On January 10-11, 2008, I drove in my car (that I still have) from home to a begin a new life, a new chapter in Washington, DC–now affectionately known as part of the ‘DMV’ (DC, Maryland, and Virginia). For an earlier ‘geographical definition’, I was told it involves the District of Columbia; Montgomery County and Prince George’s County in Maryland; Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Loudon, and Alexandria City in Northern Virginia. These areas are geographically close, but you wouldn’t think so due to the amount of traffic on the Beltway (which is something I definitely had to get used to—still haven’t lol), namely I-66; I-395; I-495; I-95, and I-295 along with several bridges and an area called “The Mixing Bowl” in NoVA. I thought ‘Malfunction Junction’ in Birmingham, Alabama was an area to deal with LOL
I moved for graduate school and potential employment opportunities. After one year in the area, I noticed my weight and my health was changing. When I was in a relationship, I did good. When I was out of a relationship, I slacked off. I should NEVER base my pursuit and maintenance of a healthier lifestyle on being in a relationship. Do it because YOU want to like your life depended on it! I had to improve. I kept saying that I would do it and get working on my health.
For those who follow and read my blog, I started sharing my journey due to the fact I needed to get my health in order. After my mother’s transition on November 9, 2009, it was a wake-up call for me. I prayed to God that a family history of diabetes and hypertension would not make me the next statistic, so I began Zumba; got involved with a 30-day meal plan; the place I lived at had its own fitness center; took belly dancing classes. I had spurts of health awareness. I did manage to lose 18 pounds and go from a size 18 to size 14 jeans.
The one thing I’ve stressed in this blog is to take care of yourselves. My previous blog post last week was entitled “Life IS Precious.” Ironically, I had one of my fellow natives and social media friends make her transition at the age of 26. She died from complications of sickle cell anemia. As the saying goes, “We neither know the day nor the hour.” I was diagnosed a year ago with stage 1 lymphedema (swelling of my ankles). The fluid doesn’t leave my body or circulates well; isn’t contributed to diabetes which is a good thing. This week, I have a doctor’s appointment due to one of my fingers feeling strange. It may be due to so much time spent working on my laptop with internet searches; keeping up with social media; blog posts, etc. I had to adjust my ‘ergonomic environment’ so I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable. I wear compression socks to keep the swelling down. I don’t like them but it’s necessary. I’ll definitely give an update of my doctor visit.
Fast-forward: On August 27, 2014, I celebrated by 45th Birthday and I’m so grateful to see another year in 2015! I’m not where I want to be but I’m glad that I’m not where I used to be. I continue to pray, push, reflect, and believe that hard work in pursuing and maintaining a healthier lifestyle pays off!
I dedicate this blog post to the life of Ms. Janeese Jackson, my fellow Birmingham native; entrepreneur; advocate for research and eradication of sickle cell anemia; and “Love Queen”. May you enjoy your eternal life celebration, Sis.