Listen to Your Gut

July 16, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’m desperate to catch up with Sarah on the 101 days of blogging challenge. As I’m several days behind, today’s going to be a 3 for 1. Here are acts 5, 6, and 7 of the 101 revolutionary ways to be healthy: Repossess Your Health, Redefine Your Role, and Practice Medicine Without A License. As these three go hand in hand, I think it is OK that we discuss them together today.

Far too often we rely on others and don’t do enough due diligence. I think we spend more time comparing which car or computer to buy then we do considering the state of our health. Afterall, if everything is working right (or seemingly) why worry?

Well, far too often people get very sick or die too soon because they avoided the signs. I really wonder if my dad had signs before his heart attack. He certainly never told any of us if he did. It’s something that constantly nags at me and quite honestly makes me really scared about my own future, and that of those I love.

But what I want to talk about today, is paying attention to the signs you do see – or feel. My best friend passed away last October. She was the brightest, most vibrant, loving woman I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Her death is a loss to us all and something I’m still grappling with. When I think of her story, it makes me sick to my stomach. She had warning signs. She had a lump. And despite numerous doctors visits and attempts to raise concern over this lump, it was dismissed. You can read her story in her own words here.

Finally my friend took matters into her own hands, but it was too late. By the time she demanded a mammogram, she was told she had stage 4 breast cancer and it had spread. She battled that vicious disease with a vengeance for three years, determined to make it through. In the end, it was another warning sign that she persisted on and that the doctors dismissed that ended up beating her in the end. She had what appeared to be a knot in her neck. They told her to get a massage. By the time they investigated and listened to her pleading for them to pay attention – again, it was too late.

If my friend had been diagnosed early with breast cancer the first time she felt that lump, she would most likely be with us today. If the doctors had listened to her with the second lump in her neck, who knows – but I believe they failed her.

Why are we so quick to listen to others? Why don’t we listen to our guts? I think men want to be strong and disregard warnings, thinking they are invincible. But women, I don’t understand. I think we are just too trusting and scared of being perceived as paranoid. But when it comes to our health – we should be paranoid.

We should be demanding.

We should be ruthless.

Revolutionary Act #5: Repossess Your Health: Reclaim responsibility for your well-being; own your daily choices; minimize your reliance on the broken sick-care system.

It is not your doctor’s job to watch out for your well being. It is your job. Own it.

Revolutionary Act #6: Redefine Your Role: You are not a “healthcare consumer.” You are a human being. You may be experiencing an illness or other health challenge right now, but remember that good health is your body’s natural state.

You are a human being! You deserve an answer. Having anything uncomfortable or slightly alarming is not normal. Trust your insticts. Get it checked out. Even if you might come off as paranoid. Do it. Now.

Revolutionary Act #7: Practice Medicine Without A License:  Research your own conditions and treatment alternatives, ask questions, and seek second opinions with impunity. Leverage the expertise of trained pros, but don’t allow it to eclipse your own informed instincts about what’s best for you.

I am still amazed at what I saw my friend go through. One of her final treatment was a result of her finding it on the internet! They weren’t even going to offer it because it was costly and dangerous. Don’t leave your health in someone else’s hands.

Be demanding.

Be ruthless.

No one else has your best interest at heart like you do. Take your rightful place front and center in the health care line and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.



§ 2 Responses to Listen to Your Gut

  • surreel1 says:

    If you are not sure of what you hear.. see someone else.. or research it on the internet.. and FIND AND SEE someone else. Listen to your body!! Like Vanessa’s dear and beautiful friend, I diagnosed myself with what turned out to be a parathyroid disorder. Eventually, on line, I found a doctor 50 miles away who did a mini proceedure (a small cut right on-spot to remove it instead of two large exploratory cuts on BOTH sides of my neck with the Orlando Dr. I saw first). The mini proceedure cost my insurance company $$THOUSANDS less than the exploring doctor.
    My own Mother died in her twenties from an incompetent doctor cutting to remove a mole (a melanoma) on her foot (this was decades ago btw).
    Great blog post, Vanessa!

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