It's funny--there are so many things in life that I take for granted or ignore completely. For instance, take my family medical history. I took histories on every patient I ever saw at my VA clinic, and yet I know only bare bones basics about my own.
My GI system has a long standing history of not cooperating. Things have been acting up again recently, and it wasn't until I was talking to my mom that I realized how much of a history I have. I don't want to put all the gory details out on the internet, but one of my immediate family members had their first precancerous lesion found by colonoscopy at age 35. By the CDC/American Cancer Society guidelines, I should have been screened ten years before the age at which the first precancerous polyp was found, or age 25. I'm now 30.
It was suggested that I get a colonoscopy in 2002 after I spent three days in the hospital with GI issues. However, with the insurance we had at the time, it would have been extremely expensive. So I didn't get one.
The GI issues I have seem to come and go, and I know the scary symptoms (melena, hematochezia, etc), but I also know things can happen quietly. I do not think the current issues I have are at all related to cancer (and I've had the same issues for decades), but maybe it's time to get checked.
I don't know why I am so hesitant to see the doctor, and when I do go, why I'm not more proactive. I ask when I have questions, but I am not a fan of medication or procedures on myself if I can help it.
I guess part of me is happier not thinking about my own chance for disease. I know there are some things I need to watch for. Breast cancer is one: my great grandmother died of it, and my grandmother had it as well. Thyroid disease is another: it is very prevalent on my mom's side of the family. And I know things like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity are also fairly common on both sides of my family.
Knowing all this, why am I not more concerned with preventable factors like losing weight and getting more active? I guess the answer is that I am concerned, but I am also overwhelmed. I have so much mental and emotional baggage tied up with my weight and body image that it isn't as easy as just going on a diet and starting a serious exercise program. I start making steps in the right direction, but in a very short period of time, I start sabotaging myself without even realizing it.
I need to make progress in that area. I need to make it more about my health than a number on the scale. And I think I need to find out if I'd be covered by insurance for a colonoscopy. It's probably something I need to do sooner rather than later.
First, I need to sit down with both of my parents and do an extensive family history. It's time to find out what other surprises are out there. And I'm the oldest--if I do this now, when the time comes for my sibs to start getting screened, they'll have all the information they need to be informed.