Who is better equipped to look out for your own health than you?
I have an infuriating story to share. One (I hope) encourages you to take a step toward doing something positive for your health today.
It’s the story of a lovely woman living a vibrant life – running a business, raising her 10 year old as a single mom, enjoying a nice social circle and maintaining a fitness routine - basically, living life as we all do! She recently noticed a lack of energy, was out of breath more and more, and attributed it to age (she is 50, but looks a lot younger).
Shortly thereafter she experienced pain on her left side, one rib in particular, and only if she touched it and when she breathed in deeply.
She just chalked it up to allergies, change of season and the usual fatigue that comes with being a business owner and single mom. After taking a Pilates class, pain in her sternum was attributed to sore muscles from a new workout. That’s life, right?
Recognizing an unusual amount of exhaustion and not feeling herself, she confessed some concern to a friend who suggested she visit a doctor.
Here’s where the infuriating part comes in: the doctor dismissed her symptoms as depression from the onset of menopause and prescribed anti depressants. No tests. No x-rays. Just (what seems like) condescending advice.
She filled the prescription, scheduled a physical and started seeing a therapist. All along the “menopause flag was still being waved at her even though she was having more pains.”
She was continually advised it was all hormones, even though she still had a regular 28-day cycle.
Her symptoms were getting worse and upon getting her physical, the doctor suggested a higher dose of antidepressants and said the pain will go away on its own. Again, no x-ray or testing. Just another woman with menopause symptoms. Harrumph!
In hindsight the signs are obvious, but when you’re in it, you may feel insane. Thankfully, she listened to that voice in her head telling her something wasn’t right and pursued it, returning the next day for an x-ray and blood test.
Ultimately the x-ray led to some scans, which revealed the dreaded cancer.
This is not the first time I’ve heard this story:
- A friend with a persistent cough, given prescription after prescription for antibiotics insisted on further testing and discovered she had Non-Hodgkin’s disease.
- Another who found a lump in her breast and immediately had it checked out and treated (yes, it was breast cancer).
Thankfully both are cancer free to this day, attributed to their self-awareness and persistence.
The list of stories goes on….
I tell you this not to anger or depress you, but instead to uplift and encourage you to be your own health advocate. You often have the power to save yourself.
As you know, I’m a strong proponent of listening to your body, and thank goodness this woman did.
Her treatment and recovery are still unfolding and I pray she will be fine. She selflessly tells her story to encourage her circle to “pay attention to the signs,” so I’m certain she would want that message to extend to you fine folks as well. To remind us all to take heed of signs and be our own advocates. To take care of ourselves. To own and rule our destinies.
Demand an x-ray. Get that mole checked. Take notice of an unusual pain or symptom.
Because who knows you better than you?
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™