I finally had a physical after…several years. You know how it is; you think you’re in great health, minus a few aches, pains, or whatever, until you go to the doctor and they discover all kinds of stuff wrong with you. I have to say, however, that I am blessed with pretty good health, all things considered. I joke that I’ve got great genes, but that’s not necessarily the case. Granted, most of my family have lived to decent old ages, especially my grandmothers. When the nurse asks you for your health history and there’s not much to report, it feels good. I almost felt a little smug. Almost, because I knew what was coming…family history. Any smugness I might have felt a twinge of immediately disappeared and was replaced with mild chagrin. High cholesterol? Yes. Heart disease? Yes. High blood pressure? Yes. Diabetes? Yes. Cancer? Yes. Did I miss any? I lost track.
So far, the only thing that has affected me is the high cholesterol gene, because my cholesterol has always been borderline with not very optimal lipid levels. My triglycerides were pretty high, so I have to go back in a few months to get tested, again. Since I wasn’t fasting, though, I’m not overly concerned. I’ll just tweak my diet, continue my quest to lose weight, and fast before the next appointment.
Oh, yeah, we also have a lipoma gene. A lipoma is a fatty tumor that is usually benign. Apparently, it runs in the family. I know of one (of my mmmany) cousins who had one removed. What I didn’t know, and apparently neither did they, was that both my parents also had them–quite a few of them. They never knew what they were and never thought to get them checked out or ask about them. Now that my Mom knows what they are, maybe she’ll have them looked into. Granted, they probably are not the size of the one in my back, but still. I’m surprised that in a society so obsessed with lumps (but unable to deal with taking their lumps–but that’s for another day and Facebook rants), my parents weren’t concerned.
I wasn’t really, either, until it got to be big enough to start bothering me. So I had it checked out and had them (there were two, turns out) removed. Thankfully, they were benign. The same day I got the benign news, I got another call that I had to have another mammogram to more closely check out a cluster of calcifications. That was not a welcome phone call. Today I had it done and after the technician took the results to the radiologist to read, they both returned within a couple minutes. He introduced himself, hand extended, and as we grasped hands, in the same breath as his name, he said, “You’re okay.”
Whew!! What a sense of relief I felt, as the apprehension and stress disappeared. I’ve never had this particular medical experience, but always had the “C-word” fear in the back of my mind, even though breast cancer doesn’t run rampant in our family like it does in other people’s; there are only two cases I know of and both my aunts survived and are in their seventies. As far as other cancers, pancreatic cancer is an issue, as is the pancreas, in general, it seems. Time will tell with me on that one. I am definitely at high risk of diabetes, especially since I had gestational diabetes with both pregnancies. Once again, diet and exercise are the key to keeping that in check.
My health concerns are very minimal, especially compared to many people I know; I really have nothing major to complain about and much for which to be grateful–and I am, believe me. Granted, I like to poke fun at myself and what aging issues I am discovering as time passes. Today, however, was an eye-opener for me. Even though the odds were in my favour that cancer would not be the diagnosis, even though I have strong faith in God and His divine will, and even though the few people I told offered encouraging words, when I got that phone call telling me to come back for more testing, I was stressed and a bit fearful. It’s a scary thing, just being presented with the possibility, no matter how minuscule it may be, that you may have a disease that seems to be everywhere we look, whether in the news or amongst people we know and love. And it does seem to be so prevalent, whether it’s breast cancer or some other cancer.
Watching the people we love suffer with cancer–in my life, my father was lost to pancreatic cancer after only a few months, and another friend died after battling breast cancer for almost two years–is exceedingly difficult. Trying to understand what the person whose body is battling the cancer or any serious, potentially fatal disease, and whose heart and soul are also embattled, is probably impossible. All those of us on the sidelines can do, as helpless as we feel, is love them, care for them, be there for them, offer encouragement, and pray that they will win the war and live on with us as long as possible.
Cancer is not a huge issue on my side of the family, but there are several on my Southern Man’s side of the family who have it or are now fighting it. We also have had several friends ranging in age from 5 to 65 that have had it. While it’s hard seeing anyone you love get that disease, the youngest ones, whether it’s a child or a parent with younger children, are some of the most heart-breaking to see get diagnosed and do battle, in my mind. Hopefully, there will soon come a day, when the breakthrough cancer cures we’ve been hearing about and hoping for will finally be figured out. In the meantime, if you or a loved one has cancer or any potentially terminal disease, my heart and prayers are with you.
Words seem so insignificant in this case, don’t they….