Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Road to Cleanse (a preface)

I can tell you how this nonsense started- so follow me on my crooked path to cleansing!

Earlier this year, my wonderful primary care physician took a new job across town. Rather than stick with her, I took my cardiologist's suggestion and sought out a practice closer to where I live and work.  Happily, the suggestion had an opening (for me & Brian) and jumped at it.  Because of my colorful medical history, I set up a "meet and greet" appointment with my new doc. My one nagging concern was that I didn't want to have a doctor that treated me like their personal science project/side-show freak.  There have been a few time since my heart attack where I've actually seen a medical professional's eyes light up as they reviewed my chart..... and I really want a primary care doc whose sole purpose is to treat me for the flu and see me once or twice a year.  Brian, who was stricken with mono during the late summer/early fall, got in to see him first.  To my husband, our new doctor was nothing of note - he did a good job, ran the appropriate tests and sent him home with instructions to take it easy. 

The day of my meet and greet, I was having a typical manic-mama morning.  Getting myself and Cameron out the door was shaping up to be an enormous task and I was the first office appt. of the day.  So I threw on the first hanging dress I grabbed (to avoid time wasted ironing), microwaved a Morningstar breakfast bun and made sure to stop at Russell's for my regular 8 oz. of Kaldi's coffee. When I climbed out of the car to drop Cam at daycare, I realized that I hadn't shaved my legs.  Oh well, I thought.  I only have two meetings today - it's not like anyone will notice my legs behind my desk or under the table at lunch. And on to my doctor's appt. I went.

Upon arriving at the office, I sipped on my coffee as I filled out my new patient paperwork.  A nurse called my name and I headed back to be weighed/measured/poked/prodded.  "101!" she proclaimed, rolling her eyes and muttering tiny thing under her breath.

I paused. 101.....?!?!?!?!?!  Yes, this is a small number.  Yes, I am a "tiny thing".  But the reality of this small number hit me hard - since moving out of my home in July, I had gained weight. Approximately 5% of my total weight.  I knew that I hadn't had the time to exercise as much as usual or cook as much as I'd like - but I tried to make up for these realities with purposeful food choices throughout the day, longer workouts when I made it to the gym and more activity in the work day. It was clear that I already knew what worked for me and what didn't.  And, I was upset with myself and knew that, for my sanity and my health, needed to get my heart healthy lifestyle back on track.

I sat in the exam room, swigging my coffee and playing on my iPhone.  In came the intern.  He sat down, pulled out his laptop and prepared to get a verbal account of my medical history.  I wondered how far along he was in his training and if he'd choose general practice for his career.  I put my coffee cup down and put my phone away.  The intern turned towards me and introduced himself - Hello, Rachel. I'm Dr. XXXXXXXX.

For the second time that morning, I paused.  The intern -this kid with spiky frat boy hair and sideburns - was not an intern at all.  He was my new doctor.  As I suspected (and what stalkerish googling confirmed) was that my new doctor was also younger than me. How in the world did Brian fail to mention that our new primary doctor was a fresh faced 20-something year old who looked like someone we'd have a beer with?!!!!!  I suppose that's something men don't really pay attention to.....

Dr. X started the physical exam.... and I started cringing.  Oh my god, he's touching my hairy legs. Why didn't I shave?? Oh no - he's sticking that tongue depressor in my mouth and I have the worst coffee breath.   And then, happily, logic and sanity regained control.  He was wonderful. He listened intently to my history, asked pertinent questions and explained everything he was doing.  I was not a science experiment or the side-show freak. I was a patient who needed to get her flu shot before she left the office. So, in the end, Dr. X is stuck with me because he is a good doctor.

I made it to my car before I started laughing out loud and texting friends.  But, a storm cloud loomed over my head - how am I going to get back on track?? It's not like I've been eating donuts and copious amounts of cheese.  As I've shared in the past, it's been a struggle to keep a heart healthy focus over the last few months - when the serendipitous moments arrived, they were perfect.  However, more often that not, quick and convenient slide in to replace fresh and health.  How unfortunate and silly it is, to live in a time where it is easy and convenient to treat your body badly.

I arrived at work and in a passing conversation about some looming deadlines the frenzied timeline ahead, my boss noted "I feel a cleanse coming on."  Over the last year that I've known her, she's undertaken a 21 day detox/reset cleanse twice.  It's not about losing weight - just about getting focused, channeling your body's energy, treating your body well and getting back on track (if you've derailed).  I always thought it was craziness - mostly because I didn't understand the diet suggestions and because, really, I thought I'd be a sad shell of myself without the treat of coffee and wine (8 and 5 ounces respectively).  As she explained the process to me and as I asked others in my daily scope of interaction to weigh in, I realized this could be a wonderful way to get my personal heart healthiness back on the track I want to be on, to celebrate moving into our new home, and to prepare for the inevitable eating extravaganza that comes with the holiday season.

So - cheers to 21 days without meat, dairy, caffeine, alcohol or anything processed.  I'm sure that when my cleanse ends (on Thanksgiving Day) I will be thankful for EVERYTHING in my life, especially the opportunity I made to take care of myself.

"Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing." - William James


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