shine day 20: Spark Your Best (and Breast) Health

Today’s guest post is from breast-cancer survivor Lee McCracken.  Lee is one of my former editors, and she is just the kindest, most true spirit.  I am so honored to share her challenge with you here today!

Clear, bright eyes. Clean, white teeth. Soft, flawless skin. These are attributes many women esteem as the epitome of beauty, even though most know deep down that the physical body isn’t WHO a woman is. She is her mind and her soul — her knowledge and dreams, gifts and talents, emotions and values are the essence of what make her unique.

Yet, a woman’s body is what houses WHO she is, and taking care of it is essential to remaining healthy and vibrant for a lifetime of love and service. She must feed it well, clean it regularly and keep it constantly in motion so it doesn’t slow down too soon. A woman who puts her health at the top of her to-do list shows she values the worth she brings to the world and wants as much time as possible to share it with others.

Dental, vision and medical checkups are part of a good health plan, but often it’s the more visible physicalities that get the most attention. Just as she sees her hair stylist for cutting and coiffing, a woman also needs to visit her dentist, her ophthalmologist, her internist, her gynecologist and any other doctor or practitioner her individual health needs require. But, too often, other commitments get in the way. A busy woman (wife/mother/business owner/employee/volunteer) doesn’t take the time to make the appointment.

Breast health is of utmost importance! Breast cancer is one of the most aggressive and widespread diseases affecting women today, and being breast-aware is the best way to combat it. That means knowing how the breasts look and feel — what’s normal and what isn’t. Learning the facts about breast cancer, understanding the signs and symptoms, and realizing the importance of an early detection plan are crucial. The three key parts of such a plan are 1.) monthly breast self-exams, 2.) yearly examinations by a doctor and 3.) annual mammograms beginning at age 40.

 ♥


Today:
Put yourself, your health, at the top of your priority list. Visitng the dentist or the doctor sometimes can be bothersome, nerve-wracking or scary; but, catching any problem early really is best. Don’t allow busyness or fear to be a factor in scheduling appointments, annual screenings and/or follow-up tests.

In terms of your health, what’s bothering you, hurting you, worrying you or nagging at you? What have you been putting off that just need to get done? Sit down with a notepad and your calendar, and make a list to address your health needs head on.

Then, ask yourself why, and what needs to change, if you tend to bury your own health at the bottom of the to-do list.

Next, call to schedule an appointment at the dentist, the eye doctor, the gynecologist, the breast imaging center or whatever practitioner you need to visit before the fall season kicks in.

Finally, create an early detection action plan for your breast health (or any other health concern) and ask a friend help be your reminder buddy and hold you accountable.

1.  What health concerns do you want to have a better handle on?

2.  Did you call and schedule all of your appointments today?

3.  How did it feel to be proactive about those appointments?

4.  How does caring for your health matter in your growing self-acceptance?

Remember your comment sharing your experience with today’s challenge enters you in the giveaway drawings!

Want to give feedback on your shine experience so far?  Take just a few minutes to answer this survey to help me determine how to improve shine and other experiences like this in the future!

About Lee: Lee McCracken, 50, is a writer, editor, social entrepreneur and three-year breast cancer survivor who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. As the owner of Joyfullee Written, she strives to encourage, inform and inspire people through the messages that spill into her heart from the fountain of God’s grace. Her book, A Prayer and a Pink Pedicure, which tells the story of self-discovery and spiritual preservation following loss, a cancer diagnosis and a crisis of faith, will be published in 2013.

Lee admits she NEVER liked getting a mammogram, but in 2009 she learned she disliked cancer even more. She is the creator and owner of the brand Yes, Ma’am! mammograms are a must®. The philanthropic campaign and T-shirt raises awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer and helps to fund annual screenings for under-insured and uninsured women. Lee says, “Get your squeeze on!” and believes women’s self-care means being breast-aware to put a stop to late-stage cancer diagnoses.

