How To Be Proactive With Your Health
Go big or go home!
A health care challenge is when you decide to take your health into your hands. You set your mind to accomplish all that is required. You prepare a plan of action and go forth.
I set my challenge to begin in October of 2014 which gave me 31 days to complete it. Well, that plan didn't work out. My challenge continued into November. I do nothing small or simple. When I give myself a challenge, I go full force. I don't sit around and wait for things to happen, I make them happen. I don't wait for answers, I seek them out and nail them down.
I am proactive when it comes to my health. Why wait until you have symptoms to go to the doctor? Preventative medicine is available for all. Even if you don't have insurance...ask your local hospital, you just might be surprised with what you find out.
Some hospitals offer discounts to the uninsured. Doctors do also. There are NO excuses for not taking care of yourself. In the words of Nike, "Just Do It!" Consider it a challenge. Go through with your challenge, no matter what obstacles you might encounter. Do not allow fear or nerves or "what if's" to hinder your mission. Go big or go home!
Health care tune up begins...
So many body parts. Where do I begin? My teeth. Why? Because I had an aching wisdom tooth for about 6 months and it was time to tend to it. My dentist sent me to an Oral Surgeon to evaluate the situation. He said, this tooth has to go. Huh? I haven't had a tooth pulled since I was a child!
While we are at it the wisdom tooth directly above it must go also, because it will just become loose and painful since it doesn't have a buddy on the bottom. In addition that tooth has a condition called, pericoronitis. What? The gum tissue is swollen and infected around the wisdom tooth. Seriously? I came here for an evaluation and he's talking about knocking me out and yanking two teeth! Not just one! That sounds brutal and not how I expected my morning to go.
Oh well, I put on my big girl panties and told him to skip the knock out drugs and just pull 'em out. Huh? Why would you do that to yourself? Hello...ain't nobody got time to wait...do what you have to do! And boy did he...He shot me up with some novacaine and I had a 3 minute exorcism of my mouth. 10 minutes later I was in my car ready to drive home and recooperate. I felt NO pain. I heard some crunching which was him breaking the root off the top tooth. I will never forget that sound. I had no pain afterwards and healed well. All that happened was I lost two teeth and some wisdom. For the record...the tooth fairy does not leave money for adults, which I think is bogus.
My next stop were my peepers. I have a family history of glaucoma so each year I need to have screening done. I had already started the process in September, but I was due for my Visual Fields Test. If you've never had it done, it's like playing a Nintendo game. You have a patch over one eye, a controller in one hand. Your chin is placed on a chin rest. You are looking into a dome shaped object. The room is dark. The test begins...you focus on one spot, and never look away, the machine will tell on you if your eyes begin to roam. When you spot a dot in your peripheral vision you click your controller. I am hyperactive and can not sit still, and neither can my eyes. The test took about 5 minutes, but my right eye failed to behave. My left eye was a scholar student. My right eye needed to go back for detention in a couple of weeks.
All aboard the colonoscopy train...
Next step was a colonoscopy. My third one in 6 years. I have this preventive procedure done because I have a family history of colon cancer. WHY my parents couldn't just leave me money instead of health concerns I'll never understand.
My colonoscopy was set for October 15th at noon. The scheduled time had changed three times, later instead of earlier. I'm not the type of person to sit around and wait. When there is something that needs to be done, I want it done now, not later. I spent two days prepping because I'm anal like that. I wanted to be sure the tunnel was all cleaned and there was nothing left behind to scare the crap out of the doctor. I chatted with the nurses while I awaited my ride to the "room of doom." Kidding! I was actually really looking forward to my sedation. Oh yes, how I look forward to my 20 minute nap with Mr. Propofol. He's kind, gentle and never asks for anything in return.
Getting back to the nurses, they shared with me how they never had a colonoscopy because they feared them! Huh? Are you serious? You are prepping and prodding me and you've never done this. So I found myself trying to convince the medical professionals to have the medical procedure done. How ironic. They were over the age of 50, I hope they adhered to my advice. A colonoscopy is so simple. The Prep is getting easier each year...OK, cleaning out will not be easy, but it's the Perfect Cleanse.
Two polpys were discovered! Hold up! I no longer have the Perfect Colon? My colon has been infiltrated by strange little objects! No problem, they were removed. One month later, yes a bit late, but I called before hand to find out...my strange little polyps didn't pack such a wallop, they were hyperplastic, the non-cancerous type. Yay! I was good to go for 3 more years.
The tune up continues...
