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From My Heart: Health

Mon, 30 Jun 2008 17:18:00
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To Whom It May Concern:

Hello, it’s me again.  Just one person talking to another from the heart.  I would like to talk about health.  We’ve all heard the statistics for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.  Pretty scary.  What’s even more scary is the fact that the majority of us leave our health care up to someone else, or worse yet, don’t take responsibility for our health at all.  My mother did the latter.  My mother had a huge lump on her arm, but was too afraid to go to the doctor.  She felt intimidated by doctors, believing that they were always right, and feared asking difficult questions that might have revealed painful but much needed answers.  She also felt like she would seem ignorant asking certain questions, because doctors are so educated.  And truth be told, some doctors can make you feel that way.  Long story short, by the time she did go to the doctor, her cancer had spread throughout her body, and it was too late. 

What I learned from my mother’s painful experience is that I needed to be an advocate for my own health.  Doctors know a lot, but they don’t know everything.  They also may not always be inclined to do everything necessary to secure your health and wellbeing due to the restraints of their profession and insurance and so on.   This doesn’t have to stop you from taking responsibility for your health and your life. 

I like my doctor very much.  We communicate very well, which I feel is one of the most important factors in a doctor/patient relationship.  He is not the first doctor I have gone to, though.  I had many before him that I was not satisfied with.  One thing I really like about my current doctor is that he encourages me to ask questions, and never makes me feel as though I should already know the answer.  I had complained of stomach pains and after ruling out different reasons for it, I asked if I should have a colonoscopy.  He initially didn’t think so, but after I pressed on with questions about the need for it due to my ethnicity and my age, he agreed it was probably a good idea.  He was surprised that I was even asking for such an uncomfortable test that most men would shun.  Well, my test revealed that I had two large polyps, which upon further testing were found to be cancerous.  The specialist told me that if I had waited until the age when it is recommended that men have this test, I probably would have had full blown colon cancer or been dead by that time.  When I went back to see my doctor, he hugged me and thanked me for pushing for that test.  He was happy to see me being an advocate for my own health.  Doctors cannot do it alone.  We have to be concerned and take responsibility for ourselves. 

As a parent, I want to do everything in my power to have longevity.  I get a complete physical exam every year and ask for plenty of tests. I have uncovered other health concerns this way, but I am dealing with them to the best of my ability, and that’s the important thing.  I have had to make life-style changes, such as getting rid of bad habits, not eating everything I want to eat, and exercising more than I would like.  I know most people would say they would rather enjoy life, but I have found that life is more enjoyable when you have good health.  I have seen the destruction families can go through when someone’s health fails.  It can lead to so much pain, grief, and financial hardship.  I know I would spend my last dime to care for my wife or kids if they became very ill.

Nobody plans on getting sick and having health problems, but I think many illnesses can be avoided or at least their onset delayed by our actions.  Every single one of us will die, but let it be in God’s time.  Don’t rush it.  These are just my experiences.  If I have reached the heart of just one person, I will feel I have been of some worth today.  I am not judging anyone, so please do not judge me.

Your Humble Servant

 
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