Armed enough to be dangerous: when knowledge affords the upper hand

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In a recent post—“A new way to approach the New Year…”—I talk about exercising kindness to self by managing my health. Along that vein (pun intended), I donated my blood to science (okay, not exactly) and learned that I share a familial gene mutation. Although my heart sunk when I viewed my results, I did not awaken one day with this disorder; as with my heart defect (BAV), I’ve lived with Factor 5 Leiden every day for 50 <cough cough> something years. I just didn’t expect to see the big fat “F,” so to speak, glaring at me from the online healthcare portal. In non-doctor speak, the diagnosis simply means I may be prone to developing blood clots. But the funny thing: I’m grateful. I am able to arm myself with knowledge about my genetic makeup which, in turn, allows me to exercise better care for my health. Ignorance might be bliss, but it will not save my life.

How do you exercise kindness to self?

The quick fix: the easy way out may not be the best way through

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I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve. Six months ago, my cardiologist and I met to review my lab work and talk about my treatment plan. At that time, he put me on a supplement to help lower my total and LDL cholesterol—a hereditary albatross I’ve carried my entire adult life—with a recheck in three months. I balked at taking the supplement. I know it works (I’ve taken it before with great success), but the side effects can be unpleasant and permanent. Although a quick fix, I chose to abstain. I rescheduled my appointment for six months out and began my mindfulness journey. Today, positive change is reflected in the numbers from my latest blood draw. It would’ve been easy to take the supplement, but it wouldn’t have been the best way for me to claim ownership of my health. More changes await around the corner, but I’m encouraged. Sometimes proof is all we need to push through.

When have you bypassed the quick fix?

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