I went donate blood yesterday. It was a typical screen. Things like “have you been out of the country?”, “have you had sex with gay man?”, “have you gotten a tattoo recently?”. Then they prick your finger to screen more deeply and while you wait for those results to come back they take your blood pressure and resting heart rate.

At my last physical my doctor told me my blood pressure was starting to become elevated. It was something like 125/80. Healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80. My blood donation pre-screener said it is now 137/85. My resting heart rate was 105. Now I do have a relatively high resting heart rate normal. As in 80 to 85. But 105 is high. The nurse had me wait five minutes so that he could retake it. After the five minutes it actually went UP to 106.

What do I make of all this?

First, I am obviously getting into the unhealthy side of being fat. Second, I have scientific proof of the effects of stress on my body. More specifically, the stress of being forced to stay home with my entire family nonstop for months.

I came home crying. I knew I was stressed. I knew it was killing me. But I didn’t have a stranger tell me just how unhealthy I was becoming until now. Hubs and I discussed going to see an endocrinologist about medical interventions. We talked about how I can relieve stress.

Since that failed blood donation attempt I’ve tried to make the kids be more self-sufficient. I’ve taken morning walks while the air is still crisp and cool, then taken my breakfast out to “The Happy Place,” a patio under a large tree and surrounded by flowers in my backyard. I haven’t strayed from my low-inflammation diet plan, and I’m starting to see results.

I’ve known from the beginning that this is a long game. And a mental game. And a game I cannot lose.