Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful x a Million

I need to be around for these babies.

 Yesterday I went to see my beloved, always-cheerful ob-gyn for my annual exam. Don't worry; that's as far as I'm going with that detail.

When her nurse took my vitals before the exam, my blood pressure and heart rate were crazy high--well, crazy high for me, anyway, something like 120/80 and a pulse of 75. I'm a runner; my normal, non-stressed BP and heart rate are in the 110/60 and 52 range. It was because part of me was FREAKING THE HELL OUT.

I told my doctor that now that I'm in my forties (just barely, you all, but there you are), I'm super-scared every time I go for my check-up. I'm just waiting for the breast cancer or cervical cancer or ovarian cancer or skin cancer diagnosis.

That may sound paranoid and crazy, but honestly, don't you feel like cancer is EVERYWHERE these days? Especially breast cancer; every time I open a magazine I swear there's a profile of some healthy young mom who found a lump in her breast when she was 32 and almost died. Or there's a remembrance of someone's sister or friend who died at age 40 of breast cancer and left three young children behind. It's terrifying. Awareness is wonderful; but the media has become a vast warehouse of cancer stories. And then, for all of us, there are the friends and relatives we know who have been diagnosed, or had a scare, or lost their lives. After awhile it seems a logical conclusion that cancer is inevitable. It's only a matter of time.

My lovely doctor is the type who insists that you keep your clothes on after your vitals, because she comes in and chats with you about your life and your well-being before going out again for a minute so you can undress for your exam. And she doesn't care if the chat goes on for awhile because she's asking about your kids and your running schedule. She assured me that since I exercise regularly and eat a ton of antioxidant-heavy vegetables, I've cut any risk we all have by a huge degree. She said even when doctors factor in genetics, those healthy-lifestyle choices knock your odds of not getting cancer up into the "excellent" category.

Today, I am thankful for my health. I do not have cancer. I have two small children who need me. I don't know what the future holds, but for now, I have no medical problems that endanger my functioning or my life. I'm extremely healthy. And I'm so, so, SO grateful for that.

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