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16 responses to “shine day 20: Spark Your Best (and Breast) Health”

  1. Marissa

    I have many health concerns, primarily my eating disorder and my migraines. I have been taking steps towards recovery in both directions. Last week, I received Botox for my chronic migraines, and am working a meditation practice into my routine to try and settle my body and mind (good for both the migraines and eating disorder). In regards to the eating disorder, I am being more honest with myself and my providers about how well I’m doing on my meal plan, my exercise plan, and my commitment to recovery. I have appointments booked several weeks in advance for all of my providers, and it feels good to know that I have these set up. I don’t cancel (unless I have a severe migraine) and I know that I will find relief when I talk to my doctors or therapists about what I’m struggling with. Caring for my mind and body reminds me that I matter and that accepting who I am now does not mean that I cannot grow and become a stronger, healthier person.
    Marissa recently posted..True Bistro: My Review, A Long Time Coming

  2. Cecile

    In my 20′s, I neglected my body – and my soul. So what, I’m young and strong, everybody else seems to manage life easily, so I can too – a kind of wonderwoman I suppose….
    Now in my 30′s, reality is confronting me: I had to do a lot of dental care last year, I recover from back and knie aches (but still have to build and maintain some more muscles), I finally have new glasses, and I care for myself = my soul too. I’m realistic: it’s a never ending process, so it is all the best if I enjoy it.
    So my current health issue: my muscles. A real challenge under my current health condition. And I put now a reminder for 2013 (post-pregnancy) to organize a regular physical activity.

  3. Amanda @ Click. The Good News

    I was just bugging my husband this weekend for him to schedule a physical & I told him I needed to also. It’s on my list for today & I commit to doing it (once their office opens). I just appreciate that nobody cares about my body as much as I do & I’m going to be stuck with it the rest of my life, so I really want it to be in its best shape for decades to come. That’s why I’m also committing to losing a few pounds, continuing to exercise, and generally eating healthier (less processed) foods.
    Amanda @ Click. The Good News recently posted..SS: Drought

  4. Gail Lanter

    Lee is such an inspiration! Always willing to share her experience to brighten the day. So happy “Yes Ma’am” is a hit….what a awesome message.

    Gail
    Gail Lanter recently posted..Five Steps to Waiving a Grudge

  5. Susannah

    1.  What health concerns do you want to have a better handle on?

    All in all, I am quite healthy, but I though of three things: mr S and I need to make an appointment at the dentist, I need to make sure my glasses are still the right strength, and I really need to get my squeeze on. (I LOVE that expression), but I don’t need an appointment for the last thing. Oh, and I injured my lower back at yoga last week, and I needed to get some cream for that. And I need to restart my meditation practice. That’s not three things, haha.

    2.  Did you call and schedule all of your appointments today?

    No. Mr S and I have to align our diaries for the dentist, and the optician is closed on Mondays. I will do the breast exam tonight in bed and do the upright bit in the shower tomorrow morning. And phone the optician. I did go out to get some cream for my back, and scheduled my meditation for tomorrow.

    3.  How did it feel to be proactive about those appointments?

    It felt good, like I am in control about how my body and mind are doing.

    4.  How does caring for your health matter in your growing self-acceptance?

    Well, if my body is not something annoying I drag behind me, but something I take care of properly, then I might enjoy it a bit more!

  6. Susannah

    PS am I the only person that can’t get into the Yes Ma’am site?

  7. Chibi Jeebs

    1. What health concerns do you want to have a better handle on?
    I deal with depression and GAD; since moving, I don’t have a doctor who is familiar with my medical history, so this is a big priority for me.

    2. Did you call and schedule all of your appointments today?
    No: we also need to find a dentist! I’m generally on top of making appointments for check-ups and such, though.

    3. How did it feel to be proactive about those appointments?
    It always feels good to be efficient!

    4. How does caring for your health matter in your growing self-acceptance?
    I know I need to be my number one priority: no one else can take of my health for me/like I can.

  8. LadyEm

    This is a particularly timely challenge. This morning I met my ED specialist who said that despite the fact that I think I’m perfectly fit and healthy, I am still underweight and my blood counts are abnormally low. I can’t relate to either of these. I’m energetic and I don’t feel ‘ill’. I question whether I’m really straining my body? But then, it seems to be keeping up with me. I *need* to get a better handle on this.

    On an entirely separate note, I’m overdue a smear test. I’d had to cancel one that was arranged and have put off rearranging. I will organise an appointment.

    Caring for my health and accepting it do go hand in hand, although this is one pairing that I struggle with. When my weight was very low and I eventually saw the mess I was in, it scared me. As I began to eat again I saw the change and liked nourishing my body. But now I feel that I’m healthy again, I struggle to accept when test results conflict with this feeling.

    This is something I need to give a lot more thought to.
    LadyEm recently posted..Let me introduce myself…

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