I haven’t even registered for it. That’s how scared I am.
I’m scared of failing. I’m scared of passing and still not knowing enough. Of being an incompetent dietitian. Of being a very knowledgeable dietitian who no one listens to because she is obese. Or because she doesn’t have the best people skills. I’m afraid of gaining more weight and accumulating preventable diseases like diabetes (which I’m right on track for) or high blood pressure or anything else.
Worse than that, I’m afraid of losing weight and what would happen socially, physically to my body, and personally in the way I feel about myself. I’m afraid of going too far and hurting my body by not eating enough of what it needs in the name of losing weight. I’m scared of being judged for being skinny. I’ve never experienced that and would not know how to deal with it. Not that I think I’ll ever get to being skinny. Not with all these fears.
Back to What’s Physically, Potentially, Wrong with my Body
I am 24. I’m not old, but that’s where I’m headed as long as I take care of myself. I know the sooner I take care of myself, the better. I’ve heard it in all of my nutrition classes. Either you take the time to take care of yourself now and prevent diseases or you will have to find time to manage your diseases later in life. I know. But today I experienced it a little bit beyond that nice mantra. My new doctor took the time to listen to my concerns. I had questions bottled up for about 10 years. My two previous doctors weren’t the listening types.
…And she told me she is going to do some tests to make sure I don’t have arthritis. She thought out loud that it couldn’t be osteoporosis, because I’m too young for that. I thought I was scared of my blood sugar results coming back high indicating diabetes or pre-diabetes. I still am scared of that, but this… this was unexpected and shocking. I’m 24 years old. I didn’t expect arthritis.
I want to do things, but last week I couldn’t even safely keep up with a group of senior ladies doing water aerobics due to my messed up elbow. A few weeks before that I wasn’t able to get one bike session completed before my leg seemed to pop out of my hip causing awful pain if I so much as moved my leg an inch from a safe pedaling angle. That day I sucked it up at the expense of worsening my hip and biked the whole hour (12 or 15 miles). The next time the happened the following week I stopped at 30 minutes.
I’m not even supposed to run at my weight. I know that can damage my joints more than any benefit it could have. If I can’t extend my elbow to swim, safely peddle a bike, and shouldn’t even be running, how am I supposed to complete a triathlon?! Is this another pipe dream? Probably.
Taking Time to Focus on Myself and My Health? More like Helping Everyone but Myself.
Putting all my time and energy on my health and fitness and studying isn’t working. It’s been four months of movies and TV series. And unemployment (because again, the stupid idea of only focusing on health and studying). It’s not working for me. I am tired of living in limbo. I’m tired of being ashamed of answering that wretched question “so, what do you do?” I’m not a student or just focusing on myself. Nah. I’m getting distracted trying to help out my family in little ways or at least things that feel little and thus putting off my health, happiness, and success.
I am proud that my parents, brother, and I eat out once a week instead of the three or more that I returned to when I moved back in with them four months ago. I’m proud that my brother has stopped gaining weight and is beginning to lose it because of that. I’m proud that he finally signed up for community college after years of just talking about it.
I am proud of my mom for taking English classes after years of not doing so and I’m proud of how fast she is learning to swim. On our third session she took it upon herself to swim out to the deep end. My mom is a straight five foot tall woman and viscerally afraid of drowning, yet she swam out to the 9 foot deep side of the lap pool this week. I’m proud that my mother, brother, and I have gone swimming three times a week for the past two weeks. My brother used to go to the gym to exercise less than three times a month! Maybe even per year, if we are being completely honest.
You know what would have been much, much, much, much, much easier than all of that? Sitting down to study for one hour every day these past four months. Or doing a dance workout video or an ab workout in my room for 20 to 30 minutes everyday for the past four months. But nope. I’ve been trying to help my family because I feel guilty for having left them for college and the internship for a total of five years and because I feel a sense of responsibility for them. The best thing I’ve done for myself in this time is take a trip with Mariah to visit Sherri and Richard in West Texas back in July.
From Here on Out…
I need to be more selfish. And for that, I need to get out of limbo. One way to do this is to get a job for financial means and in order to have structure in my day. From there I can work on building a study and exercise schedule around it. I’m done trying to have all the free time in the world and expecting to be happy because of that. It’s not working for me, so I’d rather get to work myself.
…or I can mope around for another two months, fail my licensure exam (effectively not becoming a dietitian) and then get a job out of necessity. I suppose time will tell. *shrug
P.S. Time will Tell by Oh My! is a great song. Check it out. 🙂