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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

We found a used ticket to Columbia and an old wrinkled map. The three of us: me, Randy and Janell. We were confused by our find. "When did Dad go to Columbia?" "Why would Dad go to Columbia?" None of us ever remember Dad traveling further south than Tijuana Mexico. We decided to go to Columbia and retrace Dad's steps and figure out why he had been in Columbia. The wrinkled map had a couple of towns circled and some lines drawn from here to there, which gave us a start. We flew to Columbia and then rode on a crowded bus through the jungles and up into the mountains. We came to a place where they had carved benches into the side of the mountain and there was a narrow twisty road running down the side. The nearby villagers would all gather on this mountain on Sundays after church to watch car races down the side of the mountain. It was crazy dangerous and slightly illegal, but officials can be bribed. We walked through the crowd, showing people Dad's picture and asking "Have you seen this man? Do you recognize this man?" There were many head shakes and down cast eyes. People were suspicious. Finally we showed Dad's picture to one man and he said "Peanuts! Get your fresh Peanuts!" Dad had gone to Columbia to sell peanuts.

This was the dream I had the other night, a few days after receiving the results of the blood work I had done recently. I have high cholesterol. Yup. You read that right. I have borderline high cholesterol. Ever since I got the news, I've been looking at everything I eat with suspicion. Veggie burger. Zero cholesterol. Slice of cheese that I put on that veggie burger. 30 mg. The USDA recommends consuming no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day. Last night Micheal looked at every label in the fridge. "This block of cheese? You can eat this whole block of cheese. You could also eat most of this jar of mayo and three packages of this goat cheese." We both figured that I maybe eat 300 mg a week. Maybe. I sent a text to Katrina telling her that she needed to make Randy go to the doctor and then I sent a text to Janell telling her to get her cholesterol checked. I did this for a few reasons. First there have been several studies linking high cholesterol to Aß-amyloids. Aß-amyloids are the peptides that show up in plaque formations on the brain in Alzheimer's patients. Secondly, I am obviously living proof that you can't change genetics. It's quite possible Dad's high cholesterol had little to do with his frequent consumption of chicken fried steak.

When I sent out that first text to Katrina, I felt I was sending out a call to action of sorts. "Here ye! Here ye! All of those children born of the Peanut Man! You must be tested immediately for high cholesterol!" Fine. Then what? Well..for me it means fish oil. My doctor wants me taking two fish oil pills a day. Then, in three months, we test again. If the fish oil doesn't do the trick, he said something about a generic cholesterol fighting drug that isn't as bad as some of the other statin drugs we all hear about.  I'm not too thrilled about that happening. I'm too young to be on statin drugs and it's a pill that I'd have to take every day. I already do that with my birth control pill. One should be enough. Part of me feels a little gypped. We've always been told that everything would be fine as long as you eat a healthy diet and get some exercise.  Not necessarily all lies. I suppose I could have actual high cholesterol as opposed to borderline high cholesterol. It's also one of those pull your head out the sand moments, when you realize that you can't ignore things just because you're doing all of the so called right stuff. Frequent check ups and tests are important for more than just babies. 

I'll swallow the pills because I'm just not changing my diet. I guess I could take out that tablespoon of cheese I eat once a week, but some times that tablespoon of cheese it the only thing that's keeping me from stabbing someone. Further change to my diet would just be sad and ridiculously restrictive. I'll swallow the pills because I may have Dad's high cholesterol but maybe I don't have to have his brain disease.