I’m feeling like a little bit of a hypocrite over here, and as you would expect my natural inclination is to share. As the train slowly rolls towards my 40th birthday I am excited beyond words. I can honestly say that I think each year gets better and better. As a highly anxious child who took life very seriously it makes sense that things were only going to improve over time. 😉 I’m not afraid of aging (although I could do without the deep wrinkles between my eyebrows), and I love the wisdom that comes along with having experienced enough ups and downs to know what truly matters. I have a greater ability to say no when I need to, yes when I want to, and who the heck cares when it is appropriate. I sweat the small stuff less (most of the time), and I have an incredible group of friends who I know I could call day or night in a moment of need. 40 feels like it is going to be fabulous. But… I’m sad to report that my physical well-being isn’t feeling quite as “fabulous” as my birthday-ready mental well-being. Since last year I’ve been going to physical therapy for a bulging disc in my lower back and arthritis in my neck. Tomorrow I get an MRI on my knee to see if I have a torn meniscus, and a pulled calf last spring might have been the root cause of the knee problem. In the midst of sorting out the knee I realized that it is has been 2.5 years since I had a PAP Smear, and almost two years since I saw my gynecologist. And not to mention I don’t even have a general practitioner. As someone who considers themselves an advocate for women taking care of themselves this feels unacceptable. I have a therapist who helps me navigate the murky waters of life and an acupuncturist who I see somewhat regularly to deal with stress and insomnia. While they both make a world of difference on the health front, seeing them is not the same as having blood work and standard testing done in a doctor’s office. Shame on me for letting my health care regime fall by the wayside. Being a mom is tough. Running my business keeps me, well, busy. And then there are errands to be done, grocery shopping to check off the list, and volunteer work both at school and after hours. We are all really busy. Maybe even too busy. And that’s how these things slip through the cracks. It’s really not ok. I would never let one of my children miss their annual doctor’s appointment so why would I let myself?
So Monday I saw an orthopedist, Tuesday I saw my acupuncturist, and today I saw my gynecologist. Tomorrow it’s off to the MRI for my knee and next week I’ll have my first mammogram and colonoscopy. This is not about being alarmist and getting a barrage of unnecessary tests every time you feel an ache or pain, rather it is about seeing red flags, addressing them, and making sure that I am going to be here for a very long time to take care of these three little people (+ 1 pup) that I brought into this world with promises of being healthy and whole so I could parent them to the best of my ability. You can’t always protect yourself from medical mishaps, illnesses and emergencies, but if you aren’t proactively seeking care when you need it, then you are only adding greater risk to your eventual outcome.
Men, women, moms, dads, grandparents, godparents, aunties, uncles, friends, and all adults need to do this. We are the role models that our children look up to. Let’s tell them that it’s not only okay, but mandatory that we care for ourselves first because we all know that if you aren’t well you can’t be the best possible you, and you certainly can’t care for or nurture others. Let’s get healthy and check in this month. It’s what each of us deserves.