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Living life: It's all about healthy choices

I went to the doctor last Friday and I have some good news and some not-so-good news. The good news is I have lost 26 pounds since my last visit to the doctor - which was over a year ago - but I gained seven pounds since my husband's employers Biggest Loser final weigh-in.

My husband and I had good intentions of eating fresh produce and enjoying summer recreational activities this summer. Eating highly nutritious food for energy and burning off excess pounds through exercise was the goal to continue our weight loss plan.

We have been enjoying our once a week 12-mile bicycle rides the last several weeks, but we have overindulged in our eating. Both of us have been in a funk, and food is comforting. Continuing the weight-loss journey doesn't need to be a battle, but it does take daily focus. It is all about choices.

At the clinic, the first thing my doctor and I discussed was my column. I am always shocked and amazed to see whose lives have been touched by my simple sharing of my journey and opinion. She encouraged me to continue writing.

Then I told her I haven't been feeling well for over a week. I am lightheaded, dizzy, nauseous and have been experiencing bed spins when I lay down - especially when I roll over in bed. I rarely drink alcohol, never smoke and I don't even like to take prescription drugs, let alone use recreational ones. And no, I am not pregnant.

She asked if I had been hit in the head. Physically, hit in the head? No.

The diagnosis was benign positional vertigo, probably caused from an inner ear problem. Deep inside the inner ear there are small tubes filled with fluid, and floating in the fluid are special calcium deposits. This amazing little detail in our body is called the vestibular system. It communicates to the brain what position the body is in and also keeps a person balanced. So if these inner ear tubes get swollen or form extra calcium deposits, a person's balance can be affected, causing the symptoms I experience.

Vertigo can be caused from inner ear problems. Sometimes swelling from a viral infection puts pressure on the nerves in the inner ear. Head injuries can affect the inner ear and some medicines can damage the inner ear. Sometimes migraine headaches bring on vertigo. Also, brain problems such as a stroke or multiple sclerosis can be the cause.

My doctor said she could prescribe a medicine to help with the vertigo or I could wait for my body to reabsorb the extra calcium deposits. I chose to wait it out. Let me exaggerate for a moment: I do not want to take a pill that may fix my dizziness yet could possibly contribute to my left arm falling off if I don't have to. The diagnosis is something I can live with. I was so thankful the symptoms were not part of some chronic, debilitating, life-threatening condition.

So last weekend, I took it easy.

Sunday afternoon, we took the dogs out to Black's Grove to walk the trails. We got out of the truck when a man around our age was biking back to the parking lot. My husband knew him and they started talking. The man said he had a heart attack after he competed in the extreme mountain biking race a couple of weeks ago out at Black's Grove. In fact, this was his second heart attack, but the doctors agree he should continue to exercise, so he was out biking.

He loaded up his bicycle and left as we started our walk. I asked my husband who the man was, and he told me his name and who he worked for in town. Come to find out, he was a good friend of one of my brothers growing up. I immediately called my brother and told him we just talked to his high school friend who was out biking. My brother said it couldn't have been him because he recently had a heart attack. Yes, yes it was him.

So on the way home, my husband pointed out where the man lived in our neighborhood. As we drove by, he and his wife were working on their yard, so we stopped. My husband introduced us, and they invited us to sit on the deck for a nice visit.

Later, as I was humming "It's a Small World After All", I started to think that perhaps I was meant to hear that man's story at that moment. I felt so inspired by his drive for life, his mountain biking and his enjoyment of the day, in spite of his condition. May he be my example and perhaps yours too.