Nancy Dillard A Second Chance
Often when you hear of an amazing transformation, there is some life-altering event that perpetuates this change. Ten years ago, such an experience gave me the chance to make a difference and I took that experience seriously.
At 35, who would have thought there was a remote chance that I would metamorphize into who I am today. A foundation of many bad habits and self-abuse were evident in my lifestyle and the likelihood of change was slim. I was a heavy smoker, excessive drinker, overweight, and highly stressed. Just about every aspect of my life was negative and that affected how I was living. But, I wasn't living. I was slowly dying.
Already with a family history of heart disease, the bad habits and stressful pace were becoming assurances to an early grave. I would be at a point of no return if I did not take some drastic measures.
Although others may not consider what most influenced me threatening or tragic, it was to me. It all began with pain -- pain so unvearable and at every minute each day. Pain brought on by years of neglecting to go for regular dental checkups, years of heavy smoking, years of heavy drinking, and years of excessive eating. The three latter would not cause the pain alone but added together with the poor oral hygiene emphasized the deplorable condition of my overall health. I felt awful and all the time.
After a dental check I found -- what should not have been a surprise -- I was losing my teeth, and it would take a miracle to save any of them. I was horrified and scared. I sobbed and sobbed so uncontrollably that my doctor almost refused to treat me -- not so much because I was upset but more because of the emotional and physical state I had gotten into. I was pitiful.
To this day, I thank this man for being straightforward and forthright. He told me to shape up, to get into some kind of exercise routine, to quit smoking and drinking immediately, and to lose some weight. He did not "sugar coat" any of it. He told me what I needed to do even before I could be treated for the advanced periodontal disease and the eventual dental restoration that was in store for me.
Today, almost ten years to the day, I look back. I am not the person I as and I will have undying thanks for that someone who helped me change my life. That doctor pointed me to reality and, at that moment, I made a commitment to change my life. When I made that commitment, a conspiracy of events began to happen.
I quit smoking and drinking immediately and started walking flights of stairs. There was a ten-story hotel in the neighborhood with outside covered stairs. I had recently met someone who ran them while training for distance running during the winter months. SHortly after meeting weekly at the hotel, I began to run them and through chance conversations I took an immediate interest in running. I prepared diligently for two weeks to run my first 5K (3.1 mile) road race. At the even, I had a goal to complete the entire distance without walking. I did it! It was such a great feeling of accomplishment that there and then I realized if I put my mind to do something I could do anything. My attitude was given a large dose of positive energy and that has made all the difference.
Since and to date, my greatest passion is distance running and I have completed several marathons and literally hundreds of shorter distance road races. I've lost over 100 pounds and got rid of the abusive habits and unsavory characters I associated with before. I have gone through years and years of dental treatments to regain good oral and oerall health. I am now close to the end of the restorative process and look forward to the day I can influence someone else to do something with their state of health before it is too late for them. Running is not for everyone but good health and regular activity and exercise is. Anyone can do that much and it is a shame that I had to learn the hard way how to be fit and to feel great.
I am happy and health now, and I owe a great deal of that happiness to one man who was honest with me and gave me a second chance -- Dr. Edward Mills.
Most Sincerely,
Nancy Dillard
Nancy Dillard