My reaction was natural, instinctual. But if out plane lost cabin pressure and I ignored those instructions, I would probably lose consciousness before I could do anything to help my children.
Life is a lot like flying: little control, frequent delays, and if you don’t secure your mask first, you can’t help those around you.
We have to find the perfect appointment time that doesn’t interfere with school drop off and pick up, or squeeze it in during our lunch break—then double check to make sure it doesn’t fall on a school holiday or DONSA.
I’m exhausted just thinking about it, never mind researching a provider, getting a referral, and actually making the appointment.
But here’s the hard truth: skipping or postponing routine doctor visits could cost you more time with your loved ones in the future… and that’s a risk none of us can afford to take.
Whether you’ve just PCSed to a new town, or you’ve made your kids’ appointments without scheduling your own… this checklist is for you.
The stress of military life is enough to raise anyone’s blood pressure, so be sure to have yours checked regularly. A healthy blood pressure reading is between 120/80 – 120/90. High blood pressure increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke… and you don’t have time for that either.
High cholesterol isn’t just for those over fifty, so don’t think you’re immune if you’re still in your twenties and thirties. Instead, high cholesterol can affect everyone, children and young adults included. Factors such as age, gender, and family history play a role in this condition, as does a poor diet and lack of activity. Even if you think you’re doing everything “right,” your family history and genetics can still increase your risk factors, so get checked to ensure you’re decreasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.
No one enjoys a visit to the gynecologist—I’m right there with you. I spend the night before prepping and primping like it’s my spouse’s homecoming, then need a hot shower and a glass of wine once it’s over… but I know a cervical cancer screening can literally save your life!
Cervical cancer is one of the most treatable cancers, with a 93% survival rate if detected early. So, do what you have to do to feel good going into the office, and get it done. I’ll be waiting to toast you afterward.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to give your breasts some love (no matter your age or gender).
While most women under the age of 40 don’t need regular mammograms, women of all ages should be performing self-exams every month. Regardless of your gender, if you have a family history of breast cancer, certain genetic markers, and/or prior benign breast conditions, your doctor may suggest this screening at a younger age or more often.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the second leading cause of death among women, however, if caught early, breast cancer is one of the most treatable, with a survival rate of 90%.
While it’s not as common for men to develop breast cancer, it can happen—especially later in life. And for men who are carriers of the BRCA2 mutation, there’s also an increased risk of breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancer, as well as melanoma. If you know your family history puts you at risk, seeking guidance from a genetic counselor may also be of interest.
I’ve done it, you’ve done it… we’ve all been there. Whether you slathered on baby oil or failed to reapply something with a reliable SPF while you put on some tunes and soaked up the sun, all of that time mixing surf, sand, swimming pools, and your skin comes at a price.
Yes, time spent in the sun, whether in the backyard or by the ocean is relaxing… and yes, at some point you may have spent time in a tanning bed, thinking it was the magic for your big event (hint: you were always the magic).
Over 4 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. With those odds, a skin cancer screening is a no-brainer. If you notice skin tags, or moles that have changed (discoloration, uneven borders, an increase in size or thickness), get them checked by a professional now; early detection can lead to a successful treatment and survival.
I’m not here to convince anyone that a stress-free life is obtainable (we’re military spouses, stress comes with the title), or suggesting that you boycott alcohol (I do enjoy a good cocktail) … But it doesn’t make sense not to make a few adjustments if they can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
So, maybe you don’t start overhauling your pantry or sign up for a class at the gym today (I won’t be doing that either). But maybe you take a walk around the block to de-stress, and make one check-up appointment—because you know that the numbers prove early detection can make the difference between life and death.
Make the time, make the appointments, get screened! You can’t take care of your family or your community if you don’t take care of yourself first.
Story by Amanda Marksmeier