By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
It’s October, which is my favorite month in the whole wide world! Not only is all the fall awesome in full swing but it’s also my birthday month. Yes, month. Not day, not week, month. I willingly share it with my bonus baby, Lucy. Okay, let’s be real. It was not willing; Lucy’s due date being in October was a plan other than mine. I would actually prefer to NOT share my birthday month with anyone in my household...kidding, not kidding. Anyway, I digress. So there I was, at Lucy’s 2 year old routine well-child exam, that I had a realization. I have not had a physical in a long time, a very long time. Like, I’m talking that my last non-pregnancy related appointment with labs and such was before we moved… well over 4 years ago. Have I mentioned I will be celebrating my 21st birthday times 2 this month? Which, if you did the calculation right, means I am 2 years overdue for that important first mammogram screening. Whoops.
I have a load of excuses to justify why I put this off. My favorite being I was going to get in better shape before going to the doctor; anyone else use that one? The bottom line, these are a bunch of excuses to put off something I just didn’t want to face or do. As a mother, the idea of not doing something that was needed for my children, like their annual physical or twice-yearly dentist visits or eye checks, is unheard of and right up there with child neglect. But, that same emphasis when it comes to myself is not there; it gets put off. Why is that? Because going to the doctor means learning the truth about my health. I can justify, justify, justify to myself but it’s hard to argue with blood pressure readings, fasting labs, and mammograms.
Have you heard that phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? There is so much truth in this statement! The reason routine preventative physicals, labs, and tests are suggested when they are is based on when certain diseases may start to appear in someone’s life, thus, allowing you and your provider to discover and intervene before there is a problem. Most of the most common diseases plaguing this country are preventable such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure. And, many of the routine screening exams are designed to detect pre-cancerous or early cancer in the treatable category like colon cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, and breast cancer. Your provider is not someone to be wary of; they are on YOUR team to keep you healthy and living your best life! Talk about a mindset shift!
It’s time, DreamChaser, for me to be an adult about this. I have too much at stake with three young kids and a whole lot of potential to use up to put this off any longer. Let’s add on boob-squishing to my list of October birthday fun! (It is Breast Cancer Awareness month, thanks for the reminder universe.) Now that I think about it, this really is the perfect time anyway. As this year wraps up, what do we often start thinking of? How to get the new year off to the best start! This often involves exercise, losing weight, eating better, and other health improvement plans. While I would advocate that the best time to start is now rather than wait, getting a complete physical before starting these plans makes sense. And, actually, now that I am over 40, I probably am supposed to “consult with a physician prior to starting an exercise program” anyway. Sigh.
Wait a minute! I know I’m not alone in avoiding this topic. Who else hasn’t had a physical in 3 years, or more? I mean a REAL physical, not that quick wellness check at your workplace for your insurance. There’s no shame in that game; um...hello...I just admitted how long I have been putting this off myself. To live our best life, we have to be our best and that starts with taking care of ourselves. We are not doing ourselves or our loved ones justice by putting this off. Join me this month, right now, in #adulting by making an appointment for a complete physical. Let’s do this together, DreamChaser! Who’s with me?!?
My appointment is made. Your turn.
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.