Friday, December 5, 2014

To health and happiness. Slainte or Salut.

I am 41 glorious years old. I'm healthy and happy about it. I hope to be here for decades to come.
Yes I grabbed this from marathon It's me in all of my 41 year old running glory. Yes I am slouching. I'm also totally not sure what's happening with my leg there. Is that a shadow? Geez let's hope so because otherwise it's leg flab which is distressing.
This year I had my first mammogram. And the purpose of this post is to assure my girl friends and readers who come after me that the mammogram is no big deal. It doesn't hurt at all and it takes about 5 minutes. Seriously, I wouldn't even call it uncomfortable. 

So, please don't be afraid of the test.

Now as it turns out my first mammogram was a non-event mostly because it didn't really show anything. I'm dense. No really - apparently my breasts are dense. Apparently it's not uncommon for a traditional mammogram to be ... What is the word I'm looking for ... Worthless. Like I said - turns out my breast tissue is dense and so you can't see much in the images. So, I was called back to the center to get a different test.  The second time it's a sonogram.

The sonogram was also no big deal. Well other than it tickled in my armpit.

So why do I even mention this potential failure of this magical important test? Because in my opinion, it's important to not put too much faith in modern medicine, the people we call doctors who direct us in our medicine and the seemingly endless tests that we are supposed to get every year as we get older. Yes, they can be great and save lives but also they can be imperfect and even I guess flawed. For me acknowledging the failings of modern medicine is as important as acknowledging the great miracles it brings.

Age comes with wisdom but youth is the price
We have all heard the stories. We all know women who have had breast cancer to different ends. I know somebody who know after years of active testing just found that her body was suddenly riddled with cancer. Even I without my medical degree shake my head and say ... What? How? Why? Another person I know just found out they have terminal lung cancer throughout their body - this despite regular checkups was not discovered until it was throughout the body. Again it makes me wonder - what are the tests we take doing if they aren't catching this.

I first wondered this when my dad was diagnosed with heart disease. He wasn't in perfect health but sort of all of a sudden he had almost total heart blockages everywhere. First, I was of the opinion my dad wasn't being truthful that he had actually been going to the doctor but in fact before his surgery he produced reports from the exam from a doctor who had looked and checked. He had gone from clear bill of cardiac health to heart attack in about 8 months. That was stunning because before then I had thought of this decay as a slow and gradual process. Part of it probably is slow and gradual but it can also be super speedy. Sadly, a clear checkup is really only evidence of what can be shown to the doctor today. Tomorrow might be a different result.

This was a beautiful sunrise over the beach. That's the balcony of our hotel room at the Doubletree Cocoa Beach. I love watching the sun rise over the ocean. I'm pretty sure I would like to see this every morning. This is something my husband I and I have been talking about. Or rather I have been speaking at him about it.
Death, dying and the big C (for Cancer) are very hard to face. I try to think I'm very zen about the circle of life/death but in truth there hasn't been much to test me specifically on this. So I really don't know how my zen will pan out.

So it's a balance. Yes, get tested. Yes, know your body. Yes, do self exams-eat correctly, exercise. Yes, don't fear the test and yes, don't expect too much from the test, the test giver and the mighty m.d. behind it all.

Live your life today for today and as if there is perhaps no tomorrow.

FYI - the doctor already looked at my sonogram. For today my boobies are a-okay!

Up on my soapbox  
Here is a link to a story of a woman I know. Our children went to preschool at the same school at the same time but never in the same classroom. I know her but not well enough to call her friend. She was already battling her cancer then. It's a tough story to hear. She's a tough lady. Sadly she may be near the end of her fight. This story is very sad but it's important. Watch this. Take a moment to be thankful that you yourself aren't sick and don't feel guilty about that - it's okay to be thankful for our health. Then think about her story again. If you feel moved share it with people you know because that's how change or progress might happen. This could happen to any one of us. This kind of insurance battle happens every day to people. It's ridiculous. Of course, insurance companies can't dole out $10k in medicine to everybody that's ridiculous. It's ridiculous in part because it's totally flipping insane that any medicine should/could/would ever be $10k. Totally insane. I don't have a solution. Just add me to the people who are saying something here is messed up.

Woman Locked In Fight With Insurance Co. Over Cancer Treatment « CBS Miami

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