It’s December, which means you’re: 1) running around like your hair is on fire to ‘make the holiday magic’ or 2) you’re taking your cue from the shorter days, cooler temps, and, well, everything about the coming of year’s end to slow down, reflect, and look ahead to the new year. These seem like conflicting interests, and in our busy world and busy lives it can seem like a frivolous indulgence to slow down and look back. But you can’t keep that break-neck pace and delicate balancing act without a little well placed assessment, you know. Even race car drivers take a pit stop!
Even if you are in charge of the merry making in your world, my hope is that you can scrape out a little time for reflection, contemplation, and planning. And perhaps I can help! Every Monday in December I am posting some quick (or not) questions or quizzes to help assess the ‘State of My Self’. I’ll be posting the questions as well as my answers, just so you know I’m being a good sport and doing the work too.
This week is a 9-point questionnaire by Katy Bowman, found in the introduction of Move Your DNA.
The purpose of the questions is to get us the on the path toward an objective view of our health. It’s inspired in part by my last post about what health is and how we define and assess it, and it’s a good way to look back over our history to start as we evaluate on the State of My Self.
Here we go! The following is from Move Your DNA, with my answers below each question.
“You might feel pretty good most of the time. But perhaps you find yourself unable to move once or twice a year because you throw your back out. Maybe you get headaches with enough regularity that you keep aspirin in your desk. Or deal with chronic constipation. Do you have a ‘trick knee’ or habit of spraining your ankles? Do those knees keep you from taking long walks? How are your natural, biological functions – like digestion, elimination, and sleeping – working for you? Is your life peppered with little inconvenient health glitches?”
“To get a more objective picture of your health, take out a piece of paper and write down the following:”
Clinical diagnoses received over your lifetime.
This one could fill a small binder. Starting at age 10 I began having mysterious symptoms of illness, and scores of doctors couldn’t figure out why. Or agree with each other. And so I’ve run a HUGE course, but the diagnoses that have proven true and responded appropriately to treatment are: Celiac disease, dysautonomia, low blood pressure, depression, anxiety, anorexia, Reynaud’s, endometriosis.
Every prescription medication you take and why
Currently I take no prescription medications. That has not always been true, but for the last 4 years I have been prescription free.
Every over-the-counter medication you take, and how often
I take daily supplements D, B, and fish oil. I probably take 2-4 NSAIDs in a month, either for tension headache or menstrual cramps. Some months I’m free of both, some not.
Every surgery you have had or need to have
I have had oral surgery to remove my wisdom teeth, and a laparoscopic removal of my gallbladder / exploratory abdominal surgery. So far as I know I’m in need of no other surgeries.
Visits to the hospital, doctor, chiropractor, or any other allied health professional
I like to imagine there is a vault somewhere with reams of paperwork related to my health history prior to my Celiac diagnosis. A month didn’t go by without a trip to the hospital at the very least. Countless doctors, countless tests, procedures, visits, etc. And even after the celiac was more managed there have been years and years of mental health support. However, I have had no need for any doctor’s visits beyond prevention or the occasional infection for the last 5 or so years. Considering how I started, that’s pretty note-worthy!
Body parts that ‘alert’ you regularly or on a semi-regular basis
Again, if this was an exhaustive history (which you can do for yourself, by all means! I’m not going to because I don’t want to bore you with the details and the length of this post would get out of hand) we’d be here a while! However, here’s what I can tell you currently: I have a digestive system that isn’t shy AT ALL telling me how it feels about my menu and eating habits. My jaw alerts me by getting tight when I get stressed, and that makes tension headaches. And my energy levels and sleeping habits alert me when it’s time to pay more attention to my mental health.
Body parts that hurt
I have a left SI joint that likes to get cranky, a right side neck pain from time to time, and an annoying little catch behind my right knee when I walk long distances over uneven terrain that I’m working to resolve. My jaw and throat tension can be quite annoying. And the scars from my abdominal surgery have become pretty dysfunctional over time, creating pain and compensated movement patterns.
Body parts that aren’t working to the best of their ability
I’m so fortunate that things are working better than ever! That being said, my diaphragm muscle is in the midst of an overhaul, as are my core muscles. Yay breathing! My neck needs strengthening to help with my tension headaches, as does my upper body. And my booty! Those glutes are more present, but I think there’s more to be had.
Health issues you worry about having in the future
I am keenly aware of the higher risk of diseases that come along with an autoimmune disease, such as other autoimmune diagnoses, nutrient deficiencies, osteoporosis, a whole host of cancers, fertility problems, and nervous system dysregulation. I have a family history of heart conditions, cancers, and other autoimmune conditions. This is much of why I am committed to health through education, empowerment, and movement!
I hope these questions have been helpful in reflecting on your health history, and all the ways our body is communicating with us today. So often little things like headaches or constipation get dismissed because they seem normal and harmless, but it’s important for us to take notice. We can’t plan for greater future health without knowing where we’ve been, and where we currently are. Stay tuned for next week as we continue our assessment of the State of My Self!