WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO ME?
I’m going to mimic Dr. Waipa for a bit and share my vulnerability with you. Almost two years ago, someone very close to me was diagnosed with cancer. Yep, the “C” word that everyone hates to hear. We found out over the holidays in 2018 and to make matters worse, I was on my oncology rotation (cancer rotation) at the time. Double whammy. If this has happened to you, you know what it feels like when you hear the “C” word. It’s devastating. Now, I won’t go into the details, but I want you to know that if this has happened to you, you’re not alone. Thankfully, after six cycles of chemotherapy that person is now over 1.5 years in remission. Yay! I feel extremely blessed.
But I must admit that sadly, it took something that drastic to make me really think about how I was taking care of myself. I didn’t want to take my health for granted anymore. After all, I’m a doctor. We preach health, so we should be healthy, right? I mean, I tell patients to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables and to exercise throughout the week. But what was I doing?
This was my exact lifestyle up until that point of finding out about the “C” word: I worked 80-hour work weeks, skipped meals because I was too busy, ate cookies, donuts, chips, candy, or whatever snacks I found in the workroom, slept horribly because of my work schedule, and then rarely worked out (there was no free time!). Fruits and vegetables were hardly ever on my plate. If there was an excuse, I found it. Yes, it was horrible, and I was definitely NOT a good role model for healthy living.
I really started to look at what I was putting into my body and again realized I needed to make a change. I know I can’t control everything that might happen as far as future diseases, but I can make small changes that will benefit me in the long run.
When thinking about what changes I could make, I knew I couldn’t control my work hours or sleep deprivation that came with residency. However, the one thing I could control was my eating habits. I made a goal for myself to get away from the word diet and turned it into a lifestyle change. I’m writing this to you one year after starting my lifestyle change.