Because of the nature of my job I am constantly bombarded with press releases and calls to action about important (and let’s face it, sometimes not so important) discoveries, events, issues, ideas etc.
There’s a day for this and a week for that and an awareness run for this and a whole beribboned month for the other and yet despite all this, we all go on blithely with the day-to-day business of our lives.
And there’s nothing wrong with that – in fact, we’re wired that way. People couldn’t and really shouldn’t spend their lives catastrophising the millions of things that might go wrong with their health, minds, society, finances and relationships.
We’d be a pretty miserable bunch and besides, worrying has never cured a single thing.
But then something happens to you and suddenly you can’t believe that there is not a bigger focus on your particular issue and you want to warn THE WHOLE WORLD and spread your message. It’s pretty much what I’m going to do now, but don’t run away!
See, I’m going in for an operation to cut pre-cancer cells out of my cervix. It isn’t serious and everything should be okay, but I got a bit of a fright, since I’ve always stupidly thought of myself as being invincible. Bulletproof. I guess most of us who are lucky enough to go through life with relatively good health do.
So when the tests came back I felt like an idiot. But only for about a minute. Because would an idiot go for a yearly pap smear? I think not.
I know about my condition because I go for pap smears. This year the result scared the crap out of me. Abnormal cell growth! Pre-cancer! Laser loops! And so on. It took a while for me to calm down to a panic and realise I’m not going to die immediately.
(But I still might. Gah! Okay, I probably won’t. But then, any of us can die at any moment. Double gah!)
So ladies, I’m urging you: go for your checkups. A lot of people aren’t lucky enough to stop disease in its tracks, so out of respect for them, don’t neglect your health. I’m not even asking you to stop smoking or go vegan, or take up exercise – I’m just urging you to take 5 minutes, once a year, for a simple, if slightly uncomfortable procedure that can save your life.
Get your pap smears done and examine your boobs.
As for the guys out there - this is the month for prostate and testicular health. Examine your balls - it's not like you don't have your hands down your pants all the time anyway! And scared of a prostate exam? Relax, these days they do it by drawing a little blood.
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