I have taken a bit off from writing. Work has been busy, kids have been busy and life has been busy.
I am fortunate enough in life to still have some very long time friends. Grade school, junior high and high school friends. I met up with some of them last week. My friend Beth was in from Colorado so it was a good excuse for the rest of us still in the area to get together. Paul and I moved in across from each other when we were six--39 years we have known each other. Beth and I met in grade school band. Stacy and Brian and I met in junior high and Scott and I met in high school. So here sit the six of us at a restaurant, when it hits me how much our lives have changed.
First of all, no longer do we meet at a bar, we now meet at nice restaurants. Our days of drinking it up are long gone! In case you didn't know, alcohol raises your blood pressure and I certainly do not need that. As we catch up on each others lives, our conversation turns as it normally does to how my heart is doing. It also turns to the fact that one of the other ladies has had a heart attack and one has fibromuscular dysplasia. As we discuss this, our conversation takes a turn. We start discussing if the marvels of modern medicine is actually diagnosing disease earlier or is it that our lifestyles are causing disease to happen at an earlier age?
Certainly there are studies to support both. Personally, I follow the thoughts of those like Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and T. Colin Campbell that say our Western diets are causing disease and killing us. They support a no added oil plant based diet and write that we can use food as medicine. (before you wonder, I take a whole host of cardiac meds, so I do believe in mixing the two!) They support a view point that disease is happening earlier because of our lifestyles. I happen to believe this as well. I am certainly the poster child for this. Now, practicing this in theory is very different than trying to do it in real life. Even though I believe the plant based diet is the way to go, I don't eat like this. Not because I don't want to but because I find it extremely difficult. I rocked at it right up until I went to the cath lab the second time and then started suffering from depression. Sugar has been my best friend through my depression. I wrote about beating the depression and now I set out to detox from sugar. I know if I don't, it will kill me. I struggle with it everyday.
I also think that the technology that exists in modern medicine makes it possible to diagnose disease much sooner in life and that this allows us to get the jump on treating it. Awareness of the general public also plays a part in this. Heart disease, once considered an old man's disease is now regularly being diagnosed in both women and men in their 40's. People are more aware of heart disease and doctors are diagnosing it and treating it earlier. Even though this is the case, it is still the number one killer of all Americans. Once the exception, it is no longer surprising to hear that a woman has been diagnosed with breast cancer in her 30's or 40's. I have had friends fight breast cancer. The folks that fall into the camp that there is so much disease so much younger because of better detection have a point.
I think both sides have a good argument and the truth really falls somewhere between the two camps. I still fall a little more on the side of the Western lifestyle causing disease. My friends and I did not really draw any conclusions from our discussion. We did get a good laugh out of how our lives and get togethers have changed over the years. We also made a pact that we are not to put the length of friendship into actual years (as it is not possible any of us are old enough to have been friends for XX number of years!) rather we just say lifelong:)