We got confirmation of something we knew was very likely. Greg has the same hereditary problem I do: high cholesterol. It may seem strange that a 5-year-old has to worry about his cholesterol, but he does, and so do I. It comes from my father’s side of the family, and it killed my dad at 34 and his dad at 36.
Even though I expected it, it is kind of a big blow for me.
I found out after my dad died that his cholesterol was 640. It’s supposed to be under 200. Later I learned it was hereditary, and it hits in mid-30s. All of his brothers have had some kind of heart trouble.
I know what’s ahead for Greg, and I’m not happy about it.
But I want his experience to be different. Mine started when I was teenager, and right at the time that cholesterol became a bad guy. Most people didn’t understand it, and everyone though it was just a middle-aged man’s concern. My friends’ parents thought I was crazy when I said I couldn’t eat lunch at McDonald’s because I had high cholesterol. That wasn’t something a kid should need to worry about, surely. One friend’s mom openly called me a liar. (She apologized after my mom set her straight.)
We are at least a little more enlightened these days, I hope. Time will tell.
Now it’s my job to teach Greg all that I have learned. Unfortunately, we can lower our cholesterol by changing our diets alone. I’ve tried that too many times and failed every time. But he’s too young for medication, so diet and exercise is all we have for him right now.
He’s already very active, so we just need to find ways to trim fat and white carbs and sugars from his diet. That’s easier said than done. We all have a sweet tooth and a love for rich foods. After we broke the news, he was most upset that he can’t really eat much cheese anymore.
This is the first of many changes afoot; all good for us as a family. They’re just not the changes we’d choose to make right now.