( Photo courtesy of rescu.com.au)
Have No Fear, The Doctor Is Here
By Emma Verschueren
I’ll be the first person to admit that I hate going to the doctor’s office. When I would get sick as a kid, there was never much comfort in hearing the words: “I’m taking you to the doctor.” Still, to this day, I do not think I’ve fully grown out of that fear and as I’ve grown older, it seems like that anxiety has grown with me.
Some people may not agree, but I think those fears are rational. It is uncomfortable to have someone poking, prodding, analyzing, and observing your body and the parts you didn’t know existed. As young women, especially in the culture and society we are a part of, we like to have our space and when anyone seems to invade that sacred space, even if they are helping, red flags go up. But there has come a time when I’ve had to realize that my health comes before my pride.
When I was a freshman in high school my volleyball coach told me a story of a girl he knew. She was 17 years old, athletic, a good student, and had high hopes for her future. One day her mother walked in on her while she was changing and her mom noticed a large lump on her back. After taking her to see a doctor, the girl was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 17. A few short months after she was diagnosed, the sickness overtook her body and she lost a grueling battle to cancer. I often think I’m invincible because I’m young. I don’t even consider cancer or any terminal illness to be a threat to my life because I think I’m immune to that. Obviously that’s not true.
Before I heard that story, I used to think that breast exams were so unnecessary and that only older women needed to get them. But now I know that no one is invincible. The truth of the matter is that we live in a world where sickness, disease, and cancer are a reality. But we are blessed to live in an era where medicine is so greatly advanced that we can take steps towards prevention.
As fearful and anxiety ridden as it is, it’s crucial to start getting breast exams and performing your own at home once a month as teen. There are a few reasons for this:
- It’s important to know your body and your body tissue so when something doesn’t feel right you can catch it from the very beginning.
- It’s good to have your doctor perform a breast exam at your yearly visit so they can catch any early signs of abnormalities.
- It teaches you to be more in tune with the way your body works and to be more health conscious.
- It prepares you at a young age to be aware of your changing body and makes the transition into womanhood much smoother.
Not only is it good to establish a trustworthy relationship with your doctor at a young age so they can keep you in tip top shape, but it is good to form honest communication as well so you can ask questions to better prepare yourself for womanhood (plus, it helps make things less awkward in the long run, I promise).
Going to the doctor is never fun or easy, but it is always in your best interest. As young women it’s easy to believe that nothing can harm us, especially when we’re energetic and feeling healthy. But it is always good to have someone check on you every once in a while. The purpose of doctors is not only to heal, but to help improve our health, so don’t be afraid of all the poking and prodding because they are only trying to keep you as healthy as possible. In the long run you’ll be thankful for your doctor and the advice they administer to you, so have no fear but be encouraged to be proactive about your health. There is never anything to lose, but only a better, stronger, healthier body to gain.