It’s easy to forget there are things you can control about your life even though you have muscular dystrophy or another disability. One of these things is overall general health. It’s always odd to go to the doctor and talk about how I have muscular dystrophy but otherwise my overall health is pretty good. I do need to lose some weight but at this point I have been doing well.
In the past, however, I have found myself thinking things like, “Oh I have muscular dystrophy so I don’t really care if I have a few extra pounds.” or “Oh I have muscular dystrophy so it doesn’t matter if I don’t exercise. What difference will it make?”
These are very dangerous thoughts, which I have fortunately been able to control 90% of the time.
It’s dangerous to think these thoughts because vices like being overweight or otherwise unhealthy can snowball the effects of the disorder you already have. For example, if I eat too much and don’t exercise, it’s likely I could get diabetes. It’s likely it would come faster too because my overall level of activity is much less than the average person.
So I’m trying to keep my future health in mind. If I am able to maintain an otherwise healthy lifestyle, then the impact of muscular dystrophy on my future will hopefully be less than if I was dealing with the effects of other problems.
One way I remind myself to try to stay healthy is by looking into my future by seeing what my parents are dealing with, health-wise. My dad has a lot of issues that have caught up with him over the years and I don’t want to fall into that path. My mom has her issues too, and while I don’t follow her patterns, it’s still something I am aware of.
For me, it all boils down to decisions. A decision to eat good vs. bad foods is a difficult one at times, but it feels better when all is said and done. A decision to exercise instead of play a computer game is also another decision that takes effort, but feels better.
It’s tough to remember that these small decisions have a much larger impact when they’re grouped together over many weeks, months, and years. The effects aren’t immediately noticeable. But in trying to think about the future, it’s easier to make the good decisions than it is to worry about what happens if I’m not making them.