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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm Going To Get Smashed

I am not going to tell you how old I am, because it doesn't really matter. But I must say this: it is time for me to be more responsible. I was raised in an environment where going to the doctor wasn't something you did frequently. If you got really sick, you made an appointment. But you didn't go running to the docs all of the time, getting tests and getting checkups and looking for trouble. Add to that the tendency of many females to be more concerned about the care of others than of themselves, and you get...me.

It's time now for me to take charge, to be more proactive. I've spent too many years ignoring my health and ignoring my pains. I've had a bit of a shakeup, and I have decided that I need to do what it takes to be as healthy as I can be. After spending some time ignoring things, avoiding things, I have ended up being put on insulin for my uncontrolled blood sugar. That's one step in the right direction. In a week, I will find out whether I have to have a hysterectomy because something seems to be growing in my uterus. And although it is about the size it would be if I were four to five months pregnant, it isn't a baby. Preliminary tests have shown that it most likely isn't cancer, but I have never had surgery and I am as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I am supposed to be the caregiver, so it is weird for the shoe to be on the other foot. And I am not afraid of pain. Heck, I broke my leg, drove home, and climbed up three flights of stairs to my apartment. It's feeling pukey that scares me.

Now for the part that I am most embarrassed to admit, but am doing so to encourage others. Although I am well past forty years of age, I have never had a mammogram. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will be having one tomorrow at a mobile mammogram unit, or as I like to call it, "feels on wheels." If I intend to live up into my eighties, as I announced the other day, this is one of the things I have to do. And it is so important! Not just for women, either. Men can also get breast cancer. I actually have a male friend who has had a mammogram because of finding a lump. Think about it - this is an area of your body that is close to so many things. It's right by your heart and lungs, for crying out loud. I knew someone years ago who found a lump and did not go to the doctor. She finally got checked when she started coughing. The cancer had spread into her lungs because she was too embarrassed to talk to her doctor about her breasts. Luckily she survived, but imagine how much illness and pain she could have been spared. Time can be your enemy.

So, ladies and gentlemen, don't be like me and just ignore things. Go and get checkups. Trent can tell you that pain can actually be a lifesaver. Last January, he felt a terrible pain in his testicle. Luckily, he had a doctor's appointment scheduled just a few days later. Within a couple of weeks, he was having surgery to remove a testicle. He had a rare type of tumor. It was so rare, in fact, that the surgeon had never seen one of that type before. The tumor did not spread, so he did not have to go through chemotherapy. Tomorrow, I am going to get smashed. No, I won't be getting drunk. But I am taking an important step in loving and caring for my body. And I want to encourage everyone to do so. So come on, coddle those cantaloupes. Or manipulate your mangoes. Juggle your jumblies. Don't let your mammaries just become memories. But seriously, take care of your body. It's the only one you've got!