2019 is coming to an end.
My Oncologist continues to watch me like a hawk.
‘Lose some weight! You didn’t survive this only to end up with heart disease and /or diabetes’ (Actually he was a bit blunter than that).
‘What is your cholesterol level anyway?’ My friend Millie (Not her real name) and I are eating pavlova and drinking coffee at a small cafe near the hospital.
I’m eating this treat to celebrate my clear results. (Year 10 post groin dissection followed by a year of interferon treatment for a metastatic malignant melanoma)
Millie is eating it to keep me company, so I won’t feel guilty or greedy.
‘I haven’t a clue’ I shrug
‘Well what was it the last time you had it checked then?’ She persists.
For a brief moment I consider lying.
‘You’ve never had it checked have you?’ I meet her eyes reluctantly and shake my head.
Millie nods grimly. ‘I just KNEW it’
I better explain here that this is the same friend who feels responsible for helping me control what she considers my flaithulacht lifestyle. She would have no hesitation in inquiring what was in my bank account and advising me on how to save better.
‘Ok! I’ll go to the GP tomorrow’ I promise her.
‘What are you so afraid of ? needles?’ She is more gentle now.
I crunch noisily on a piece of meringue.
It no longer tastes so good.
‘I suppose’ I choose my words carefully ‘It’s because I feel so well, that the last thing I want to be told is I am not well at all. That in fact I have a this moment, 70 percent chance of having a stroke!’
She shrugs ‘ That’s understandable’
‘But there is something else’ I continue ‘While I don’t know what my cholesterol level is, I live in fear, presuming the worst. And so am careful to eat a healthy diet, cycle and walk lots. I’m afraid if I find out it is good, I’ll probably take to the couch with a bottle of wine and a large bag of crisps and a box of chocolate and not move for a few months’.
‘Now THAT Mindset I cannot fathom’ Millie shakes her head sadly and takes another sip of her coffee, which unlike my creamy frothy cappuccino is an americano… with no milk.
I note her pavlova is shoved half eaten to the side and think about pulling it towards me.
Millie reads my mind and pushes it out of my reach.
I go to my GP the next morning and am sent into the practice nurse to have my bloods taken.
‘I’ll ring you with the results on the Monday’
I lose four precious days worrying about the results. In fact I have mentally booked myself in for an Angioplasty and cardiac stenting.
On Monday I get the call.
‘How are you’ She asks cheerily.
‘I don’t know, you tell me ‘ I whisper
‘Well your bloods are fine. Your cholesterol is well within healthy limits”
‘And my blood sugar?’
‘It’s perfect’ She laughs.
Tomorrow I will join my family for a Christmas feast and eat four roast potatoes and lots of that lovely glazed crackling from the ham I am presently slathering in honey and mustard, carefully studding it with cloves.
After all why waste a perfectly good cholesterol.
And I will ignore that small voice whispering into my ear
‘God is good but never dance in a small boat’.