Friday, February 11, 2011

When Arrogance Bites You in the Arse, or bones . . .

I’ve been quite arrogant about my good health. In fact, I rarely go to the doctor because I rarely am sick. It would have to be something acute and severe—and even then I put it off, as I did when I had appendicitis and ended up in the emergency room at 2AM with an angry appendix about to explode. I didn’t have a pap smear for 3 years, nor my mammogram (shame), and when I went, she said I was overdue for a bone density. “No problemo,” I said haughtily, “But it’ll be a waste of time since my bones are STRONG.”

The bone density Tech said, “You waited five years between scans,” I answered, “Well, they said my bones were a lot younger than I am, so I didn’t see the need.” She smiled a bit. I said, “Yeah, that’s the problem with uber healthy people, they’re usually the ones blindsided by something.” That smile again.

My mammogram and pap came back “healthy,” but what I was excited to hear about was my bone density, because last time, those five years ago, I had an A+++ bone scan. Since I’ve been running for the last ten months, and have just started back with weight training over the last month, I wondered if my bones were even better! Yeah!

So imagine my surprise when the doc left a message on my phone that while everything looked good overall, there was an area around my hip and femur that had a little Osteopenia, but since it was so slight, I didn’t need to do anything except keep up what I was doing with my exercise and to make sure I was taking the recommended calcium and Vitamin D . . . blah blah blah she said some more but I was not listening because I was . . . I was, um, blindsided.

Huh? What? Me? But . . . but . . . dammit! I was pissed off. I wondered: what did I do or not do to cause some bone loss, even if it was very small, compared to five years ago. When did it happen? How? And if I hadn’t taken up running and weights again, would it be worse? And and and, pissy pissy pissy went my thoughts. Folks, I fully expected another A+++ and when I didn’t get it, I was mad.

But this taught me something—that I can believe I am invincible, that I am Super Woman, that I am strong and healthy and full of vitality and life and energy and that will always be the case never-ending, that I can run and do weights and yoga, and I can feel the health zipping through my body, but . . . without machines and the like looking into the deeper parts of me, I don’t really know what’s going on inside. I was blindsided, just as I’d quipped to the technician.

Granted, my osteopenia may never progress into anything more, but it still brought me up short. It made me feel vulnerable. The next day when I ran, I kept thinking there was a weak spot in me and I hated that weak spot—never mind I didn’t even know it was there until I was told.

What I’m taking from this is to stop my lackadaisical attitude towards testing and screening that my doctors suggest. They don’t suggest it lightly to me, since they rarely see me, and know how healthy I am. But they also know what can lurk when we least expect it.

Our bodies are wondrous things. I consider myself a person who takes care of herself, but sometimes our bodies betray us with the unknown, and sometimes there are factors we didn’t take into consideration that may affect our health—not eating enough, eating too much, stress, not enough exercise, too much exercise, not taking our vitamins or eating the foods that supply them, etc etc etc. Pick one that fits.

If you are able, then I urge you to have regular screenings that your trusted doctor recommends.

My goal now is to go back in that bone scan room in two years and have my doc say that nothing has progressed, and if at all possible, that I made it better.

Now—call your doctors (or quit ignoring their calls as I did). Suck it up. Bite the bullet. Don’t be blindsided. And if there is something lurking around, catch it before it progresses and do what you can to fix it.

22 comments:

B. WHITTINGTON said...

Great advice. I've had some health issues so often put off regular check ups.
Yesterday I made appts for hubby and I to get full physicals, much over due. Thanks for this post. Hopefully it will touch those who need to hear this message.
Blessings, Barb
Check out my latest post, The Funeral Home Visit
www.barbwhitti.blogspot.com
Writing: the ups and downs

Lori said...

I too am healthy over all and when I started having issues I put off going in to the doctor. When I found out that my thyroid was making me very sick and that my adrenal glands had pretty much stopped working, I realized that had I went in sooner it might not have been so bad. Granted we don't have insurance so that is one of the top reasons I don't go in. Thankfully, I am healthy other than this issue!

You inspire Kat! Thanks! XX

Diane said...

This getting old thing really stinks. Our bodies just can't process nutrients and things the same way.... :O(

Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) said...

I am going to try to dig out a few articles to reduce your anxiety. Quite normal things have been medicalized by the health industry and made to sound urgent and dangerous when they aren't. Not surprisingly, they end up leading to medication or intervention.

