At a recent dental visit, I learned about a growth in my sinus cavity. The dentist referred me to an ear/nose/throat specialist. Later, sitting in the exam chair at the doctor’s office, I realized I was finally taking care of a medical issue as soon as I learned about it. I was finally taking care of my own health.
Over the previous year, I’d had a mammogram, colonoscopy, bone density test, regular checkup, and dental visit. Before you scream “too much information,” let me explain.
I won’t tell you exactly how long it had been since I’d needed these checkups and procedures. But believe me, they were way overdue. Years and years overdue. Other than seeing my general practitioner, I put off everything to do with my own health.
During that time, I regularly made medical appointments for every member of my family. I kept careful notes and set up reminders. I kept records on my computer. I made lists of medications.
I take my role as “mom in charge” very seriously.
So why did I ignore my own health needs? At first, I told myself I was too busy taking care of my family’s needs. I used sick leave time for their appointments, so I couldn’t take off work anymore. I would take care of myself when my kids could drive to their own appointments.
The excuses were endless.
Eventually, I became afraid to get these tests done. I was afraid I’d waited too long. I probably had some terrible disease that couldn’t be fixed.
Remembering how I felt when my parents started having serious health issues, I decided I had to get over my fear. I had to take care of myself in order to take care of my family. The fear of giving my family bad news about my health finally outweighed my fear of getting bad news for myself.
I made appointments with several doctors who made the arrangements for all the tests I needed. One by one, I released that held breath and gained the strength to go on to the next test.
My outcomes, so far, are good. My health is fine.
If you have missed yearly exams, put off important health tests or just put yourself last on the priority list, please do what I say, not what I did. I’m fortunate that I have good health and that none of those timely tests brought bad news.
Please, put yourselves first for a change. Your family will be so grateful. Self-care is one of the most important things you can do for your children.
“Hopelighting” is a compilation of heartwarming stories featuring El Paso children with disabilities. It was written by parents for parents, educators and service providers who work with children with disabilities.
Categories: Family Support