Sunday, February 12, 2012

Everything Happens for a Reason . . .

I got a call this morning from a friend of mine, Jamie the Yarn Snob.  (She doesn't blog much anymore, but you never know, she might start up again ;-) )

She was calling to thank me for writing last week about my annual physical.  More specifically, she was calling to thank me for mentioned the ocular migraine I had a number of years ago that led me to start having annual physicals . . .

I wrote that post last Saturday, February 4th.  The description of my ocular migraine symptoms resonated with her, and she made an appointment with her eye doc.  Saw him on Friday, February 10th . . . and had surgery early yesterday morning to repair one of her retinas and do some preventative work on the other.

Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ . . .

Before we go further, you should know that Jamie is OK and is home, recovering nicely from surgery. 

But here's the deal:  She told me she'd been having the flashing light sensation for awhile in the bottom corner of her vision and the occasional sensation of pressure, but her regular doctor didn't think it was serious.  When she read my post, she decided to go to the eye doctor.  She had no other symptoms and was still seeing 20/20.  They would have operated on her immediately had there not been a scheduling issue - instead, they took her in the next morning and she had outpatient surgery on both eyes.  The good news is that her retina had not actually torn.  They were able to fix what was going on, and did some preventative Lasik on her other eye.  They checked on her again this morning and so far, so good.

Have you been to your eye doctor in the last year?  I think it's human nature to avoid doctors unless we are really sick.  But the older I get, the more I find this to be true:   Just because you don't know you have an illness (like cancer) or a chronic condition (like high blood pressure or asthma) doesn't mean that everything is fine.  

Jamie is a healthy, 35-year-old woman.  Her blood pressure is normal.  Her vision was still 20/20.  She had no other symptoms of anything wonky with her retinas except for the flashing light part, and from what she told me on the phone, it was not as dramatic as mine was.

It is our right to love ourselves, right here, right now, wherever we are on our respective paths, and seeing your doctor(s) for all the annual stuff is part of that love.  It is our responsibility to care for ourselves - we are all we've got.

I told you all that this year I would be chronicling my life through this blog.  Women's health is something that I feel very strongly about, so . . .

::::::stepping up to the soapbox::::::::

My friends, if you haven't had a physical in the past year, please schedule one.  If you haven't had your annual mammogram and pap smear, call your gynecologist and schedule an annual exam.  If you haven't been to the eye doctor in the last year, get on the horn and get set up.  If you're 50, have you had a colonoscopy yet (they don't hurt)?  What are you waiting for?

Yes, you DO have the time.  There are free clinics if you are uninsured.  And you are so, so worth it.  We are meant to live our lives as best we can.  We are meant to be healthy and strong.  We are meant to do those things that make our hearts sing - and we cannot do any of these things if we do not take care of ourselves.

Jamie is an artist.  She has a degree in fine art and fiber art from one of the most prestigious art schools in the country (if not the world).  She works in an industry that utilizes her ability to see and evaluate art every single day.  What would her life be like if she had ignored her intuition about her eye and possibly lost some (maybe all?) of her sight? 

What would your life be like if you lost yours . . .?

I am so thankful I wrote that post last weekend.  I am so thankful that Jamie read and recognized something in that post that prompted her to investigate further.  I am so thankful that she's going to be OK.

I'm on the soapbox so strongly because it has been my experience that many women ignore their health.  They operate on the "no news is good news" principle.  I know, because I used to be one of them.  I scheduled an annual OB/GYN visit every year, and had a mammogram, but that was it.  I didn't see why I should spend money every year when there was nothing wrong with me.

Well - like I said before, just because you don't know about something doesn't mean that it's not there.  The first year I had my physical, I found about about my high triglycerides.  This year, I can see from my test results that I have a little work to do in that area and the cholesterol area again. 

I went to the opthamologist this past year because I had Lasik eye surgery back in 1997 and I'm supposed to get checked out every five years or so - but also because I have a cousin only two years older than I who had cataracts last year.  I found out that I have a cataract forming in my left eye.  The doc said it's nothing serious, just to watch it and be aware of the symptoms of it worsening.  Probably won't have to do anything about it until I'm in my 70's, but I'm aware of it, and I know what to watch for. 

I am so, so grateful that I'm healthy and strong.  I plan to keep it that way to the best of my ability, and the ability of the awesome doctors I'm so lucky to call "mine."  My internist. My gynecologist.  My opthamologist and my optometrist.  My dentist.  My podiatrist. 

Make the call.

:::::::::stepping off the soapbox::::::::

OK done now . . . for now   ;-)

In other news of the day- these plants are going to their new home today  :-)  Mostly baby violets, one Episcia (the pink thing in the bag), and some leaf cuttings from both violets and streptocarpus.  Yay!  That's a lot of stuff off my shelves, and almost all of it duplicates!

Violets Leaving

And I was saddened to hear of the death of Whitney Houston at the age of 48.  No cause of her death has been released, and frankly, it's nobody's business.  There's a lot of speculation about drugs and addiction - but no one knows anything for sure.  Me, I'm thinking her heart just couldn't keep going.

One of my favorites of hers, back in the 80's, when she seemed so beautiful, so happy, so talented, so everything  . . . Rest in Peace, Whitney.


Linda said...

Yep, it sure does. One of my colleagues just had surgery where they removed her uterus and ovaries...and the cancerous tumor that had grown around on of those ovaries. She is 65 and hadn't been to the GYN doc in a few years, but noticed some problems when she was prepping for her colonoscopy. She went in to see Dr. K (yep, she has the same GYN as us!) who felt the tumor during her exam and performed an ultrasound right there to confirm it. Her internal medicine doc didn't detect it during his pelvic exam of her, though. She should be OK. It was ovarian cancer, stage 1. She said it is rare to have it detected at such an early stage and she feels lucky. I'm hoping she can keep up her good spirits as she goes through chemo.

yarnsnob said...

Does every woman in Chicago have the same doctor K? Thank you THANK YOU again!

A :-) said...

Yes, I think they do :-D I recommend Dr. K to everyone. He's awesome!

And you are most welcome, my friend. I'm so glad you are going to be OK :-)