For instance, unless they used the exact same machine on both occasions, there is a variation in measurement which could *look* like a change for the worse, but is simply a function of the difference in the machine. So. Stay motivated. Exercise, as you have been doing. Talk to me further. (If you want.)

KarenG said...

This post reminds me of a show I saw once about really healthy and fit people getting "blindsided" (good word) by cancer in their 40's and 50's. They ate healthy and exercised yet still got cancer. *so glad this isn't cancer you are dealing with!!!* It sounds like you are doing more to stay healthy than most people (like me lol) and really, what more can anyone do? Our bodies start aging from the moment we are born, until our last day on earth.

john bord said...

There is overreaction and then there is under reaction.

Liza said...

Funny to read this post when this morning I said to myself, time to schedule a physical. Time to schedule a Mamo. Bone density? They haven't hit me up on that one yet. Perhaps at the next physical. One more thing...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Kat .. we are so lucky we have these screenings .. and in general our health will be good - but we need to take more care of our body and be aware.

Good for you - glad all's ok .. Hilary

Sharla said...

Yep, last year's cancer roller coaster gave me that message. Still have my rocks by the way...from some speeeeeecial people. Just sayin'...

Thanx for the congrats on my blog! I'm so excited but I'm so worthless at work right now...LOL.

Karen said...

Gulp, I can't hear you...la..la...la.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Yes, we all think we are invincible and verging on being immortal. It's hard to accept that we are not, as my case of having to have a total hip relapcement a year ago. Who would have thought it . . . ME . . . I ran 6 miles every day and had a pulse rate at rest of 47 beats per minute. Super fit Eddie LOL. The body is wonderful indeed but not immortal alas..

Very sound advice on having the medical checks.

You must be a very fit lady. Hope it all works out well for you ~ Eddie

rosaria said...

Absolutely! And start eating better today, with the next meal, and the next meal. Healthy bodies equals healthy minds.

Mimi said...

You're describing me!
I always think I'm 20 years younger than I am; well, I've more energy than most people 20 years younger than me!
Lol at the imagining things wrong with you while running!

michiko said...

So glad that you know nothing wrong in your body.
I'm likes yours rarely go to the doctor but one day I went to had my cholesterol test then my doctor was shocked to seen it was very high ..you know why I went to had test because my friends had tested.
mmo1/L 0.0-5.5 mine was 9.
After that I had on medication.

Another one was lack of Vitaimin-D I said my doctor I don't understand that I have played my golf three time in the weeks?
He said because I used the protect the sun cream :-)

My car's needed to have service as well as my body too LOL!
Keeps it up your health :-)

Angie Ledbetter said...

I did some bone and general tests offered all in one place about 4 months ago, but yeah, need to do the mammo/pap/colon*#@%#!%!@# thing. Gark! But I'm gonna make appointments Monday as a Valentine's gift to myself. :)

Deb Shucka said...

Great advice. I'm one of those mostly healthy people who avoided doctors and their screenings with some intensity until menopause when I discovered I had met my match.

Terri Tiffany said...

Because of our current financial situation, I put off my mammogram and PAP but was thankful it was ok when I finally did. My mom had oster (can't spell it!!) and I know I'm at risk but never had a scan---when I had good insurance it didn't pay for it. Now I don't so I take VIt D and walk everyday but can't yet run though hubby is encouraging me to work into it.
Great reminder:) Now let's talk hormones for oldies like me!! AHHHHHH!!

Hanny said...

This is why I hurt my back! Healthy all the time, then BOOM!
You have the personality of someone who is going to live almost forever, but it's important to remember that we are merely mortals. I hope you stay healthy. Those long walks will help you:)

Marguerite said...

Good advice, but I wouldn't see it as anything to worry about. We will all have some bone loss as we get older, no matter how healthy we are. We shrink, too. So take your vitamin D and calcium! :)

Kerry said...

I have never had a bone scan, but maybe I should. Oh dear. Like you I've always been so healthy.

Kaye said...

Healthy people can get blindsided is an understatement! I'm never sick, never. Not even a cold but in September I woke up with a sympton I couldn't ignore and was then diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Talk about blindsided, gobsmacked, aghast. Sheeesh! Luckily for me it was not advanced at all so surgery took care of it. But now i have to go for checkups every three months for 2 years. Getting old is not for wimps, that's for sure. Take care of yourself.

Jill of All Trades said...

Although I've never had the bone scan thing I do, faithfully have my pap and mammo every year. My best friend didn't do the pap, at all and when she had issues she had stage 3 cerival cancer! So go, RUN to have your stuff taken care of! Thank you!