Thursday, October 15, 2009

Beyond Being Aware

“Doctor’s Office”
“Yes, I’d like to make an appt, please.”
“Sure. Your last name?”
“First Name?”
“Hmmm…..have you ever been here before?”
“Of course…. Well, I missed my annual appt this year in 2009 which is why I’m calling, but…..Hmm…I think I was there last year….
“Hmm….What was your name again?”
(annoyed) “What about looking under something else, like my date of birth?”
“No… wouldn’t be under that…”
“Well, I’ve been coming there for the past 20 years so I’ve got to be in your system.”
“Has it been more than two years since you’ve been here?”
“No…I would not miss my annual appt two years….one maybe…but not two….at least I don’t think I would...….has it been two years?”
“We switched to electronic medical records two years ago and some of our old charts didn’t switch over. I can’t find you anywhere in our system so it must have been at least two years since you’ve been in.”

I couldn’t believe it. Me! MISS ‘Can’t we just all be healthy’……MISS, ‘We need to take care of these bodies because they are the temple of God’……MISS, ‘Get out and take a walk why don’cha!’ It turns out that my last annual gynecology exam was in December 2007! And my last mammogram was January of 2008! It is now October 2009! Shame on me! Before then I never missed a year of having both! What good is it to eat right and exercise on a daily basis, if I don’t take care of me in every other way? What good would it be for us to become more aware of breast cancer this month and never exam our breasts on a regular basis? What good would it be for us this month to learn that some of the little known breast cancer warning signs are: 1) a change in your nipples, 2) redness, swelling or bruising, 3) sore armpits, and 4) discharge, (SHAPE magazine, Oct 2009) if we never pay attention to our bodies? What good would it be for us this month to learn that, 1) body fat boosts your risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, and, 2) women who walked briskly for 30 minutes a day 5 times a week reduced their risk of breast cancer by 20 percent, (Weight Watchers magazine, Sept/Oct 2009) if we act like we are afraid to sweat? What good would it be for us this month to learn that we should “Eat a plant-based diet, which has been shown to help reduce the risk of breast cancer; fill your plate mostly with vegetables, fruits and whole grains,” (FITNESS Magazine, Oct 2009) if we refuse to eat a variety of foods? As we become more aware of breast cancer this month, let’s find ourselves still doing something about it NEXT month and the month after….and the month after. Beyond being aware. What will that look like that to you?

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