Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why an annual exam?

I don't ever look forward to seeing her, I spend as little time with her as I can, and though our visit is cordial, seeing her once a year is plenty for me. Who could I possibly feel this way toward? My gynecologist.

Now, I am not a very graphic gal, so even if you are a reader of the male category, don't fear. I don't think I'll make you squirm. You may be motivated to care for the women in your life. When funny things cross my mind, I will refrain from writing them all.

The "annual exam" for women is a far cry from the excitement of other annual events like Black Friday, Superbowl Sunday, Valentine's Day, or even Tax Day. Instead, it's one of those necessary events we should really be thankful for, but it's hard to express our gratitude for access to medical care and caregivers while dressed in paper garb reading a copy of last season's Better Homes and Gardens. Thus today's "Why Wednesday" question ..... WHY go to an annual exam if it's not really a lot of fun? (I've always wished men had annual exams too; I would feel better.)

My very sweet doctor told me fewer women are coming in for annual exams, due to the fact that the economy has required us to trim costs where we can. Women take children to the pediatrician, beg hubbies to have a physical, even take the dog to the vet before they take themselves for an annual exam. Many haven't gone because of rising healthcare costs and insurance restrictions. There are options for low cost pap smears and mammograms that can be found at websites such as this. Basic info about why regular screening matters can be found here. It's important to take time to go.

An annual exam includes screening for breast and cervical cancer, in addition to an overall health evaluation. According to the American Cancer Society, women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam every 3 years; women in their 40s should have a mammogram each year (some say every 2 yrs). After 50 a yearly mam is recommended without question. And are we doing our monthly breast exams? If any of the men out there have stayed with me until this point ;) (First of all, you are very manly!), you show the women in your family how much you care for them when you ask them if they do regular breast exams. Early detection is a key in the prognosis for fighting breast cancer. If there's a history of breast cancer in the family, particularly maternal, it's even more critical.

An annual exam ....

  • helps us to be healthy & ready to do what God calls us to do
  • helps us to care for the body we are stewards of & that God created
  • helps us to care for our loved ones as we consider our strength and energy

Finally, a good reason for taking our flawed selves to an annual exam is so we are reminded this body is not our final destination. The Message paraphrases the words of 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 so well:

"... we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we'll never have to relocate our "tents" again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what's coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we're tired of it! We've been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less."

And I don't think there will be annual exams in heaven. ;)

1 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

I really need to be better about this. MY kids go to all their doctors appointments. But I need to take care of myself too.

The thing is, I have a 4, 3 and 2 year old. Unitl 2 years ago, I was pregnant continually. And I never had to worry about an 'annual' exam. I was seen once a month or more. I'm trying for my 4th now, so I have had my pre pregnancy exam. YAY for me. Or not, just because it sucks.

But you're right. We have to get it done.