The day after my colonscopy I awoke with an upper respiratory infection. NO hiccups allowed during my mission! Well, this hiccup took me into November. No longer was my challenge just for October.
Pit stop for a dental cleaning. Gotta take care of those teeth. No cavities! Always thankful for good news.
After a week of hacking I headed to my doctors thinking I could have pneumonia. There is a slim possibility of contracting pneumonia after being sedated for any procedure. Doc ordered a chest xray. She said, while you are it (oh no, not those words again!) how about I order you a Carotid Ultrasound too since you are on the health care challenge and you do have a family history of heart disease. Oh my, there they go blaming my parents again for not just leaving me dripping in diamonds. I said, why not! Anything else on the menu sound good?
I went forth and had the Carotid Ultrasound and chest xray done on the same day. Piece of cake, so I thought. The following day I picked up the reports. By the way, I spoke with a few people who didn't know they could pick up their reports without having to wait for their follow up visit with their doctor, ask...chances are you can also.
Results: My carotid arteries are those of a twenty year old! Outstanding news! My chest xray...not so much. Another hiccup has attempted to block my path. I didn't have pneumonia, but the xray found a 9mm nodule in my upper right lung? Huh? Another invasion of my body organs! How dare they! My doc said, don't let it make you fret, a follow up xray in two weeks is set.
In the meanwhile I noticed that the radiologist noted on the report that he had nothing to compare the xray to. So I set forth and picked up the xray I had done four years previously at another location. I brought the disc with images to my follow up appt. I requested that the radiologist compare that to the previous one from two weeks ago and this new one. I picked up the report the following day. There was no notation of comparison on the report. How dare him not abide to my request. He noted that the 9mm nodule is still present and to have a CT Scan.
What is a granuloma?
A granuloma is a small area of inflammation in tissue. Granulomas are most often the result of an infection and most frequently occur in the lungs, but can occur in other parts of the body as well. They typically cause no signs or symptoms and are found incidentally on a chest X-ray done for some other reason.
Health challenge nears the end...
I made a pit stop for the Visual Field Test for my right eye. I aced my test, detention was over. My upper respiratory infection is making progress in clearing it's way out of me. I don't blame it for wanting to leave, I'm not that easy to live with.
On November 1st, I entered my Menopause stage of life. Does this ever end? Nope. Yet, it's been exactly one full year since my last cycle...I'm a big girl now! Weird that I have no symptoms. Just a bit bat shit crazy at times, but I hear that is completely normal. My plan is to ride through this journey all natural...no pills or supplements...just my daily dose of freshly ground flax seed that I have already been doing for the past 5 years. Hot flash? Never had one.
I scheduled the CT scan for the following week on November 17th. I never had a CT Scan so I was a bit nervous. Nervous about the test and the results. But, I was not going to allow this hiccup to halt my challenge. My tech was very comforting and reassuring. I was so thankful for her. The test was over in about 15 minutes. No hiccups. Again I requested that the radiologist compare my images from 2010 to the two previous xrays and then to the CT results. I also requested that the previous radiologist does NOT read or dictate my report.
The following day I picked up my report. I wasn't sure if I was going to need a pulmonologist, oncologist or just my doctor so I had them all lined up just in case...I didn't need any! My report stated that I have a 1cm nodule, possibly a non-calcified granuloma that has been there since 2010 and could have been there for years! The radiologist stated on the report that he compared the scan to all three previous xrays. I was thrilled! I asked to speak to the radiologist. He explained the results. I shook his hand and commended him for a job well done. Follow up CT Scan in 6 months to compare to this CT Scan. Also, since I name everything I have decided to name my granuloma. Since it has been and will be hitching a ride in my body, I named it Granny the Granuloma.
There were hugs and high fives all around from the employees at the hospital, whom we have grown quite close to since we are frequent flyers there due to my husbands cancer treatments. Hopefully my October health tune up has now come to an end. I should be good for another 50K miles.
Final conclusion: Do not allow anything or anyone to stand in your way when you are on a mission. If you don't understand a diagnosis, ask questions and ask more questions until you understand. You are the only one in control of your health. Always look for the humor in any situation. Most importantly...Go big or go home!
As we were leaving the hospital after picking up the report, we noticed a film crew was setting up...we offered to be their stars once again, maybe next time.
Will you challenge yourself to a health tune up?
Have you had your colonoscopy yet?
- Colon Cancer is Preventable with a Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is a simple procedure that could save your life. If you have a family history of colon cancer you should have your initial procedure performed at ages 40-45 not at age 50.
© 2014 Linda Bilyeu