“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” What a great quote by Buddha. It makes a great point – good health builds a solid foundation for a strong and clear mind. So today I’m talking about the importance of making health a priority.
I’ve been sick for the last three months with a sinus infection and bad allergy flare ups, although they’ve been chronic for the last few years. I’m now on my third round of antibiotics for the sinus infection. Third time’s a charm, right?
My allergies have been jacked and my inhaler doesn’t seem to do much. I’ve been taking two allergy pills a day and Benadryl as needed when hives creep in. My migraines have been getting progressively worse. And my annual anaphylaxis occurred last weekend. I’m a hot mess right now. Something has to change.
Sure, it’s not an overnight fix. I can’t wave a magic wand and expect these health issues to disappear. Although if I could, I definitely would. It will take some mental, emotional, and physical adjustments.
Many times I throw in the towel and resign myself to the fact that I’ll always be sick or I’ll never feel 100%. It started after years of migraines. I started getting them more and more. At the time, I hated my job which I’m sure contributed to it. I was just dealing with my mom’s dementia diagnosis. I lost my job because I was getting migraines every day. And to be honest, my illnesses seem minor compared to having cancer or other life threatening diseases.
If you don’t make it a priority who will? You have to be your number one advocate. No one can do it for you. Sure they can help. But if you don’t consider your health to be a priority, why should anyone else?
You deserve to be healthy. Yes you. Stop thinking you don’t. Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking we don’t matter so why should our health matter. First off, you matter. Just as you are with all your flaws and insecurities. Not that you have any of those. Me neither.
In my case, I think since I don’t have a serious illness it’s not important. Any illness can be serious and should be treated as such. Just because you don’t have MS, cancer or Lupus doesn’t mean that your health concerns shouldn’t take them seriously. Letting them go now can lead to more problems down the road. Taking care of them now can head off more serious problems later.
It’s not that bad When it comes to migraines, I kind of ride a rollercoaster. When I have one I’m so wiped out that I spend most of my time in bed. Then when it has passed, I’m feeling so good that I’m convinced I’ll never have one again. It took my husband to tell me that he thinks they’ve been getting a lot worse over the last few months for me to actually take action.
If people around you are commenting on your health, take it to heart. Yeah, it can get annoying when people feel the need to make comments about it. Try not to take it too personally and instead hear what they have to say. Is your health making you miss a lot of work? Are you canceling plans because you’re always under the weather? Do you frequently talk about how bad you’re feeling? Sometimes we try hard to ignore our symptoms only to have those around us recognize them.
People depend on you. I’m sure there is at least one other person (or pet) that depends on you. A parent or child. A spouse or sibling. A significant other. Coworkers, friends from volunteer organizations or church, or a pet. If someone depends on you then you need to be at your best. If someone looks up to you, then you need to show them that you value your health. Setting a good example for them lets them know that they should and deserve to make their health a priority.
By letting your health go, you lose sight of the fact that you can actually get better. I throw in the towel when treatments aren’t working for me. Maybe I put too much faith in my doctor. And then when something doesn’t work, I just assume we’ve exhausted all options so now I just have to live with how things are.
That’s crazy. Think of all the new and amazing medical advances that are occurring around us all the time. Science is awesome. Just because something didn’t work doesn’t mean it can’t work in the future. Or that there aren’t other things out there I could try.
If there is one thing social media is good for it’s getting advice (ok sometimes unsolicited and completely unhelpful) and recommendations from others. Because lets face it, science is too big for us to keep up on every technological advancement. I can’t possibly fill my brain with all that information when too much space is already being used to store movie quotes. Throw it out to your connections on social media (if you feel comfortable doing so) and see what recommendations they have. Some might surprise you and be exactly what you needed but didn’t know existed.
Reasons we sometime avoid making health a priority
It’s too much work. Have you ever heard yourself saying this?! I have. All the damn time. I dread calling for an appointment. What if I’m on hold for a long time? I should probably call later when I have time to be on hold. It’s too hard to toggle between my call and my calendar. What if I can’t get in for a while? Well, better late than never. The sooner you start, the less work it will be. Take baby steps.
