Wednesday, January 18, 2006


It's been a difficult start to the year for my mom who found out Tuesday that her good friend and former boss now has uterine cancer. They found it by accident when she was having surgery on a polyp on an ovary. They just saw each other on Monday - MLK Day - at a dinner. This is a bit of a surprise since she's been in remission for breast cancer for at least 7 years now.

On New Years Eve, my mom got a call from her sister-in-law to find out that her younger brother was admitted to the hospital after having a heart attack. He was up at 2am that morning with chest pains that he thought was just indigestion. At dinner that night, he just wasn't feeling right and finally explained to his wife (my aunt) his symptoms. She rushed him to the hospital right then.. and had to come back later to pay the bill. My mom was able to call him on the phone beside and talk to him. She said, "If you die on me, I'm gonna have to come down there and kill you myself." This is the uncle I might've mentioned earlier who was in the Vietnam War, but doesn't talk about it at all.

My mom's family is a large bunch with a German background. One reason I try to workout as much as I do is because I've inherited the "Schmitz legs" - the propensity to gain weight in my upper thighs. I've inherited a good set of breeding hips as well. Lucky me. Needless to say, eating healthy wasn't high on their 'to do' list. Growing up, we always had an abundance of fruits and veggies around, but we also had an abundance of Little Debbie snacks (nutty bars and Swiss cake rolls.. mmmmmm). It was a fat test my junior year in college at the start of softball season that was the straw that broke the camels back regarding how I ate. It said my body fat was 31% - give or take 3%. At the time, I was at my leanest ever after a summer of living on rice, corn, and $0.25 granola bars and working out all the time. Sure, it was probably wrong, but I didn't see it that way. When I became a vegetarian almost 5 years ago, my mom thought it was because I didn't like her cooking - not the case. I had a picture of myself after my sophomore year in college at an end-of-the softball season party. I also had my joke gift from coach after my sophomore year that was a beanie turtle and a toy hamburger/sandwich on a stick. I was the turtle and the hamburger on a stick was the 'carrot' to get me to run. Funny, eh? I didn't think so. That was my motivation.. then came the fat test. I've been aware of my health and what I eat ever since. I still have that picture, turtle, and 'carrot'.

I'm hoping the recent health scares of friends and relatives are enough to make my mom really change her lifestyle and eating habits. I've tried to give her advice, but don't want to sound pushy, so I've stopped. Her doctor keeps saying she's a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery, which I'm 100% AGAINST, and I think she is, too. At almost 62 yrs old, it's never too late to start.


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