You Can’t Win for Losing

Thanks to the miracle of the web, and some remarkably fast testing, I'm happy to report that other than slightly elevated blood pressure and slightly elevated cholesterol, neither of which is high enough to require medication, I'm in pretty good shape.

The doctor suggested that I start an aspirin-a-day regime and continue to try to reduce my cholesterol. I'm wondering just what it would take to do that since I've lost over twenty pounds since last year and replaced some of that fat with lean muscle. Weighing 180 pounds at six foot doesn't leave too much more fat to get rid of.

I'm already exercising well over ten hours a week and find I sometimes have to cut back on activities because of soreness in my knees or my feet. I haven't entirely sworn off meat, but I've cut back considerably and don't really want to become a vegetarian.

I'd hoped to lose a little more weight, but apparently I'm getting more synthroid than I need now, and the doctor is cutting that back. On the positive side, that might make me a little mellower since too much synthroid definitely makes me hyper. On the negative side, it will be easier to gain weight since synthroid affects your metabolism.

Still, perhaps the most frightening medical advice I've heard from a physician lately is the doctor who said that although I have had three different kinds of cancer, I also seem to have a resistance that keeps it from spending, and considering how good of shape I'm in I could live to be 90.

Crap! I doubt I have the finances to live that long, particularly if medical costs continue to escalate while my pension shrinks in value every year.

Worse yet, if I'm going to live that long I am going to have to reconsider what I want to do with my life. I'm not sure that going to the Y three times a week, walking through the woods taking pictures and occasionally posting a poetry entry is going to be enough to sustain me.

Still, past experiences with cancer have convinced me that it's foolish to spend too much of today worrying about a tomorrow that may never come. I'm not going to spend my money like there's no tomorrow, but I hope my kids don't expect to be left much but good memories.

11 thoughts on “You Can’t Win for Losing

  1. Loren,

    I’m not a food fascist but something you might want to consider with respect to both joint discomfort and possibly cholesterol (though almost certainly artery health in general) is fish oil or other sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. I take about 4 grams a day, plus I eat a fair amount of tuna. Though you have to kind of be careful about the tuna because of mercury. You just don’t want to go overboard with it.

    I believe strength or resistance training has been correlated with cholesterol reduction. I don’t think you necessarily need to be pumping iron, but something in addition to Pilates might be worthwhile, if it’s only extra push-ups.

    And limit the refined carbohydrates.

    Just a thought or two. I’m not a doctor, but it’s kind of the direction I’m going in and it seems to be working. YMMV, etc.

  2. I’m glad to hear your good report, Loren, and that you’re taking care of your health. You’ve given much that’s good and beautiful to all who visit your site. In kindness, let me say that if you haven’t done so, you might want to say a prayer of thanks for all you have; maybe spend a little time over these remaining years praying that you and all your loved ones will go to heaven.

    I love this poem by Levertov:

    Reflection on the Incarnation

    It’s when we face for a moment
    the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
    the taint in our own selves, that awe
    cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart:
    not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
    to no innocent form
    but to this creature vainly sure
    it and no other is god-like, God
    (out of compassion for our
    ugly failure to evolve) entrusts
    as guest, as brother,
    the Word.

  3. I think you need to quit goofing off and get a real job. Maybe try being a caseworker or teach high school English. If you live to be 90, you’ll run out of social security 20 years before you die.
    That means you’ll be picking on the Bush administration for another 20 years for using up your birthright, irking most of the Third World and allowing the oil companies to destroy most of the bird habitat in Alaska so they can dig up fossil fuel for their tanks in order to invade Egypt. Wouldn’t you rather be a hapless consumer again, buy furniture, take long walks in malls?

  4. Thanks for the advice, Dave. I already started taking the fish oils, though that I just started that.

    I was regularly using weight machines last winter but stopped in the summer in order to do more walking. I’ll try to get back to it now that the winter rains have returned.

  5. Hi Loren,

    “Still, past experiences with cancer have convinced me that it’s foolish to spend too much of today worrying about a tomorrow that may never come.”

    This is particularly good advice but often difficult to follow. On that same note, consider some of the following links (of which, I have no vested interest). Sorry for the long links. I wasn’t sure if your blog accepts ubb codes and so I didn’t attempt to truncate them.

    http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2007/10/junkfood-science-exclusive-big-one.html

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=i8SSCNaaDcE#GU5U2spHI_4

    http://discovermagazine.com/2005/jun/discover-dialogue

    I also apologize if these types of things are best kept to private emailing.

    Glad to hear you are well.

  6. I don’t have an upside cholesterol problem, but
    in spite of what most doctors and related
    government sites believe, my cholesterol
    may be too low. The body needs fats too.
    Many people in Greece consume two tablespoons
    of olive oil each day, and have fewer heart
    ailments because of it; but one needs to get
    high grade olive oil and mix it with solid foods.
    I can’t take it straight. It burns my throat.
    Olive oil has omega-6.
    As to aspirin and the like, such substances tend
    to both thin the blood and irritate the stomach.
    I don’t use aspirin, and I wouldn’t use drugs
    meant to lower cholesterol either.
    I do use flaxseed oil softgels.
    I do eat fish two days out of every nine:
    sardines one day and light tuna the next.
    Given your weight and height, you should be okay.

  7. I was a vegetarian for more than 20 years. About two years ago I started eating fish and taking fish oil supplements for health reasons. One of the side effects (and benefits) was that the near-constant aches in my knees (esp. the right one), and hips diminished or disappeared. (In other words, no hip pains and only occasional knee pains.) I’d just lived with them for many years, thinking they were an inevitable part of getting older. Part of me still struggles with the fact that I’m not a vegetarian any more, but another part of me is glad not to have to live with aches. I hope you have the same luck with your fish oil supplements that I did.

  8. Regarding cholesterol levels: In spite of what most
    doctors and related government sites say, levels
    above 200 may not be dangerous. My levels may in
    fact be too low.
    Fish oil is good, but I don’t use it. Every 2 days
    out of each 9/ I eat sardines the first day and
    a small can of tuna (usually with a can of cold
    peas and a tablespoon of olive oil) the next day.
    I eat all the food I have at home cold. This was
    the result of learning that epileptics should not
    expose themselves to heat that could be dangerous.
    They also should not use sharp knives.
    Olive oil has omega-9, which does not interfere with
    the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 in the body.
    Two tablespoons of olive oil each day is optimum,
    but a high quality extra virgin brand which is then
    kept in a cool dark place and is used with cold
    foods only is best. I don’t use two tablespoons
    daily, and I found it burns my throat if I try to
    comsume it without some solid food.
    I do take at least 1 1000mg flaxseed softgel daily.
    Aspirin and the like I do not take because they
    tend to thin the blood and irritate the stomach.
    Plan to have my leptin and insulin levels checked,
    and also my sodium, potassium, and magnesium levels.
    Have stopped eating chocolate. I was allergic to it
    when a was young. This is a self-test.
    I do not favor getting a flu shot, but I do not
    think I could use the natural alternatives.
    Given your weight and height, you are probably okay.

    I “love” the preview box your system has.
    Have a pleasant Veteran’s Day.

What do you think?