We are savvy women, we know to advocate for our own health. And so we check. Our skin, our breasts, our lymph nodes and colons. It’s exhausting, but as someone’s who been in that chemo room, it’s much less so than ingesting poison to fix what we missed.
So when my dermatologist removed that pesky circle on my leg, the one that seemed so simple, so benign, I was taken aback by the call that said the word out loud: melanoma. Not a problem, though, it didn’t go anywhere, and she’s sure she got it all. (I LOVE the phrase in situ, isn’t that silly?) A follow-up excision confirmed the initial diagnosis. Whew!
And so I have dodged another bullet. And, to dredge up another hackneyed metaphor, I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Or another mole to stick up his head for me to whack.
We laughed at our parents for discussing their bad knees and high blood pressure, and the constant recounting of doctor appointments. So I hesitate to bring these things up with family or friends, though it feels surreal to live in that dome of crushing fear while others are delighting in cat videos. So I divulge to those who can support. As they say, you never know what people are dealing with…
These thoughts take me more often to the “Health and Science” stories I find in the paper or online. I get angry when doctors’ groups, and even women’s organizations, advise fewer check-ups. They want, or so they say, to save me from the anguish I felt when they told me it was cancer, but contained. Just “watch it,” they say. So, tell me, kind sir, how do I watch those killer cells on the move? Do you know which day the cells will go into overdrive and decide to plunge into my lymph system? I am content in the fact that we squashed this particular demon before it took hold.
Oh, and then there was this about the GAO report on health research and gender. We talked in this space about the lack of women in the studies concerning the new female sex drug; evidently, this practice goes well beyond that. The worst part? They don’t even have the data on gender included in most of the studies, let alone to ensure that they are equitable!
I have been blessed to have had stellar medical care over the last decade, but I am still worried about the state of medicine, and how we stumble along—that great knowledge has gaping holes. I find hope, however, in the amazing research being done on deadly cells, sometimes by injecting deadly viruses into our bodies! (See another story on "chimeras." Since I’m in that generation where doctor’s appointments will fill more slots on my social calendar, I’m paying more attention. Evidently, it’s pretty much required!
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