Friday, November 05, 2010
I used to work for a living, but now my days are mostly occupied with keeping three diseases at bay: inflammatory bowel, Parkinson's, emphysema.
Far from being a burden, this three-headed monster has given me remarkable opportunities, as I've found they can only be tamed by my adopting the kind of lifestyle changes I should have made long ago anyway. By forcing me to change my way of living, the unholy trio has improved my life immensely.
Diet, of course, is a key weapon in neutralizing inflammatory bowel disease, but carries equal significance in adapting to Parkinson's Disease. A lot of people don't know that.
Daily exercise of two kinds, strength and flexibility training, for which yoga is ideal, and cardiovascular workouts, which I get by riding a bicycle, help control Parkinson's symptoms and alleviate the disability brought on by emphysema.
Then there are natural supplements, none of which is covered by any sort of insurance or by Medicare. These include but are not limited to enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins, a fungus, and marijuana. A non-prescription pharmaceutical, the nicotine patch, helps me stay away from cigarettes which would exacerbate the emphysema, and my last remaining prescription drug, the Combivent inhaler, relieves its symptoms.
Plus, all these conditions are mitigated when the sufferer maintains the proper attitude, and ceases thinking of himself or herself as a sufferer and a victim. I'd be trotting out a tired cliché if I said that when life gives you lemons the best thing to do is make lemonade, if I didn't add that you should also squirt your enemies in the eye. The enemies in my case and most likely in yours too are legion, from McDonald's to the American Tobacco Company to the AMA. You may not threaten the existence of any of them, but I've found it's fairly easy to cause their minions some discomfort, and I sleep better at night just knowing they're sleeping worse.
When you add it all up, what choice do I have? I can either do what I'm doing or slide into gradually becoming a whacked-out zombie, like the young ladies in the picture. Zombieism might present opportunities to make lots of money (those two undead bims model for Versace), but I'd rather have my life than cash it out. And today I'm farther from being a zombie than ever before, and most of the people I meet would never guess that I'm anything other than a paragon of optimal health.