April 19, 2015

Best Prescription Ever

I adore my medical doctor. She's awesome.
A few years ago, she gave me a prescription to take 24 consecutive hours off of work every week. How great is that? She made an excellent case for the fact that for my overall health this was, in her professional opinion, the most important medical advice she could give me. I haven't followed it religiously, but I have tried. And it's given me permission to pull back or make great work-life decisions when I otherwise might not have done so.

I've been very impressed with her knowledge of me as a person and her ability to give me "medical" advice that helps me justify making smart decisions to manage my stress levels.

After saying hello and settling in to my annual appointment last week, the first thing she asked me was, "What do you do for exercise?" I explained that over the last few years I've settled into a situation where I am committed to 20ish miles minimum per week. I don't care about the pace, but I get them done. I fit in yoga, core, etc. where I can, but the miles are my baseline. (And yes, I need to get back in the studio, on the mat, and generally more balanced, but it hasn't been happening lately, if I'm honest.  I'm working on it.)

She smiled and explained to me that my pulse and bloodwork made it very obvious that I worked out regularly. More importantly, the last few years of bloodwork make it I appear that I have some genetically pre-disposed indicators of potential problems, but the bad data is so minimized by the good data generated by my athleticism, that she gave me the best prescription I've ever received from a doctor:

"So, you *have* to keep up your mileage. It is absolutely protecting you. Today, your risk is significantly lower than average despite what appears to be a genetic pre-disposition towards some risks."

How great is that? My doctor just gave me permission to blow off work for a workout. Or commit to train harder. Or draw good work-life boundaries. Whatever you want to call it.

My doctor rocks.

In other news, this week was mellow. Lots of work. 30.6 miles including quite a bit of walking plus 3 miles in SF with my husband today, on dead legs after a slow sub-12 8 miles on Saturday, wearing my Desi-autographed T-shirt from the NY Mini 10K, much faster than I would have otherwise done. Thanks Rabbit (and I'm hopeful that's a good omen for Desi)!

This coming week brings the BOSTON MARATHON (yeah, I'll be getting up early tomorrow to cheer on Desi, and all the others) book club (Readling Lolita in Tehran), lots of healthy meals, and the SLO half. My latest plan for the half is to take it easy, run the whole thing, but do it nice and easy and enjoy it. 


Angela Knotts said...

For a long time I was worried that my doctors would tell me to limit my running/physical activity because of my heart problem, but they've always been like, "NO! DON'T STOP!" Which is also important because there's a history of heart disease/high blood pressure in my family. Yay doctors who know their stuff!

bt said...

@Angela. Yes. I can't adequately describe how liberating and validating this doctor's appointment was. There's a ton of history in my family of trauma at hospitals (I presume that's most people's general emotional response to the US Medical system). I don't generally think of the doctor's office as a source of good news. This visit was so wonderfully in the opposite vein.

Arvay said...

When I put an axe in my hand once (don't ask), the ER nurse told me I had elevated blood pressure. Ya think?? I wonder if the ER is constantly telling people they have high blood pressure and abnormally high heart rates. :)

bt said...

@Arvay: that story is hilarious!

Cathryn said...

That's incredible that regular exercise, at whatever pace, can actively protect you from inherited risk. Kind of humbling. My husband's family all died of heart attacks at a fairly young age and this encourages me that with exercise and diet, he can break that genetic cycle. Good news, Ms T!!!

Biting Tongue said...

@Cathryn -- agreed. Great news. And, also, an *order* to exercise. My doctor said I have to do it. Yay!

Biting Tongue said...

@Cathryn: BTW, you are correct, to read into her advice to me re: *diet* and exercise being protective against genetic risk factors. I didn't comment on my diet as it appears I'm not super genetically sensitive here, my historic bloodwork has resulted in doctors regularly asking me if I'm vegan (I EAT SO MUCH CHEESE/DAIRY! And I eat red meat at least once a month, sometimes as often as once or twice a week.) This time, she correctly noted that my bloodwork indicates that at a minimum, even if not vegan, I must be a pseudo-vegetarian, which, I guess is correct, I eat ovo-lacto veg 50-80% of the time, fish 20%, and the rest red meat (including pork), but essentially no poultry -- every time you think of someone who has a healthy diet eating lean poultry, I'm either going veg or fish.