Today is not only Valentines Day, it is also my 12th wedding anniversary. Reflecting back on those 12 years, I’ve gone through several phases of health. 12 years ago, I felt I was in the best physical shape of my life-I was strong, running trails for an hour or more. I was just getting ready to launch my business, my son Alex was 6 months old, my daughters were out on their own, and it seemed the stars were within reach.  Within 5 years, however, I had several health issues surface, and I sensed my mortality. I had been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, and had to give up running, which was extremely hard to do (I still miss it). Shortly afterwards, I was dealt another Joker, being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (one doctor, who I fired, told me I had Crohn’s disease). My blood pressure crept up to a point where I need to do something about it. Healthwise I was a mess; professionally, I was doing great. But, I didn’t feel good, mentally or physically, so I did something about it. Today, other than managing my ankylosing spondylitis, I am symptom-free. I no longer have high blood pressure, and haven’t had a whiff (sorry) of intestinal issues for more than 2 years. Even though I can’t run, I have rediscovered physical fitness in a way that I can do it with a high level of intensity and regularity, so much that I feel that I am very close to where I was physically all those years ago. If you make personal health a goal, you can be a survivor and not a victim. Remember, poor health and disease is NOT a natural part of the aging process-it only is if you ignore it.

Looking back at those 12 years, I may not be  as strong, have more gray (and thinner) hair, and have a few more aches, I am so much smarter now. When you have your back against a wall, you learn real fast (or should). The really great thing is that I found out that it’s never too late to start a personal health plan. I hope you can get started too.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.