All I Wanted For Christmas

I’ll never forget the night that I finally accepted that I had to change my mind, and my habits, if I hoped to live my life in good health.

It was Christmas Eve 1998. My husband and I were alone in the waiting room at the hematologist’s office (which happened to be inside a cancer center). We had been married for 18 months, and in that time, I had lost my mother to ovarian cancer, and I had been seriously injured in a car crash.

My bones and organs had healed in the months since the crash, and I looked “normal”, but I didn’t feel like myself. At my check-up in November, my internist discovered abnormalities with both my white, and red, blood cells. He didn’t know what caused it, and thought it best to wait a few weeks, and repeat the test.

December arrived, and I was tested again. My levels were still skewed, so I went to a hematologist for more testing.

By the third week in December, I was really anxious for a diagnosis, so the doctor agreed to work us in on Christmas Eve at 4:30 PM. My new hubby left work early to join me at the appointment. We sat in silence in the lobby, as we waited to be called back, to hear the results of the third round of blood tests.

The waiting made me feel powerless and desperate. Did I have leukemia–the kind my mother had battled in her thirties? Had I contracted HIV from the blood transfusions I received after the car crash? What kind of life would I have with my new husband, if I was not in good health?

All I wanted for Christmas was to be healthy.

The nurse finally appeared, and ushered us back to the office. The news was surprising, but good: my blood levels had returned to normal. Whatever the problem was, it had resolved itself on its own, and I was going to be fine.

It was the best Christmas gift ever, but the experience left me feeling vulnerable. At 27 years old, my health had been seriously threatened not once, but twice in the same year. I never wanted to feel that way again.

It was time to make getting healthy a top priority. No more procrastinating…I needed to let go of the way I had always done things, so that I could finally have the life I desired. It wasn’t easy (it actually felt a lot like pushing a boulder up a hill) but I knew it was the best way to stay out of the doctor’s office.

Recognizing and releasing my attachments–to caffeine, junk food, and convenience–was the first, and most powerful step in getting healthy. In 1999, I resolved to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, practice yoga, and stop eating and drinking things that weren’t really food.

It was few months before I noticed results, but over time I became stronger and happier than ever before. Releasing attachments fueled more changes in the years that followed, and I discovered that there is freedom in getting healthy. And nothing feels better than that.

This is just one of many poignant stories from my 20 year journey to sustainable wellness. I will share more insights from my adventures in future posts, so please follow along, and let me know how I can best help you find a crazy healthy life of your own.

quote-joseph-campbell

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