“Not just for herself; but also for those who care about her, a lady takes care of herself. Our health is something we have control over, to a large degree, and we should take it seriously. A lady knows this so she tries to learn from what others before her have gone through. Here’s what a lady does to stay healthy
- she gets regular checkups, including a pelvic exam once or twice a year (as her doctor advises), dental visits and eye exams
- she learns how to do and gives herself regular breast self-exams
- Health is her most important asset, so she’s comfortable discussing her health concerns with her doctors. (if she’s intimidated, she makes a list in advance.)
- She pays attention to her body. If a health issue arises, she takes care of it as soon as possible. If she cannot afford a doctor or does not have health coverage, she finds out which free clinics provide the best care and utilizes them.
- When she is really ill or going through a hard tim, she calls on family and friends to give her support – just as she’d do for them
- She makes an effort to eat right and exercise regularly, knowing that doing so doesn’t just make her live longer, but also makes her feel (and look) better.”
– The Art and Power of Being a Lady by Noelle Cleary and Dini Von Mueffling
Now I just want to start by saying I don’t agree with everything in this passage from “The Art and Power of Being a Lady” (especially having control over your health as I think a number of people with chronic illnesses might disagree with that). But most of it I think is top advice.
I was lucky in a lot of respects growing up in a family filled with strong women. Especially my two grandmothers. My Grandmama was an advocate of self check breast exams and made sure she had her pap smear every two years. She harassed friends who didn’t and made it very clear to me it was important. Her being so open about it led me to make sure I did the same.
My Nana was just as awesome. Even though the two women might seem like polar opposites (My gran being a loud & brash and outspoken and a big woman while my nan is quiet, reserved and tiny) they had a lot in common when it came to women’s health. It’s thanks to my Nana educating me on doing my pelvic floor exercises that even after 4 kidlets I am not at all weak in that area.
I know finding time to look after yourself, especially if you’re a mum/carer/have a job ect, is hard. BUT it is very important. Oddly enough I was talking to a lady at the deli today and we got talking and it led to her telling my girls (with tears in her eyes) to take care of themselves first, as no one else (except for mum) will do that for you. She is so right. Even speaking from my own point of view where my husband is in a full time caring role, at the end of the day it comes down to me. He will help feed and even bathe me when things are bad (and yes they have been that bad), but he won’t make me go for a run, or have a check up for no reason other than “I think it’s time to check up on everything”. That all comes down to me.
I was also reading this timely post at Carly Findlay’s Blog HERE where she spoke about how most of her self care energy goes in to managing her chronic illness. This is something I can really relate to as so much of my energy goes into making sure I get to therapy, keeping up with medications and trying not to have a complete melt down with anxiety when it comes time I HAVE to go to the doctor for prescription refills ect. that I have no energy left to have a basic check up. When I found out I had diabetes I was quite freaked out as when I am particularly anxious I tend to binge eat. I really worried about how I was going to manage both illnesses.
Last week I had to see a doctor. It was a new doctor that hubby convinced me to try. I was so incredibly anxious I threw up before I left and was visibly sweating and almost crying while in there. After he (awesomely) covered the things I was there for he gently encouraged me to have a blood test to check everything else was ok. He pointed out it was especially a good idea as I am on a number of medications that can have all sorts of side effects. He wanted to make sure I was ok. He also suggested I might no longer have diabetes after our discussion on that. He was thorough and gentle and a really nice man. He was so nice he managed to entice me back to actually get the results.
On my second visit I had my overdue pap smear. I was actually really annoyed at myself when I realised its been 3 years since my last one. I have always been so good about getting them, especially as it’s only once every two years. After that was done we talked about my family history of breast cancer and whether or not I personally (as for everything, you & your doctor make the decisions on your circumstances) needed regular doctor breast exams. He also sent me for another round of blood tests to FINALLY be tested for gluten intolerance which I have suspected I have had for over 15 years. I also discovered I no longer have diabetes (go me!) and discussed what that meant (as it can always come back again if I stop looking after myself).
There is still a lot I need to do. I need to see a dentist. I need to have my annual eye check up. I could do with getting a back/neck adjustment after hurting my neck a month ago. It’s hard. But worth it.
It can take some time to find a doctor that works for you. That understands you. That is thorough. And it’s frustrating. You can feel like giving up – I know I do. Especially as I feel like the past 18 months I have worked so hard on my mental health and some days it feels like not only am I getting no where, but it isn’t getting easier.
Keep looking after yourself ladies!
Miss Fairchild xoxo