We get the oil changed in our car. We get our septic tanks pumped. We have the air conditioning guy come out to check our handler.
We perform routine maintenance on many of our belongings to keep them running. How many of us do the same thing for ourselves?
If you are a woman, when was the last time you had a mammogram or a Pap smear? If you are a man, when was the last time you had a prostate exam? Have you had your blood work done? Have you had a colonoscopy?
Many of us don’t go to the doctor unless we’re sick. But if the doctor doesn’t have a baseline on our health, they can’t know when something appears off.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2008 after a routine mammogram. I had the mammogram because I’d seen my doctor for my annual physical. She said it’d been three years, time for another squishing.
If I hadn’t gone, if I’d blown it off because I was busy or didn’t take it seriously, I’d still have cancer. I just wouldn’t know it. But they caught it early, I had my treatment, and I’ve been fine ever since. The scary thing was, I didn’t feel sick. If I’d ignored it until I did feel sick, I’d be in a worse situation. I think having cancer has trained me not to ignore symptoms. Something feels off, I get it looked at quickly instead of waiting for it to go away.
I recently blackmailed my husband into getting a colonoscopy. He needed to have it, since he is past 50 and there’s a history of colon cancer in his family. He asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day. I smiled and said, “I want you to get a colonoscopy.” He hung his head. I’d trapped him. Quite nicely, if I do say so myself.
The doctor found two benign polyps and snipped them out. These polyps can turn into cancer. But now they’re gone.
This preventative maintenance on our bodies takes just a little time out of our lives. But isn’t it better to take a little time now, while we’re healthy, rather than take a lot of time later, when we get sick?
We recently lost a family member to advanced cancer. She was older and came from the generation where doctors are for when you get sick. I often wonder if she’d had her annual check ups, would they have caught the illness sooner? Could they have treated it? Would she still be with us today?
Preventive maintenance. A little goes a long way, whether you’re talking about cars or colons.