Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Have Courage

As a breast cancer survivor, its all too easy to let yearly check-ups slide by the wayside. After all, you've been through the mill with endless MRI's Cat scans and blood tests to last the rest of your lifetime.

Your knee-jerk reaction when it comes to visiting doctors is to stick your head in the sand and reason, I'm not up for bad news, so let's just ignore the whole thing and carry on with life like normal.

I managed to do that all summer, when I finally got up the courage to call my general physician--who origninally found the malignant tumor in my breast two and a half years ago--and get an annual check up.

It was funny how she reacted to my new breasts--which are now implants. She gingerly pressed on them the same way she did the examination back in 2008 till I reminded her that there was no breast tissue there anymore, so she needn't worry--my days of annual mammograms are over.

Still, doesn't leave anything to chance. After a thorough investigation of my blood work, she found my liver wasn't working properly and ordered a sonagram. Knowing what I do about how breast cancer spreads, the first thing I thought was: This is it. The breast cancer spread to my liver.

After the sonogram, I had three anxiety-ridden days waiting for the results. Turns out, all I have is a fatty liver--typical for someone who's cholesterol is off the charts--344!

She got me on Crestor, and I have to make a concerted effort to lose weight and exercise. After three months, I have to recheck my blood work, which will hopefully yield more positive results.

So now I'm going to Weight Watchers and doing my best to exercise most everyday. But, it could be a hell of a lot worse. You see, I have some control over these current health issues. Two years ago, that wasnt' the case. I am just grateful that I can steer my health in a better direction through choices I make everyday. I am not a victim of some scary disease--cancer--where so much more drastic measures need to be taken.

So I did it. I went back to the doctor that found my cancer and asked her to give me an update. The good news? My cancer hasn't come back. The bad news? I have to lose weight. And that's not exactly a huge news flash.

My decision to face the music--good or bad, put my mind at ease because now I know the cancer hasn't come back. What's more, it's forced me to be proactive about my current state of health. It has forced me to deal with the fact that I need to take better care of myself to keep any bad news at bay.

Lesson learned? Once you're done with treatment, keep going to the doctor for updates. Your courage will pay off by making you more proactive about your health. What's more, if you're going to get bad news, when it comes to cancer, it's ALWAYS better to get it sooner, than later.

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