Thursday, 17 June 2010

A shot across the bows

This picture shows me and Harrison Mungai of iServe Africa at Carura Church in Nairobi in May 2009. I think it says it all about my need to change, at least physically.

A week ago, I announced that it was the start of the rest of my life, and I would be endeavouring to change. Boy, was that a prediction! I soldiered on for a few days, trying to lose weight (lost a pound, so was feeling OK about that) writing and lamenting the lack of time to do so. I dearly wished I could have more time to me.

Well, you should be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it.

Tuesday of this week, I had some pains in my chest and side. I thought I had twisted it, or eaten something that disagreed with me. I took things easy and waited for the pain to go away.

Throughout the day, it came and went. Each time it came back it got stronger. I went to bed with ibuprofen and hoped to sleep it off.

No such luck. By 3.30am, I was in agony. Nothing I did would make the pain go away. I felt like someone was crushing my chest under heavy rocks at the same time as stabbing me, hard. I wondered whether to call the out-of-hours doctor. Being me, I decided not to waste his time.

8.15am, I called my GP's surgery. I explained my symptoms to a very unsympathetic and dismissive receptionist, who said the duty doctor would phone me. I gave my mobile number and went to work. Although fat lot of use I was there. I couldn't concentrate, I was tired, ill and in pain.

The doctor phoned and I explained my symptoms. Within ten minutes, an ambulance was outside my workplace, and I was carted away, feeling very foolish and a bit of a fraud. When they discovered this was just indigestion, they were all going to be rather cross with me.

Only it wasn't indigestion. It was my heart. And I am a very lucky lady. Not only am I still alive, but there is no actual damage to the heart muscle. I have the chance to get better.

So, that diet I was sort of kind of doing has become imperative. That one pound a week I was sort of kind of aiming for losing has now become a minimum target. I've cut out cakes and chocolate, sugar and unnecessary fats and salt. I'm taking gentle exercise, and resting when I need to do so. No more alcohol - not that I drank more than a few times a year anyway. Lucky for me, I have never smoked.

My father died of heart disease aged 59. I don't want to join him. I want to see my grandchildren grow up, and reach my goals, attain my dreams. All of which rely on me making sure this warning shot across the bows is heeded.

On the plus side, I am now going to get some time to me, to write. I'm not expected to do so much, I'm not expected to run ragged after my family and friends, I've even got a few days off work. So no cloud is completely without a silver lining.

I just would have liked the lining without the storm cloud, thank you very much.

Watch this space, as I go from death's doorway to fit and healthy in the shortest possible route.


Barbara Elsborg said...

Good luck, Hilary!! I know its not easy to lose weight but I'm sure you'll do it. Exercise is the key - walk and walk and walk - once you're better again or course. We are not in the best of professions as far as exercise is concerned. Too easy to just sit all day and eat while we write - assuming you're not working another job. But all my love for a speedy recovery and slim future - body wise!!

Hilary said...

Thanks Barbara. I have lost two stone since I wrote this post, and am feeling better for it. I've started walking more, and other exercise, eating better, and yay! I am writing again. I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and not think it's an oncoming train.

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