Last week I followed up on my challenge to prioritize (the non-spa side of) self-care by seeing my PCP for my Well-Woman visit. I had a lot of feelings running through me in advance of and during the visit (and afterwards too, it turns out). First, I must say that much like therapy, it’s pretty great to go to an appointment where it’s all about you! Second, as I was answering my PCP’s questions and thinking about my lifestyle choices, I couldn’t help but think about people I have lost to heart disease and cancer, as well as people who have beaten the odds.
The reality is, I take pretty good care of myself. I eat well (though I probably eat too many treats!), run 4-5 times a week, and use different tactics to manage my stress. But I do know that one can always improve, and beyond eating less treats, I asked my PCP about any tweaks I could make, particularly given that both my parents have/had high blood pressure, and there are other health issues that persist through my family. My PCP and I talked about considering a Mediterranean diet, adding yoga to my fitness practice (both to manage stress and benefit my running), and adding more calcium to my diet. On the last point, I was THRILLED that she encouraged me to work on upping my calcium via real food (versus a supplement). Yay, real food!
The visit also offered two good reality checks. The first is that I’m overdue on my mammogram (I’m 42). In fact, I still have the referral sheet from my check-up last year (OOPS). The second is that even though you can live a healthy lifestyle, things can come up. During my pelvic exam, my doctor detected something that requires a follow-up pelvic ultrasound. She was totally calm about it and said it is probably nothing, but that this is definitely a change from my condition last year. So, I’m scheduled to get both my mammogram and pelvic ultrasound later this month.
Not surprisingly, I had mixed feelings about the need for follow up. The crusty, practical, I-detest-how-intervention-prone-the-medical-system-can-be side of me was like, I should skip this appointment! It’s probably nothing! But the other side of me -- the side that has seen friends in excellent health diagnosed late and gone too soon -- said, Go to the damn appointment.
So I’m going to the damn appointment. January 28 to be exact. Mostly I feel calm about it but every now and then I have a twinge of, Crap, what if it is something? I’m not ready for a medical crisis. I can't bear what this would mean for my family. Just yesterday I got my general lab results back and everything was normal so I'm carrying normalcy vibes with me forward into my mammogram and ultrasound on the 28th. If you have any good vibes to spare that day, I will gratefully accept them.
Now, will you please book your well-woman visit if you are due or overdue? It would mean the world to me if you would give yourself the gift of self-care. Even if it isn’t a day at the spa.
Image credits: 1) apple heart via Pixabay; 2) exam room selfie by Christine Koh; 3-4) SparkFete
Disclosure: This post reflects an editorial partnership with Go Red For Women. All storytelling is, of course, my own!