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Day 13 - Guest Post by Joe Siccardi, Author of My Name is Sam...and Heaven is Still Shining Through

Originally Posted on September 14, 2017 by wisdomfromafather

Those were the words my doctor greeted me with the other day as she entered the room with two thumbs up and an ear-to-ear smile. She then gave me a big bear hug as we settled in for the purpose of the visit, a follow-up to my overall health.

Those who know me know my “health” isn’t something I take too seriously. I mean, if I’m not feeling well, I will take action but I’m not particularly buying into preventative medicine. And I detest medication, or as I have been known to say, legalized poison.

Dr. Coan appreciates that mindset, gently prodding me rather than fostering anything upon me. From day one, she has said any changes have to be my changes, otherwise we’re just treating symptoms and not causes. More important, because she has a PhD in pharmacology in addition to her medical degree and spent years in the pharmaceutical industry, she knows the pharmaceutical language and can dissect fact from fiction.

Now, I have no real serious issues, just a number of small annoyances, like early stage diabetes, some hypertension, an a-fib heart that beats to its own beat, weight issues {I do like to eat} and sleep apnea {not a good combination with a-fib}. Typically, patients with these ailments might have a medicine chest filled with prescription drugs … this one for that problem, that one to counter the effects of the medication, others for other ailments, others to counter the side effects. I take five prescription drugs {two as counter measures}, I do supplement the regimen with 11 natural herbs. In fact, it’s Dr. Coan’s philosophy to attack problems naturally and supplement with pharmaceuticals. And she has been there to advise me and answer my questions … even three states away.

Certainly, Dr. Coan has been on me to do the obvious … lose weight, exercise, eat healthier, blah, blah, blah. And for five years we’ve been doing this dance.

Guess what? The latest blood work indicated I wasn’t stepping on her toes.

So, what changed, she asked. To which I answered, not much, really. Her response, “Really!”

Okay, so my stress level is down because I have now formally retired.

“A lifestyle change,” she interjected.

I’m sleeping on a regular eight hour schedule.

“No 16-18 work days followed by two or three days of catch up rest. A lifestyle change,” she remarked.

I tried the CPAP again.

“How’s that working?” she asked and when I said a lot better than my first experience, she added, “Hmm, another lifestyle change.”

I got a dog who needs me to walk her at least four times a day.

“Walking … about a mile a day and stairs four times a day. A lifestyle change.”

I’m eating on a regular schedule. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Not usually at night.

“Good. Another lifestyle change. I suppose you’re still eating toast for breakfast — there are alternatives. What about your main meal?”

Well, sometimes I have a muffin for breakfast {head shakes}, but generally I have chicken and fish … not too much beef. I broil or bake more dinners with fresh roasted vegetables.

“Good, another lifestyle change. “Try organic chicken. I’m proud of you! What about peanut butter?”

“Still eat it, but mostly fresh ground with no sugar. Just peanuts and oil. I tried making my own. It was okay, but more trouble than it’s worth on a small scale. I’ll pick up some before I go back.”

“It’s taken awhile, Joe, but I really am proud of you. These are the best numbers I’ve seen in all the years I’ve been seeing you. You lost five pounds, every marker is down. The only confusing thing is you have good bad cholesterol numbers and bad good cholesterol numbers which skews the ratio, but even that’s lower. And we are talking about you … nothing is ever normal.”

She added, “The sad thing is I may not see you again.”

When I asked her what she meant, she said it was a long way to Maine. Hey, what’s 589 miles for comfortable primary care physician.

“Well, if you still want me, I’ll come back,” I said, drawing another big smile and a hug — which is somewhat atypical since she’s not generally a hugger.

“I’d love that!” she said. “We’ll make it six months, but behave yourself over the holidays. I want to see more improvement!”

As she exited the room, it was with another bear hug. “I love successes!”

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. — Albert Einstein

Joe Siccardi is the Author of My Name is Sam...and Heaven is Still Shining Through. A fictional Christian memoir available now through the HGBM Shop and on


47 Days of Self-Care is a blogging project that is being published between three different blogs owned by Author & Publisher, Rebecca Benston. Over these 47 days, she hopes to share thoughts and resources for better self-care. You can view related posts at Higher Ground for Life, at the Leading the Follower blog, and on the Higher Ground Books & Media blog.

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