By Mary Cucarola – 7/16/22

Opportunity seldom rises with blood pressure” ~Jarod Kintz

If there is one thing I’ve learned in my life (mostly the hard way), it is that freaking out about things does not work.  Stress is a fact of life, but being stressed, feeling stressed, and freaking out in response to stress is a choice.

I’ve never changed an outcome by stressing myself out over it.  More than likely, I made it worse and the people around me miserable.

Opportunity seldom rises with blood pressure. 

I like this quote because I was diagnosed with high blood pressure in November of last year. I was totally surprised by it – caught it in an appointment with a naturopathic doctor in Boulder.  If it hadn’t been for her checking my bloodwork in assessing my risk for taking BHRT, I would have never known until I had symptoms later in my life.

Like it is said, heart disease is a silent killer and so is stress, and I’ve had my share of it for sure.  Stress and disease go hand-in-hand according to the medical experts.  Scary stuff.

I don’t like to take prescription medications, so I have been trying to do things to reduce my blood pressure and lower the inflammation in my body naturally.  It has not been easy for me to change my diet or get six days of exercise every week. I like good food, mostly Italian and Mexican – salt, carbs and fats.  It stresses me out daily knowing I can’t get off these medications until I make drastic changes in my diet and exercise more.

I’d like to take this stress and kick it to the curb and eat everything I want, but to what end?

Now, I have known gut-wrenching stress and anxiety in my life. The stress of dealing with an addicted loved one is like no other – it is intense and endless.  Especially when it is your own child.  You would think this new stressor of mine would feel miniscule in comparison.  It doesn’t.  It overwhelms me for some reason.  I think it scares me I may have heart disease.

It runs in my family, just like addiction.

The difference in this stressor is that it is under my control, whereas my son’s addiction was not.  I can take immediate actions to combat high blood pressure and inflammation in my body if I want.  Unfortunately, I let it get out of control, and belly fat found me before Covid did.  Not sure which one is worse, but probably the belly fat for me.  I can’t blame it on anyone else but myself.

I don’t have to let stress or anxiety overwhelm me.  I need to calm down and trust the process.  I know what I have to do, and the lifestyle changes are not going to happen overnight.

It reminds me of what people who struggle with addiction have to do – take it one day at a time and trust the process of recovery.  They need to maintain their new perspective and resist the temptation to succumb to their disease.  It is a daily challenge and their sobriety must be first and foremost.

I need to do the same.  Put my heart health first and foremost.  Put myself first and face up to the challenge.  It’s a choice and an opportunity for growth.

This may be an outcome I do have control over.  To calm down and trust the process of a healthy lifestyle.

Mary Cucarola – 7/16/22

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