The Heart of the Matter

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we won’t always reach a difficult goal on our own. In reality, there may be times when we need to accept some help along the way. This is a lesson I am learning late in life, particularly where my health is concerned.

When I turned 56 earlier this year, I became keenly aware that on my next birthday, I will have outlived my father. Tragically, he died from a massive heart attack a week before his 57th birthday. We will never know his cholesterol levels, but I suspect they would have set off loud alarm bells. Those numbers would have been a strong indicator of his declining heart health.

A Wake-Up Call

The Lord has blessed me with good health, but I am always listening for subtle cues to alert me when something is amiss.

My annual blood work results this year showed that something is different. I brought the report to my cardiologist, and he is seeing a trend in my cholesterol numbers. I now have 12 months to bring my LDL number down on my own, or a prescription will do the job my body is unable to do. The alarm bells are ringing, and I am paying attention. This may be the warning sound that my dad never heard.

No big deal, right? Well, anyone who knows me will tell you that I hate taking prescription medications. I have tried to avoid them my whole life. So, if a doctor offers me an alternative, I will take it every time.

Challenge accepted.

First Steps, Bigger Strides

I have already changed my eating habits significantly, and I am loving the Mediterranean diet. But I will need limit those “cheat” snacks and treats that have become more than occasional. I am exercising 4-5 days each week, but I need to be more consistent. I’ve found several supplements that are recommended for lowering my LDL, so I will add those too.

Will all these changes be enough? Only the Lord knows, and I will pray for His help.

What I am learning as I age, and what I want to share with you, is that I am willing to fight for my health. Of course I don’t enjoy having all kinds of tests, exams and lipid panels done over and over again, but knowing those numbers may save my life.

Trust me when I say that there are people who love you, and they want you to be around for many years to come! So, please don’t wait.

✅ Schedule your physical..
✅ Do the bloodwork.
✅ Get the mammogram, Dexa-scan, PSA test, etc.

It all matters.

For my part, I am trusting that God — and my physicians — will lay out a plan to get my health back on track. Yes, even if it means taking a life-saving medication. But I have to be willing to take that first step, be consistent with my follow-ups, and finish the journey strong.


What’s Cooking?

This time of year I find myself anxious for the change in seasons. For now, the dog days of summer are upon us. The weather has been typical for our area. August is known for its oppressive heat and humidity, punctuated with the occasional severe thunderstorm.

Our lawn is now crunchy underfoot, and we have to water the garden several times a day. It is still producing lots of tomatoes and banana peppers, but little else. The string beans were harvested before our vacation and our Delicata squash have been very small this year. Forty miles west of us, my brother’s garden is producing a bounty of tomatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes. He shared some with us last week. We will be enjoying Caprese salads for days to come! (No complaints here 😉.)

And Speaking of Cooking . . .

Since we are talking about food, I have decided to share more posts in the future about my love for cooking.

I’ve been cooking meals for my family for almost 37 years, but I never really enjoyed it. Cooking was a necessity and a chore, not something I looked forward to doing every day.

After a personal health scare a couple years ago,  my cardiologist recommended the Mediterranean Diet. Actually, it’s not a “diet” like you might think. It’s really a lifestyle! For me, it is all about taking better care of myself and my family, starting with the food we eat.

So, if you will indulge me, I will occasionally share what is on our dinner table, and also offer some tips and tricks I have learned along the way. Who knows? You may even discover that you like to cook too!


Update on Mom

I wanted to give a quick progress report on my mom. I shared two weeks ago that she has a rare form of breast cancer called Paget’s Disease. Last Thursday my brother and I took her for her very first mammogram. We didn’t think it would be successful with her advanced dementia, but her doctor assured us they have experience treating similar patients.

I cannot say enough about the kind and compassionate nurses and technicians at the imaging center at the Winchester Medical Center. They are truly angels! They treated her with dignity and respect, and they were able to get clear test results.

The good news is that there was no calcification detected! The cancer is only on the surface, but will likely spread if not treated. She will have a partial mastectomy on September 5th, which if all goes well, will be an outpatient procedure. Thankfully, no additional treatment should be needed!

We would all greatly appreciate your prayers as we approach the surgery date, and for Mom’s post-surgical recovery.