My history has a Darwinian Fail all began almost a decade ago, when I was diagnosed with a rare arrhythmia. (*Bear with me for a description a little heavy on the medical jargon.*) My condition is formally called prolonged QT syndrome, which basically means that when the heart is beating away it can sometimes take too long to recover in between beats. This can be kind of problematic, and often causes those who have it to get light headed, lose consciousness, and in some unfortunate cases it can cause instant cardiac death. This all sounds very daunting, and it is incredibly unusual, especially for someone with no known family history. It is a hereditary condition, and is one caused by certain set of genetic mutations. I was 17 when I was diagnosed, and 18 when I was fitted with my first pacemaker/defibrillator. I am happy to say that barring the general maintenance required to maintain this device, and the rare but inevitable human error - I now have a very happy healthy heart.
It was a long way back to a happy healthy life though, because after battling long QT for 2 years I ended up FAT! Those two years included; 6 different allergic reactions, 2 surgeries, no exercise, and a LOT of comfort food and emotional eating. So there I was 50 lbs heavier than when I started, unhappy, self-conscious, and ready to make a change. I decided as important and prevalent our genetic predisposition has become today in our study of health and wellness, it does NOT have to be the be all end all. I would change my lifestyle - start eating healthy, make exercise part of regular routine - and...
LOSE THE WEIGHT FOR GOOD!
And I am proud to say I did just that! I reached my goal weight 5 months after my journey started, and have never looked back. Diet, Health, Wellness, Exercise, Running, and Fitness are all a regular part of my daily lifestyle. It has been 6 years since I started meeting my Darwinian failures head on and making changes to my lifestyle. I have come a long way, but there is still a part of me that has held on to some some of my unhealthy habits. I LOVE LOVE LOVE food, and have been known to indulge in the occasional junk food binge. And making exercise a priority is not always as easy as it sounds.
Genetics is not quite ready to release its hold over my life just yet though. Little did I know genetics has more for me to learn, and just when I was starting to get complacent it has popped back up and regained its place of prominence. Almost 2 years ago my Mom was diagnosed with and beat Breast Cancer all as a result of the BRCA 1 gene. (DAMN THESE GENES!!) And in April of 2011 it has been confirmed that I am a Darwinian Fail all over again, because I too am positive with the BRCA 1 gene. The BRCA 1 gene means your risk of breast cancer jumps to the range of about 40-70% of developing the disease. I am not a usually a betting woman, and math has never been my strong suit, but those aren't great odds. Anything above 50% when it comes to my health; I don't consider stellar. I have made the decision to act preventatively and have and signed up for a bilateral mastectomy with an alloderm reconstruction. No Boobies = No Breast Cancer.
So this year I am making health my priority. I am not making these extreme changes to my body to slack on the areas that are easily controlled. Maintaining a healthy diet, a regular exercise routine, and a balanced lifestyle is all part of my Genetic Battle Plan. This year I will make genetics, heart disease, and breast cancer my BITCH! And I am doing all of this while training for my first half and full marathon! Just watch!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
My Genetic Battle Plan
This year, starting April 1st I am officially waging war on genetics. I am dedicating this year of my life to exploring clean healthy living to see what this type of dedication can accomplish. So here is the plan...
- Healthy Eating is a must!
- I will be using Canada's Food Guide as the basis for my diet ratios
- While also eating approximately 1500 cal/day
- I am going eat REAL food (steering away from anything processed, and anything in a package), trying to eat primarily locally grown organic meals
- but let's be realistic I live in Canada, there is about 6 month of winter where the locally grown produce selection is severely limited, so lets be reasonable here
* Exercise:- Maintain a regular exercise routine, aiming for 5-6 days a week of exercise consistently
- It has been a long time personal goal of mine to run a half marathon.
- Running is something I have grown to love, but it is challenge.
- Strenuous cardio exercise of any kind tends to be questionable for those of us with robotic hearts. So running has become my genetic battle ground, its the area where I challenge myself and literally fight my genetics one run at a time.
- I have been saying for years that I would run a half marathon, but every time I start to train for the race I have experienced a medical set back (this year being no exception)
- So 2012 is my year! I plan to run a half marathon, and dare I say it...maybe even a FULL marathon.
- I want to use my training as a way to regain my strength and get back into shape following my bilateral mastectomy with an alloderm reconstruction
* Lifestyle:- Adopt the 80/20 principle, life is too short and too crazy not to love every minute, so you spend 80% of your time make healthy choices and 20% indulging and enjoying the things you love
- I think a balance is a must, but not always the easiest to attain, so finding that happy medium is important to making this year attainable
- And I will be blogging all the way along, to keep everyone informed of my progress and to keep myself accountable
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,