I have a birthday again in couple of weeks. I will have fulfilled the First 50 years, and starting the second 50 years. 51. Seems like an uneventful age. Of course, it will dictate itself, I don’t get much say in how things roll. Probably for the best, I am not a great planner. Most days I still feel like a spry young thing of 49, but this 50th year has left a few tread marks, and there are just certain things that go along that make you feel like an old clunk.
With my new employment came some new health insurance. That necessitated a change in doctors, which isn’t so bad, my old provider had just retired, and I had met the new Doctor at that clinic only one time, no emotional attachment, on my part at least, just yet. I am sure she is devastated, but she is young, she will find a new patient who needs some blood pressure meds soon enough. I had an appointment this week to meet my new doctor, and go over my fantastic medical history. Explaining family history, listing off things I have had, yeah, that makes you feel old. The kidney stone and colonoscopy conversations made me feel about 80 years old. Then I learned that a Shingles vaccine is a 2 part thing. I had a shot in June, thought that’s good, I am ready! Nope, there is a second part! So I had to get another one, and I am not a baby about shots, but it hurt! I felt like I got punched hard by someone wearing a big ring! No lollipop after, either. Boo!
This gets me to the mammogram portion of my talk. I get them annually, as I have a family history. I hadn’t scheduled one yet, because I knew my insurance would be changing. They happened to have an opening the morning I was there, so I was able to get it done Tuesday. I have had enough of them now that it isn’t an anxiety thing for me, but rather a comfort thing. Not that it is comfortable, but knowing I am taking care of that business comforts me. I had the nicest technician, she was young, but very good at her gig. Warm hands too, that is a big plus, as anyone who gets mammograms will tell you. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get these done, ladies. In the past year and a half, give or take a few months, I have known no less than 5 women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Young, in their 30s and 40s. Mammograms are a huge tool in being able to diagnose this early enough to be able to have success in treating the cancer. These women have fought, there have been tough days, better days, but they are seeing more days than if they hadn’t found out by being seen and getting mammograms done. I feel like it is one of the most important things a woman can do for herself, so I will always encourage doing it, and if you need someone, let me know, I will be there with you. Mine went well, and it will be a year before I go again, but I would bet money I will talk about them again here, as I believe early diagnosis saves lives.
Getting a little older gives you some history. Medical History. I have been lucky to stay relatively healthy through most of my days. Sure, take away a toe here, a spider bite there, and a boulder of a kidney stone, I have done pretty well. It took me a lot of years to take it a little more seriously, like most people I think we all believe we are invincible in our youth. Then your knee pops when you stand up to go potty for the 15th time because your old lady bladder can’t handle it anymore. I get it, believe me. But it comes to a point where you aren’t ready to trade your sports car in for a Buick, so you check the tires a little more often. I kind of think that is where I am at right now, scheduling appointments a year from now, because knowing is better than getting surprised, and the family history I spawned from is no joke, medically speaking. In these days of the ‘Rona, being healthy is something I choose to not take for granted, because not everyone wins every fight.
* I thought a lot this week, after the news about Alex Trebek dying came through, of my friends and family who have or have survived cancer. Various cancers, various treatments, lots of fighting. He fought Pancreatic cancer for a lot longer than most people make it after diagnosis. I don’t know, maybe it was the way that he continued working, speaking openly about his bad days, and trying his best to stay positive. He seemed like he could inspire a lot of people, even knowing his long term prognosis wasn’t great. The reports that he had a good last couple of days, with his people around him, made me think even more of his whole approach to it. And what I hope is that all of you who have fought, or are fighting, see the hope of his journey, not the final destination. I could see where his passing could take the wind out of your sails a little, but I sure hope not. He said that he had lived a good life, and he did that up to the end, and he went to sleep. While my wish is that nobody would get cancer anymore, I would hope even more that those who do, can look at his journey and know that there is a good life still to be had, and that hope is a good thing.