The new Tri in my life



I like to think of myself as a relatively fit person. I’ve completed ten races this year, including my first triathlon and three marathons.  I exercise (fairly) regularly, I eat (pretty) right, I don’t smoke, I don’t (hardly ever) drink.

Do I struggle every day? Yes. But for the most part, I’m healthy.

But, you know, as hard as I try to make good, healthy choices, there’s one thing that I don’t have control over, and I never really will.

Never underestimate the power of genetics.

Several years ago, my dad (who was overweight) had his annual physical and they found a problem. His cholesterol and his triglycerides were very high and the doctor pretty much told him that he HAD to lose weight. So my dad did what he needed to do. He cut out sweets, anything with high fructose corn syrup, and started walking every day. The weight just melted off of him. People who hadn’t seen him in a while thought that he was really, really sick because he had lost so much weight.

While he was exercising daily and completely changed the way he ate, that was not enough to bring his triglycerides under control. He went on medication and started taking a daily fish oil pill. Two and a half years after the diagnosis, there were finally back in to the normal range.

He has maintained his weight loss and healthy eating habits and continues to take fish oil supplements to this day, and his triglycerides are still in the normal range.

As soon as he knew what was going on, he got on all six of us kids to go get our bloodwork done. One of my sisters and one of my brothers had elevated triglycerides, too. My bloodwork however was all within normal ranges, and that has been the case for the last two years.

Not so this year. I have officially slipped out of the normal range and into the “borderline high” range. The doctor recommended I limit simple sugars and start taking 3000mg of fish oil pills a day.

This is an awfully long post that really only has one point: don’t assume everything is o.k. just because you have no symptoms, especially if you have a family history of something. It is important that you make yearly doctor visits part of your healthcare routine.

If it weren’t for my dad’s insistance that I have bloodwork done, I never would have done it. I had no symptoms, no evidence at all that something was wrong inside me. And if it weren’t for my yearly check ups, I still wouldn’t know.

If you haven’t been to see a doctor lately, make the appointment as soon as you can. Get the full picture of what’s going on…the sooner the better.

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  • Lisa

    Very good points, Thea!  The only reason I got a physical this year is because I could hear Brooke yelling in my ear to *just do it already* over and over and over : ).  All kinds of bad stuff runs in our family (diabetes, high blood pressure, high chol, cancer, yuck).  Thankfully, the doctor I went to told me I was doing the right things by exercising and keeping my weight in a healthy range.  But yep, I think I will get a physical every single year.  Also, because I turn 40 in 2012 (eek!!!!!), I will start with the mammograms- oh fun!  Actually, I’ve had a mamogram before and yep, NO FUN, ha ha!!!!  

  • Christy_TheSistherhood

    Great post, Thea!! I started having regular blood work done 3 years ago because of family history. It’s always good to get a baseline for everything early. I have a history of ovarian cancer in my family, so I also have an ultrasound of my ovaries every year as well. After my car accident last year, I had a slew of tests done: EEG, EKG, ECG, blood work galore, glucose tolerance, etc. Thankfully they didn’t find anything wrong with me, but I was glad to go through all the tests because I know everything is good with my heart, brain, and blood. I will definitely keep up with my yearly tests, and this year I’ll add a bone density test since we have a history of osteo-arthritis, and other bone disorders.

  • Anonymous

    Lisa, Definitely get that mammogram! Cancer sucks….
    I’m due for an annual and I know they will want to do a full workup on me since it has been a couple of years!
    Glad you got those tests done, Thea!