What if the problem is serious? I’m not prepared to deal with that. Being afraid of the diagnosis isn’t a good reason for not making the appointment. It’s even more reason that you should make an appointment.
My mom lost her best friend to breast cancer because she was too scared to make the appointment. She felt like something was wrong but was afraid of the news she’d get. So she avoided making the appointment. And when finally did, her breast cancer was beyond treatable.
The minute my mom suspected she had breast cancer ,she made an appointment and got seen by a doctor as soon as she could. She was successfully treated for it. Eleven years later in came back in the other breast and again she contacted her doctor right away. Again she was treated for it.
I have a friend who is a nurse who doesn’t get breast exams because she would never want to have her breasts operated on. So she just ignores the whole breast cancer issue.
I find this crazy. Yes, it can be scary to face the unknown. But the sooner you get seen the sooner you know what you’re dealing with and you can move on to the next phase. Don’t let fear hold you back. Take action.
I’ve been getting mammograms since my twenties due to my family history of breast cancer. I’ve never seen it as optional. And I’ve never feared getting them. Sure, they’re a little uncomfortable. But I don’t find them terribly painful. Yeah it’s not fair that men don’t have to have their junk smashed into something once a year.
Get support if you need it. Some people like to go through health things on their own. I’m one of them. I don’t want to worry anyone. The few times I’ve had to be in the hospital, I don’t want anyone to visit. I don’t want them to make a fuss or have to go out of their way for me. Granted, I’ve never had a serious health illness so maybe that had something to do with it. But my mom was the same way when she had breast cancer two different times. My dad was the opposite. He needed people there all the time. Granted, he when to the doctor at 20 for his pre-employment physical then didn’t go back until he was 80. It’s a personal preference.
You know how much support you need. And people want to be there for you. They want to help, they just need to be told what they can do. So if you need it, ask. Be specific and tell people how they can help. Do you need meals prepared for you? Trips to appointments? Someone to sit with you while your going through treatment? Let people know and they can choose what works for them and plays to their strengths.
Don’t ever feel bad about asking for support. I guarantee people will be thankful that you’ve not only asked for their help but that you’ve told them exactly how they can best help you.
So where am I at with my health? In the last couple weeks I’ve made great strides in making appointments. It makes me wonder why I wasted so much time dragging my feet when I could have been taking action. I think the universe is trying to tell me not to procrastinate with my health.
I saw the neurologist. I got put on a new medication which has been making me feel amazong. Plus, I got approved for Botox and insurance is paying for it. It worked really well six years ago and has kept me out of the ER. I was reluctant and felt vain for considering it. But I had migraines every day for a year and was willing to try anything. And now that they’ve gotten bad again I’m ready to give it another try. Bye bye migraines and bye bye Shar Pei forehead.
I got put on a heavy course of treatment for my sinus infections. It’s only day four and I’m already feeling so much better. I’m hoping that with my chronic sinus infections we can cut to the chase in the future. If they keep up, I need a CT scan of my sinuses to see what is going on.
And I saw my allergist today. He had me come in STAT after the weekend’s anaphylactic shock incident. Seven vials of blood later we’re on the road to figuring out what is going on with my body. Or he’s a vampire. What happened over the weekend was serious enough that he wants me back in a month versus a year. I’m so happy I stepped up and made the call to his office. Especially since my symptoms weren’t the normal anaphylactic shock ones I usually get.
I feel like I’m really on top of my health issues right now. I know there will be backsliding. There will be times when I’m too lazy to make an appointment. Or I don’t want to give up a free day to go see a doc. Or I will convince myself that I can never be pain free so why even try. But when those things happen, I hope to look back on this moment. I hope to remember that it’s not too much work. Because it’s my health. And that deserves to be a priority.
No matter what kind of health issues you’re facing, you deserve to make it a priority. Whether it’s mental, physical, or psychological take the time you need to get the care you need. You owe it to yourself and those around you.
How do you make your health a priority?