Christian Activities readers may be surprised to know I was inspired to take up walking a decade ago because of my little dog Katy. I realized I was letting her approach old age having lived the life of a couch potato with me. That made me realize my own senior years were not so distant, so we took up walking in Edwin Warner Park.
About five years ago, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I told my doctor I wanted to treat it naturally to see if I could lower it with exercise and eating. The next year when it was high again, I redoubled my efforts to eat better and walk more.
When the Bellevue Center mall closed, I lost my part-time job about the same time I closed the print version of Christian Activities. I no longer had insurance. Then came the Nashville Flood followed by Katy's long illness...and then I discovered I owed TWO YEARS of property taxes, penalities and interest, because my 2010 payment was lost in the mail. In the chaos following the flood, I never noticed that check had not cleared. These events took every last penny of savings and drained my checking account. Although Rodan + Fields, has been a financial blessing, money was pouring out to rebuild my house faster than I could bring it in.
I could no longer afford trips to the doctor, so I began to make more significant changes to my diet and exercise knowing my stress level had gone up, and that was probably effecting my blood pressure. I began drinking much more water, cooking with olive oil, and reading packaged-food labels much more discerningly. I cut back on cholesterol, cut back on sodium, and I took up jogging. I learned some breathing exercises to relax myself during times of stress.
However, whenever I had the opportunity to get a free blood pressure test, my BP was still up there. I had changed my lifestyle and my habits, but I was not able to keep my blood pressure low. I began to pray about it. That should have been step 1, but this is me. I began to pray when I had done everything I knew to do and was out of options.
At the recent full moon hike Sept. 29, I made an off-hand comment to the group photographer about walking to help with high blood pressure. It turned out he was part of a 6-year high cholesterol study to determine whether 120 or 140 is the optimum number to shoot for in controlling BP. By participating in the study, patients get full range of testing (blood work, EKG, urinalysis, kidney function, etc.), all needed medications as prescribed by a leading medical doctor, complete followup, and checkups -- all free for participating in the study -- IF you qualify. I told my new friend this looked like the Hand of Providence so I would check it out.
To qualify, they look for factors like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking, genetics, medical history, alcohol, and many other factors which all have point values. High blood pressure is not enough to qualify for the study. You had to score 200 points or above to get in. Although my BP was high, it did not look like I was going to have enough points to qualify based upon my medical history and lifestyle, but the blood work was not in yet. I prayed again. When the blood work came in, I had scored a 201.
So for the next 4 - 8 years or so, my blood pressure, heart, kidneys and more will be tested, monitored, and treated several times a year for free. My cholesterol levels and triglycerides will be addressed. I will have my first EKG test EVER, and will be actively treating the only health concern I have besides some ongoing back issues.
I sometimes suffer from lack of faith. I question where God is during times of crisis or stress. He rarely makes Himself obvious when, where and how I think He should. But over and over throughout my life, when I least expect it and in ways I never expect, I find He has been opening doors, guiding my footsteps, and putting people in my path to help me when my need is greatest.