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?
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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.