Hepatitis C defines my life’s work, but I’ve always been careful to look at the bigger picture when considering my health. This is particularly true today, my birthday. I tend to be introspective during the month of August. It’s not just because the calendar declares I am a year older, but I am aware that summer is ending, the days are shorter, and the evening light seems so precious.
This isn’t an especially notable birthday, but I am aware of the creeping signs of age. I worked hard to keep my liver in good shape, and now that I don’t have hepatitis C, I assume my liver is in good shape. However, a three-week trip to Europe that included eating as much as I wanted, was probably not a liver-friendly strategy. Now that I am home, I am back to salads, fruits, veggies, nuts, and eggs, and I’ve managed an entire week without gelato.
When I get off-track, it is best to get back on track as soon as possible. The longer I hang out in the land of sugars and fat, the more likely I am to gain weight and feel sickly. Of course, it would be better if I had skipped the near-daily ice cream altogether, but, I didn’t. I enjoyed every single cone, and don’t have a stitch of regret. However, I did walk a great deal, which offset some of the calories. As for my liver, I am counting on the miracle of regeneration to keep those cells healthy.
This is a good time to assess and improve my physical activity. (Actually, anytime is a good time to improve physical activity.) The weather is hot, but a brisk walk in the morning is good for my brain as well as my heart and liver. I don’t need research to tell me how important that exercise is—I have a direct feedback loop. However, studies do show that exercise is the single most important thing we can do for brain health.
The brain is a critical weapon used in fighting hepatitis C. A poorly functioning brain can make life difficult. It can cause us to sleep poorly, eat poorly, get depressed, and make lousy decisions. Quite frankly, it can be hard to maintain good health without a brain that functions well.
So, whether you have hep C or not, be sure to take care of your brain too. Exercise it, take it for walks, let it sleep when it needs to, and avoid drugs and alcohol that will damage both your brain and your liver. If you do this, you may celebrate many happy birthdays.