Falling off.

I bored you with my health issues, and then I went away. My apologies.

Since my last entry, I’ve stopped taking blood pressure medication. For me, this is a big deal. I worked really hard at it. Okay, so I worked really hard at it because I thought I was dying, and coming off my bp meds wasn’t the initial goal, but it happened. I’m off. I still have the same problem I had when I decided to drastically change my diet and lifestyle. And I have no guarantee that whatever is hurting my stomach isn’t slowly killing me. But the blood pressure meds are a thing of the past. For now.

For the first time since I was diagnosed with high blood pressure I met a doctor who said he wanted to help me try to figure out why I had high blood pressure. Before him, three of my doctors told me I’d be on meds for the rest of my life. A totally unacceptable answer to a woman in her thirties, I think. It helped that I’d been reading a bunch of health books, and forming an opinion about individual responsibility when it comes to health. For a minute, I wanted to write an article or memoir about it. 

And then (I never said I’m strong when it comes to food), last week my mother-in-law celebrated her 74th birthday and I drank 3 glasses of red wine and ate chocolate cake. I just…seriously, I don’t know what came over me. The wine was really good and our server kept refilling my glass. And dessert was a flourless chocolate cake and, really, just a way to prolong the conversation in a warm restaurant with a view of a lake and 4 swans.

It all went downhill from there. The next day I went on a mini vacation to Newport, Rhode Island with my husband to tour the mansions. I drank wine and ate cookies, dairy and poultry. Oy! (I won’t lie. I feel like crap. But my craving for sugar and alcohol and coffee and things that require heavy cream has tripled since falling off the wagon.)

Newport is really attractive. Unfortunately, they don’t do a great job clearing away ice and snow, so we couldn’t walk the quaint cobblestone streets even though our hotel was in walking distance of everything. We were the only guests in our hotel, which was both terrific and weird. Terrific because it was absolutely silent at night, and weird because you aren’t exactly anonymous when you’re the only guests in a hotel. (Being anonymous on vacation is enormously important to me.) Touring the mansions reminded me just how fascinated I am by “old money” and mansions and servants’ staircases and servants. (Marble House had the best servants’ staircase ever. Maybe I should have been an architect or historian.) We’re already talking about returning to Newport when all of the mansions are open.

(I must admit I’m kind of embarrassed by my fascination with “old money” families because it’s so unoriginal.)

Obviously, I’m back in New York City. I had Godiva chocolate today and white wine. It’s the holidays. Honestly, I think I’m going to indulge through Christmas. The good news is I was craving wheatgrass and juiced kale (with cucumbers and snowpea sprouts) while I was away, so by Wednesday I know I’ll be desperate for health food.

Happy Holidays!

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Crazy Sexy Cancer

crazy-sexy-cancer.jpgI saw an ad for this book in the July 30th issue of Publisher’s Weekly and the title struck me. Crazy Sexy Cancer.

For two months I thought I had cancer. Persistent, intense pain over a two month period is a very bad sign and I’m not particularly relieved doctors haven’t found the cause for it. But we’ve ruled out certain cancers I’m terrified of. When I thought they were possibilities, I turned to juicing and I made a plan. I would begin to practice yoga and meditation, I would visit an accupuncturist, I would join a cancer support group, I would become macrobiotic. And I’d buy Kris Carr’s book, Crazy Sexy Cancer.

Even after Tuesday’s colonoscopy, the last of the big cancers I wanted to rule out, I kept the ad for Crazy Sexy Cancer. Yesterday, I finally checked out the website. On the first page there’s a wonderful picture of Ms. Carr standing underneath a quote: Why, when we are challenged to survive, do we give ourselves permission to truly live?

Why, indeed.

When I thought we were going to find something wrong, I started planning. Not just for yoga classes and accupuncture sessions. I started planning trips we’d take to places we haven’t been able to go because I don’t like airplanes. I started making mental notes of the books I want to read and the movies I want to see before I die. I decided I’d answer emails. And I’d visit people I haven’t seen in ages and go for long walks in order to appreciate this city. And then the doctor said my colon was clean and, as far as he’s concerned, cancer isn’t the cause of my pain. I went home and promised myself I’d still follow my plan. Because, here’s the thing: I don’t want cancer to be the reason I decide to take control of my life, body, health.

At Kris Carr’s website, there’s a 7 minute trailer for the documentary she filmed after she received her diagnosis and began her journey. The trailer’s awesome – heartwrenching and inspiring. I cried. And then I ordered her book.

Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips

Actress and photographer Kris Carr thought she had a hangover, but a Jivamukti yoga class didn’t provide its usual kick-ass cure. A visit to her doctor confirmed her “liver looked like Swiss cheese,” covered with cancerous tumors. She entered trench warfare (wearing cowboy boots into the MRI machine, no less), vowing, “Cancer needed a makeover and I was just the gal to do it!” She began writing and filming her journey, documenting her interactions with friends, doctors, alternative “quacks,” blind dates, and other women with cancer—sadly a growing group. These include hip, young women such as illustrator-author Marisa Acocella Marchetto (Cancer Vixen), Glamour writer-editor Erin Zammett (My So-Called Normal Life), MTV personality Diem Brown (Real World/Road Rules Challenge), model Sharon Blynn (founder, Bald Is Beautiful), and music manager Jackie Farry, among others.
 
The Learning Channel is broadcasting the premiere of Carr’s unforgettable documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer on August 29, 2007 @ 9:00-11:00pm (ET/PT).

CRAZY SEXY CANCER TIPS gathers the lessons learned and advice offered from Carr’s own journey, as well as the experiences of her cancer posse. Full-color photos accompany personal stories and candid revelations in this scrapbook of advice, warnings, and resources for the cancer patient. Chapters cover your changing social life, dating, sex, and appearance; essential health tips on how to boost your immune system; recipes; medical and holistic resources; and information on young survivor support groups. The resulting book is a warm, yet informative tool for any woman newly diagnosed with the disease and for those who love them.