You may or may not have wondered where I disappeared to and why I’ve been so quiet for so long.
Unfortunately this year, Winter decided he was going to be a big old mean bully. So far, I’ve been temporarily half blind for almost two weeks when a huge abscess decided to manifest itself on my eyelid. It was so painful I lived on nine pain killers a day, which in the process gave me the tummy ache from hell, I literally felt I OD’d myself and was going to die. For a week I could only see through one eye and was unfit to drive which led to major frustration. During the healing process things got a little worse before it finally got better. I am happy to report that I have now fully regained my binocular vision.
According to my general practitioner, the abscess was brought on by my hey-fever which had been acting up pretty bad at the time. Who knew a simple case of hey-fever have the potential to cause so much agony.
Winter was however nowhere near finished beating me up and just two weeks later, after a case of extreme nausea and thinking I might be pregnant, which couldn’t possibly be since hubby had been snipped for almost three years, I was diagnosed with a severe bladder infection. My second round of antibiotics in one month. Fabulous!
As the saying goes, they always come in threes and one week after recovering from the bladder I am now stuck with the flu. It’s safe to assume that I am overjoyed Winter is getting ready to leave.
Although it has been a nightmare experience, I am thankful for my health. It did however make me think a little longer about just how important regular health checks are for us women, and moms especially. We so naturally and diligently care about the well-being of our loved ones, yet just as easily forget about our own. It’s time we realise that although we are super-human, we are human.
I’ve always been a little, even secretly proud of my “I never fall ill” status. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I saw the inside of a doctor’s waiting room, much less a hospital, while growing up. My first real memory of seeing the inside of a hospital was when our neighbours’ stray dog decided I’m no longer welcome there and bit a hole in my 7 year old arm. My best friend at the time cried her eyes out when she saw me, I was just way too chuffed with my new arm brace. That was the end of hospitals for me.
Until I had kids and lost count. Now a trip to the doctor and the ER with them is as routine as the seasons. Winter with its colds and flu’s and so many other viruses and infections, Summer with its heat-related breakouts and fevers and Spring with the ol’ faithful sinusses and hey-fever.
The best way to take care of our family and to continue taking care of them, is to take care of ourselves also. It’s a medical fact that every woman, at least over the age of 20, should make time for healthy habits like regular exercise, stress management and routine health screenings. The hard truth of the matter is that regular doctors’ visits can literally mean the difference between life and death.
Here’s where you can get started:
Breast self-exam: Check your girls for unusual lumps or bumps monthly so you can stay on top of any changes. The best time to do it is a few days after your period ends.
Skin self-exam: The Skin Cancer Foundation strongly recommends that you check out your body once a month for any new or unusual spots or marks. Just remember your ABCDEs: asymmetry, border irregularity, uneven color, diameter bigger than 6 mm, and evolving shape and size.
Dental check-up: Make sure to hit up the dentist’s chair twice a year for cleanings and other preventative maintenance.
Full physical exam: This annual check-up should include a height and weight check, a blood pressure screening, a clinical breast exam, and any blood tests your doctor deems necessary, says Moore. These may include tests for blood sugar, blood count, hormone levels, and other crucial markers.
Pap smear: If you’ve had three consecutive normal pap smears, are in a mutually monogamous relationship, and have no other risk factors, you could technically go three years between screenings. However, most doctors still suggest women see their gynecologist once a year and get a pap smear while they’re there. Your pap tests for any changes or abnormalities in the cells in your cervix, which is a way to screen for cervical cancer.
Other regular screenings include eye exams, cholesterol and blood count, diabetes and mammograms to name but a few. Read more on Women’s Health
According to the South African Medical Journal; “The Discovery Health screening programme offers a paid screening benefit to its members for mammograms, Pap smears, HIV tests, glaucoma screening, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer screening, random glucose and cholesterol tests, ’flu vaccines and pneumococcal vaccines, irrespective of the type of medical plan members belong to.”
So, in the spirit of Women’s Month, let’s make sure we know our health status!
HAPPY WOMEN’S MONTH FABMOMS!!