Am I really living Happy & Healthy?

As you read some of my posts, you may actually wonder why I named my blog “Happy and Healthy Living”, when I talk so much about my illnesses and depression. So let’s talk about that.

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Believe it or not, I’m in a much better place with my depression now, than I have been in the past. My health, though still not great, is better than it has been in recent years. I started my blog with hopes that anyone reading it might find similarities to what they might be facing. Someone might find some hope in seeing what I’ve been through. There is light at the other end of the tunnel. We’re all in this thing called life together, and I find peace and happiness in offering encouragement or help any way that I can.

A few of my major health problems:

First, let’s talk about most of my major health issues, other than the few I’ve touched on in other posts.

  • Twelve years ago I was diagnosed with diabetes and shortly after that, I had a minor heart attack. This was when I first had to change my eating habits, and try to cut down on working so many hours as a nurse. I said ‘try’ to cut down on working. It didn’t really happen. This was also the year my only niece was diagnosed with leukemia. At the end of that year, my niece passed away and 6 months later we lost my daddy suddenly to a massive heart attack.
  • Seven years ago, I suffered my first massive heart attack, with alarmingly high triglycerides. One side of my heart had 99% blockage, while the other side was 100% blocked off. Only by the grace of God did I survive, and did not require heart surgery, but only needed angioplasty with stent placements. This was followed by stricter diet changes, more insulin and other meds to try and control the blood sugar and cholesterol. I was no longer able to work. I was forced into early retirement and on to disability at the age of 50. Depression became worse because I was so passionate about my career.
  • The following December, almost a year later to the day, I suffered another massive heart attack, fortunate again to not need surgery. Another angioplasty with stent placement, followed by more attempts to lose weight while getting my blood sugar and cholesterol under control.
  • Five years ago, again in December, I had a major stroke, fortunately, the only lasting effects of this stroke is that I have some weakness in my left hand. If I get extremely tired my left leg will drag a little and the left side of my face will start to droop. I have to concentrate to keep the left side of my smile ‘up’ in pictures of it can be noticed at times. Otherwise, I came out none-the-worse after the stroke, which was very unusual considering the blockage that was found in my carotid artery when surgery was performed to remove it.
  • Now, for about a year, I have finally been losing weight, but once I started losing, now I haven’t stopped. I’d like to say it was all hard-work and will power paid off, but apparently something else health-related is going on. The doctors have discovered that I am iron-deficient anemic, meaning my body is not absorbing iron and cannot produce new red blood cells. It’s not that I don’t eat enough iron-rich foods, because even when I take iron supplements my body does not absorb the iron or use it properly. I’ve been going and getting iron infusions through IV therapy, and even with this method, my body is not keeping enough iron. So I’m currently going through more testing, mainly on my digestive tract. Hoping to find out more soon.
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So, there you have it, the big picture in a shortened version. Those are the main points, rather the highlights. There have been many other smaller issues along the way, but no need to bore you with all the minor details.

For three years in a row, I was in the hospital every December, one year sitting in the hospital I woke up to my brother singing that old Merle Haggard song, “If we make it through December”, yeah, my brother tries to be funny when he’s nervous. He’s sweet and loving in his own rugged way. So the next December, as I was doing better, my youngest daughter threw us for a loop and SHE ended up in the hospital, in ICU for 14 days. She’s also diabetic and that year we found out she now also has chronic pancreatitis.

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Again you must ask,

How can I say I’m living ‘Happy & Healthy’? Because I’ve learned to make the best of each day that I’m given here on earth. Because I’ve learned to live with the conditions that I have, the diseases and their symptoms. I’ve learned to eat better, cope better and generally take better care of myself. I’ve learned to be happy with what I do have, and not unhappy while longing for what I don’t have. Being happy is a choice. Actually being healthy is a choice up to a certain point also. You can make choices every day to be as healthy as possible. Make wise choices and improve your chances of staying as healthy as possible.

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My daily list of Happy Choices:

  1. Each day find at least 3 things to be grateful for in your life.
  2. Also, find at least 3 things that make you happy.
  3. Smile! Really SMILE, when you see people and even when talking on the phone, put a smile on your face!
  4. Reach out to at least 3 people each day to just say hello or say you were thinking about them.
  5. Pet an animal, especially a dog, cat or horse, and watch their tails or eyes, it’s their way of smiling back!
  6. The most important one for me! Give a child a compliment or words of encouragement. It will do your heart good, and will last that child a lifetime! And while you’re at it, give the parent a pat on the back too! Parenting is a rough job!
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My daily list of Healthy Choices:

  1. Eat the salad! It really does taste good! 🙂
  2. Talk a walk, get outside and breath fresh air.
  3. Take a nap! My favorite! you’re body needs it or you wouldn’t want it.
  4. Go to lunch with a friend. Don’t always eat alone. Don’t eat fast, slow down and actually taste your food.
  5. Cut out extra sugar, flour, and carbs! your body doesn’t need them!
  6. Drink more water!!
  7. Learn to say NO when you really don’t feel like doing something you are being asked to do for others. It’s ok to put yourself first sometimes.
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To answer the big question,

Yes, I am living Happier & Healthier than I have in years! I still have health problems. I still battle with depression. But I have so much more to be grateful for now!!! I have, and still, am learning to cope with my health issues. I’m learning to cope with my depression. I deal with my fibromyalgia pain and flare-ups. I’ve learned to just say NO when I don’t feel up to going out with friends or doing things that I know will be too much for me. I still feel guilty at times for saying no, but I also know it’s better for my health, so I take those naps, I don’t eat the ‘bad’ foods and I make those doctor appointments no matter how tired I get of seeing doctors all the time.

Because I have three wonderful adult children, all with spouses that are loving, perfect matches for each of them. My daughters keep close tabs on me daily to make sure I’m doing what the doctors ordered!

I also have three of the most precious grandkids that will ever walk this earth! I know, every grandmother says this about their grandkids. ha-ha Mine are simply my world, my reason for smiling, laughing and wanting to get up and really live life. I don’t want to just breath and get through another day. I want to enjoy life with my kids and grandkids every day! So yes, I’m living as Happy & Healthy as possible every single day! Are you?

Remember, just one day at a time. It is what it is, so make the most of it! Leave me a comment, tell me what helps you stay positive! Let me know how you get through the rough times. Please subscribe and/or follow me to know when new information is posted! Thanks for reading.

Until next time,

Sharon

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