When we grew up we didn’t go to the doctor unless we were really sick. Our mother’s were wizards at diagnosing and treating a plethora of childhood illnesses and we thought doctors were for emergencies only.
Do you avoid going to the doctor or the dentist because you are afraid they will find something wrong with you? Taking care of your health is a personal responsibility, but are you taking it seriously enough? Do you find yourself avoiding doctor appointments, ducking mammograms or prostate checks, or refusing immunizations? If you answered yes to any of these questions you are not doing a good job of taking care of yourselves.
In addition to basic examinations you need to learn how listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Your body has a built in early warning system, but if you don’t heed the warnings you could be in big trouble. Ignoring a symptom does not mean that it will go away. It is not unusual to get so used to feeling lousy that you begin to think it is your normal. This is called denial. Two of my friends were diagnosed with diabetes this last year. Both of them were nurses and both were seeing a primary physician as well as several specialists. They didn’t feel well, but for some reason they were not able to communicate that they were in distress. Why do you suppose this happened? Perhaps because they didn’t listen to their own bodies until they were so sick that they had to be whisked to an emergency room.
How do you listen to your body? Oprah magazine (www.theoprahmag.com) on July 2008 had a really good article called “What is your Body Trying to Tell You?” The author reminded her readers of the importance of listening to what their bodies were trying to say. Take a few minutes now and again to get consider what your normal really is. If you don’t feel well for longer than a week or two, you should be saying “hmmm,” and you should be running an internal system check on yourself. Is this vague uncomfortable feeling something new? Have you been feeling like this for awhile now? Do you feel worse than you did a week ago…a month a go? Figure out what your symptoms are and check your family tree to see what runs in the family. Listen to that nagging voice that is trying to tell you that all is not well. Start keeping track of your symptoms and what makes them feel better or worse. When you see your doctors do more than just say that you are “sick”. On television they may be able to look into your eyes and tell you that have a tumor or some exotic disease without so much as a blood test, but it is a little more scientific and difficult than that. You should feel good most of the time, but it is your responsibility to adopt a healthy lifestyle, and to figure out what your normal really is.