WARNING: This blog post is long and about to get personal and potentially TMI. If you don't want to read about my health problems, just hit the back button in your browser, I won't take any offense! I promise future blog posts won't be so "in-depth".
Recently, however, I've rekindled the idea of blogging, but with a different purpose. You see, this semester has been one of ups and downs, mostly because of my health. I'd been having pains in my abdomen that had been present for a while but were dull and sparse enough for me to overlook them, especially living in a foreign country where I have no health insurance, but they became bad enough early this semester that I'd been forced to go to the local hospital for a diagnosis. (So you don't worry, because I know I'll get messages: No surgery was required, it was more of a diagnostic visit where the doc poked around and ordered some tests including a blood draw and sonogram.)
Unfortunately, the diagnosis I received left a lot to be desired.
Upon the initial visit, we were led by my symptoms to believe that I either had gastritis or gallbladder problems. Long story short, neither of those were the case. My doctor said that because of my history of (largely stress-induced) Irritable Bowel Syndrome otherwise known as IBS, it's likely that the stress of living in a foreign country and whatnot is likely the culprit, gave me some meds and sent me on my way, and told me to come back if it got worse. Which so far, hasn't been necessary, but the pain hasn't exactly gone away. I wondered, could the doctor be wrong? I trust him to do his job of course, but it worried me that this was a symptom I'd never experienced before, where most of my symptoms from IBS have been pretty consistent since I was diagnosed many years ago.
So, I decided to change potential contributing factors. Having a degree in health promotion and education, I would say my diet was so-so: I enjoy eating fruits and veggies but coming to Taiwan was certainly an exercise in not indulging my desires. Desserts and fried food are my usual enemies, and they are plentiful, especially in a student-populated area such as mine. Additionally, I knew I could up my physical activity. Thankfully, I'm required to walk pretty much everywhere I go, but I wanted to raise the bar for myself.
Enter the last 2 months. I wanted to see how far my body can take me and how good I can be to it. But in order to see my progress, I had to see where I was at the time. I'd lived my entire life between being just about sedentary or lightly active, with more digestive issues than you can shake a stick at. I started at 175 lbs. (79 kg for my friends outside the US), with relatively decent health, but often tired, anxiety-ridden, and perhaps indulged myself a few times too often. I'd been slowly improving all of the above on my own since I'd started my education in health, but this was the last kick in the butt I needed to really jump start the life I honestly never really knew I wanted so badly.
What did I do? Well honestly, it might sound like common sense, especially to those who've already gone through such a health ordeal and to my Public Health friends and prior colleagues, but my goal in writing this is to share my life with those I'm apart from, and to help those who might need guidance or inspiration of their own.
I feel I still have a long way to go though. I have a lot more to explore about my body and health, and I have a lot of goals I'd like to accomplish outside of those realms, so that brings me to the reason I want to revisit this blogging idea: so I can essentially publicly reflect on my experience and hope that it may help others. Additionally, I'll still give you guys the highlights from my travel--stuff I haven't posted on Facebook, and basically make this a diary as well. I hope you'll join me for the ride!
Blog Posts Coming Soon
- My Health Vision, inspired by Robin Long's post from The Balanced Life
- Eating Healthy in Taiwan: Challenges and Triumphs
- A Slice of Life, about what the hell I've been doing here in Taiwan for the past year!
- 9 Days in Korea, as I'm heading there at the end of this week to renew my visa and for a little travel, of course!
Anything else you guys are interested in reading about, either about Taiwan, my life, or health in general? Leave me a comment below!