Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seventeen Years Ago Today...

My mother goofing around.  August 5, 1994.

August 16, 1994.  I was 13 (and-a-half, if we're being a bit more precise).  It was the first day of school, and I was starting eighth grade.

I had had a hard time going to sleep the night before - the result of staying up late and sleeping in all summer long.  I had crawled into bed with my mother during the wee hours of the morning.  She was, understandably, perturbed.

She was cranky in the morning, when she dropped me off at her friend's house so I could walk to school for an early morning band sectional.  I went in and my mother stayed at the door a moment and talked in a hushed voice to her friend.

I went to school.  I went to volleyball practice.  Mom picked me up from school and dropped off a friend of mine on the way home.  She dropped me at the house and went to the store to buy the last of my needed school supplies.  She still seemed cranky with me when she came home.

And then my world shattered.  Within a few hours, I suddenly didn't know where I would sleep that night.  I didn't know where I would call home within the week.  As a teenager, I described it as my life turning upside down and inside out.

This happened:

The way I told the story for this spokeswoman casting call was a little jumbled and I'm not in a mental space right now to write it all down for you, but I'm fairly certain I will write it all here on the blog by wintertime. 

For today, though, I want to call your attention to the fact that my mother had seen a doctor for chest pains over the course of the three months before her fatal heart attack, and she had been misdiagnosed.

I have written on a few occasions about following our gut instincts and trusting each other and ourselves.  This trust of ourselves as mothers and women extends very much to our own health.  Please check in with your body today.  Go make a phone call right now about that nagging pain, those unexplained headaches, the swelling in your ankles.  Make sure you know your numbers and your family history regarding heart disease. 

If in doubt about whether something is "in your head," or something is not getting through to your doctor, read The Empowered Patient (my review of it is here).

This extends to any area of your health - not just heart disease. 

Be active, in any way that you enjoy.

Make whatever small, positive changes you can in your diet.

I am trying to light a fire under you, reader.  Please - please - be your best advocate for your own health.  Now.  Not tomorrow.  Not later.

And to my mother, who has been only a memory for more than half my life:  You are forever missed.  Every day, and by many.  Thank you for the amazing start.

*Just a note, readers and friends:  I'm actually doing just fine on this anniversary.  I had my freak out quite early this year, and I'm feeling quite centered and like I have appropriate perspective.  So stop worrying about me and worry about yourself!  :-)

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