Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Up for the Challenge

December 15th, I accepted a challenge to go sugar free for a month.  No table sugar, no added sugar to foods, not that I would ever touch artificial sweeteners but none of those either, no honey, stevia or maple syrup, no juices...nada.  Not that I drink, but that's out too, no alcohol.  See how this could be challenging?
Turns out it isn't the gustatory death sentence I thought it would be.  On the contrary, I feel better, more energetic, and I'm loving the challenge of coming up with new recipes.
Also, did you know that coffee is drinkable without sugar??? Who knew!!!
Acceptance of the newest prognosis from the cardiologists took a while.  I went through the gamut of emotions from disbelief, anger (lots of that), despair, loneliness and depression.  So much fun that I decided enough is enough; we'd been through something similar when Cole's cancer diagnosis came in.  Fight is what we did.  We made cancer rue the day it came a knocking.  The war was predetermined, but we did not capitulate or make it easy for disease to win.

I was recommended to use a heart monitor, which I eventually returned because it caused me more stress than anything.  One of the problems it did show is that I've lost the ability to mitigate stress, as my cardiologist put it.  The monitor mistook a 30 minute episode where my heart rate skyrocketed as a form of exercise.  No, it was an aggravating telephone conversation.  Every day had episodes like that-- no wonder I was burning out.  

To add insult to injury, the monitor showed me why I wasn't recuperating at night.  Dangerous roller coaster rides from seriously low heart rates of 20 to 80.  The graphs showed how my heart rate plummets and then, like an alarm goes off in my body, I semi waken and my heart beat rises, then I try to fall back asleep and the whole process starts over again.  Never knew I was so close to dying in my sleep.  I believe data because I have faith in science, so begrudgingly, I accepted to add to my daily pill intake.
The worst enemy is sometimes one's own mind.  Since the realization that the Grim Reaper has been trolling me in my sleep, I've been having restless sleep in spite of the confidence gained by my new pill regiment.  I haven't ever felt so alone as I have recently.  Scared. Panicked sometimes. Abandoned.  Yet, never completely devoid of fight.

This is me fighting.  The twin bed wing added to my King size bed means I can be guaranteed to have all the dogs around me at night.

My reverse version of Cerberus.  Instead of guarding the gates of Hades to make sure souls don't escape.  My Cerberus keeps death form crossing my gates.  Whatever it takes.

The cherry on the icing was to do something I swore I would never do... I brought a TV into my house.  So now if the new transcendental meditation that I'm trying so hard to learn doesn't work, I can flip on a British mystery, calm down and embrace sleep instead of fearing it.

Part of the fight involves further changing my lifestyle.  Part of the reason I embarked on the sugar free challenge was to cleanse my system for a month of sugars to make it easier to enjoy my new low fat, more vegetarian paleo lifestyle.  

Trying to learn to build balanced meals with proper non meat proteins.

Spent a good deal of my vacation time cooking and experimenting.

Ensuring that when I got back to work, I'd have healthy frozen meals for every day.

Tea and anise infused Asian eggs.

Love me some roasted brussel sprouts and poached salmon.  See, I can do this!

Another benefit of the sugar free challenge is that I appreciate fructose more.  Bananas taste like dessert foods now.  Everything is a discovery.

I miss Cole every day, but now I understand why a pest like Dax was sent to me.  I'm on a new path in life and when I lose my resilience and joy, Dax can always be counted on for enthusiasm and sheer pluck.  A new road unfolding and I'm keeping my eye on the little white butt leading the way.

Carry on, Dax, I'm right behind you.


  1. And I'm right behind YOU. You can do this. I never met a person with more determination than you. Lots of ideas, and you actually carry them out where most of us think about it and then take a nap. If and when I find more vegan recipes that I really like I will send them to you. Meanwhile, though I'm sure it's scary, try to remember you're not truly alone.

    1. Thank you! It truly sucked when your warranty expires and you can't simply drop in a new carburetor. When it's obsolete, you gotta find a way to keep it working. I'm feeling much better now, mostly because I have such good friends and family. THANK YOU.