Committing to the diet is difficult, but totally worth it.
Sometimes I think of the words of the song Barbra Streisand sings in Yentyl, There Are Moments:
There are moments you remember all your life.
There are moments you wait for
and dream of all your life.
This is one of those moments.
This past semester at Brigham Young University I had one of those moments in a rehearsal for Concert Choir. We were rehearsing on the stage of the De Jong Concert Hall, where our upcoming performance would be, rather than in our normal rehearsal hall. We had worked for about a month on a large and difficult Hebrew piece called the Chichester Psalms by Steven Sondheim. It was challenging but we had worked hard to master the notes, memorize the foreign text and capture the feel of this psalm of praise. I have studied voice for years and in my voice lessons lately I’d been working on some basics, such as support, again. I was improving a lot and in my lesson earlier that day my teacher told me I could do anything with my voice. As we practiced the Chicester piece that afternoon on the DeJong stage facing the dark, empty house I felt fully engaged. I remember feeling very conscious that my core muscles were working hard and it felt great. I knew the words and I could express my feelings through my face. It is a really exciting piece and I was giving everything into singing it.
Now, before you start thinking I’m waxing nerdy about choir, just remember that it could have been anything. It could have been sports, it could have been debate, or parkour or yo-yo-ing.
What’s my point? That PKU can’t keep you from doing anything you want to do. If you follow the diet that is.
In order to be totally healthy, I have had to completely commit to following this diet. There is no room for exceptions. But because I’ve stuck with it, it is easy for me. It is just a part of my normal routine. And avoiding all the problems that come from slipping is well worth it. I would encourage anyone who has PKU to commit to the diet and reap the benefits.
I am so grateful for the diet, because it allows me to not only have a “normal” life, but to pursue my dreams. Sometimes it can be a pain to prepare low protein meals and make my formula. But I have been to Italy, Turkey, China and Hawaii, and I can tell you that the moments I remember about those trips are not shaking up my phenyl-free 2 in the morning.
Don’t let PKU hold you back. Commit to the diet, and then enjoy collecting moments you will remember all your life.