How to be a healthy individual

We all generally learn the same things: Eat well, exercise, sleep 8 hours of quality sleep, do not smoke, do not drink amongst other things. Right? Also I have heard to reduce your stress level. I will ask you , what do you believe?

I believe that it is more than just all of the above. Do you ask yourself “ Tell me more, Beth”. Well here we go. I believe all of these things are very positive and agree for the most part. Food and eating is a complex topic. There are so many ideas and beliefs around food. One thing I do know is Europe eats much healthier than most Americans. Our food is made up of chemicals most of the time and our soil is depleted. Chemicals are in our air and soil. Fiber is taken out of our food supply here in America. There are more items we eat in America that are banned in Europe,

How about exercise? What kind of exercise? Are you healthy enough for the type of exercises that you are doing? Do you enjoy the exercise that you are involved with? I believe you should enjoy the type of exercise that you are doing. Dance if you like to dance. Lift weights if you enjoy that or run. However, I also feel that cross training is a wonderful idea too. Especially for kids in sports. It is not a good idea to do one sport all year round. It may produce injury to your child.

What about sleep? Sleep revitalizes us. Good quality sleep, uninterrupted sleep in a quiet, dark, voice free space that is tv free. Your bed should be void of your work space. There is also so much more to say about good quality sleep and I will stop here. 

I think we all know we should not smoke or drink or if you drink in moderation. Some even say a glass of red wine is good for you every day. Go talk to the Europeans.

Now what about stress? Stress is  a part of life. I heard a quote the other day. It is not the stress in your life, It is how you manage the stress. I agree with this quote. 

What else should you know about health?

Your mindset and behavior has so much to do with your health or how you deal with illness and disease. Once I learned I had kidney disease I assumed I would have a poor lifestyle and feel like “shit’ all the time. So I decided years ago when it was my time , I would go on hospice and exit this earth as I perceived it. Then my girlfriend said she wanted to take me to Africa. She said “ Your goal was always to go to Africa so let me take you.” I explained it used to be a goal to do african dancing, african drumming with different groups. Also my mission was to go to Africa to work with the doctors who perform surgery on the women who sit outside of their villages sitting in their own urine due to trauma to their privates. Since I was a physical therapist who worked with pelvic floor issues who knew African dancing from being in an African dance company and also knew African drumming,my dream was to work next to those doctors. 

I tried peritoneal dialysis in hopes I could travel to Africa on this type of dialysis. However I could not tolerate it because it caused too much pain. I did not understand that folks with polycystic kidneys did not always do well on PD because of the size of their kidneys from the cystitis and all the fluid that they had pumped into their body every night. I tried to call the doctor and make a clinic visit on an off clinic day and I was told by a hemodialysis nurse at the dialysis center that that was not a possibility. If I had problems I would have to go through the nurse to communicate with the doctor or go to the emergency room. It was not an option to arrange an appointment or to call him directly. So I quit the next time I saw him telling him how can I partner with you if I can not arrange a visit or call when I am in pain.

The nephrologist’s recommendation was to order hospice at home so the nurses would care for me at home assuming I was transitioning within a few weeks to six months. Well that was not my story. I traveled the world making memories with my two boys and trying to find alternative answers to kidney disease such as the Aruvedic medicine, seeking a ceremony of a Shaman and attempting to get that kidney transplant in India. I would send this nephrologist photos of my climbing mountains around the world like Montu Picchu in Peru. I would ask him “What are you doing today?” I can be a sarcastic person. 

 During that time I learned just how strong I was. My son encouraged me to hike mountains out west that I thought I could not climb at 10% kidney function, do small ropes courses and do ziplines that I said I could never do. We had a ball together with all the trips the boys and I took. Then finally at 4% kidney function one of the boys sat e down and told me I should stay on earth. So I knew I had to change my way of thinking which meant to change my mindset along with my behaviors.

I became the strongest person I knew. By changing my attitude and belief system , I began to reinvent myself. I learned to do all the things I loved to do in life with passion. This included art, dance, being in nature, supporting community and others to heal. I recreated my life and how I lived it. I became a transformational life coach, an artist, a designer of wearable art, wrote two books about my journey with kidney disease and how I transformed myself and my life with both feet planted firmly on the earth. You can find my books on Amazon. I self published. One is Never Say Never Living with Kidney Disease  from Victim to Victorious and the Workbook to accompany the first book.

My life significantly changed not only due to being ordered to go on disability and not work in physical therapy any longer due to all the medications I was on after receiving a non-working kidney transplant that only gave me problems until they removed it in the year of 2020. I kept my spirits up even when I went through hell and back with the nonworking kidney and finally the removal of it due to major complications with that kidney.

Then covid hit after I received the kidney in 2019, only after 9 months of hemodialysis . That changed everyone’s world. I initially thought what a great time to receive a new kidney due to everyone being on lockdown. I had to stay home away from the public for three months anyway due to the surgery and anti rejection medications. 

I learned it was not only all the things listed in the first paragraph of eating well, exercising, sleeping quality, no smoking, no drinking and decreasing stress in your life. It is about your attitude and mindset along with your behavior.

Taking it a step further, I believe in being a spiritual person, who leads a yogic way of life. Yoga has significantly supported me. I used to believe life was about joy and happiness. Now I believe it is about peace and harmony in my life.

I have dealt with a significant amount of depression in my life up until I changed my mindset and outlook on life. I underwent  a significant amount of trauma when i was a child, A counselor told me one time” My parents sacrificed me when I was young.” I believe that statement. Now I have little depression and express some sadness but no longer deep depression. I do however remain on a low dosage of antidepressants. I do not have a strong personal opinion about antidepressants. However I do believe it is not the only answer to depression. 

The same goes for anxiety. I have heard when you are depressed you live in the past and when you have anxiety you live in the future, I practice living in the now and plan for the future.

Originally Published

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