Why I get a physical exam every year … and so should you

by Amy  - November 19, 2014

I’m a middle-aged mom and every once in a while I just can’t resist getting up on my box and saying, “hey you should do this!”

I’m healthy. I’m 41 years old and I’m healthy. But every year I get a physical. I just had my physical Friday.

adding to the chaos of my life this car was in the body shop for 2 weeks after it was skewered by a forklift. Not related to my physical at all but still a crazy story. all better now as you can see.

My doctor has a new team member and because I’m healthy I get the new kid but my doctor will still review all my results. She must have asked me about 15 times why I was there … did I have any concerns. I finally asked her whether I was the only adult to get a physical and she admitted it wasn’t all that common. One of the nurses was in the room when I asked this and she chuckled and said that I was a good patient who followed directions. I guess that’s not the norm either.

I’ll admit that one reason I do this is because I am out there racing endurance events and it’s good to know my body is in good shape. But that’s not the primary reason I do it.

from my daughter’s birthday party. 11 year olds singing karaoke. adorable.

My father died of heart disease and for better or worse I was around during the last say 7 years while he was getting treatments and surgeries and so forth. I learned 2 major things during that time that I take with me always.

(for the full story of my dad’s heart attack and how heart disease can hit super fit people with seemingly no advance notice click here.)

First, the decisions you make in your 20s and 30s will dramatically effect your medical options in your 60s and 70s. My father stopped smoking around 1980 his surgical options when he had a bypass surgery more than 20 years later were very limited from the damage done to his veins by smoking. While we can’t do anything about the way we’ve already lived our life we can make better decisions from this day forward.

The final cake from the endless birthday celebrations of October and November. Dairy Queen ice cream cake.

Next, it’s really good to have a relationship with your doctor and for them to know what you are like when you are healthy. That way when you get sick they have a comparison to make and a basis to recommend what treatments you can handle. Every person is different and figuring out what’s going on when you’re sick is a very complicated process. If there is somebody who knows your baseline that can be helpful in the process of diagnosing what’s going on.

I’m healthy and my doctor and his office know that. They know me very well. They know my hobbies and they know my family history. When I collapsed last year after making a poor decision to run a triathlon while I had the flu – I was out of town. I was in the emergency room in another city. When I came home I was able to call in and tell them what happened and they helped me recover and get back to form.

In this off season I tried zumba. With my daughter behind me in the jean shorts (which she did classify as work out clothes). It was a fundraiser to benefit the UM CARD center. Portia Lange the instructor is amazing. I still lack any kind of dance coordination but it was fun.

Like I said above. I’m 41. I actually remember when my parents both turned 40. I remember each of them got reading glasses for the first time. I have been able to avoid this by getting lasik about 8 years ago. My parents also for a 40th birthday present both started high-blood pressure medication. At 40 they were both pretty overweight and inactive. I remembered this about them this morning and I was happy that with my 41st physical exam or well checkup I do not have that.

This is the first school project that I have almost done completely for my kid. This was ridiculous. Even after I downloaded directions from google and pbs it still took me about 5 hours. And I’m not kidding it doesn’t work all that well so she’ll probably get a D. We’re at peace with it. Hopefully there will be some extra credit we can do.

So, take care of yourself. If you don’t have a doctor maybe look for one. If you haven’t had a well checkup in a few years – go get one.

Me on the bike this past weekend. I actually was dropped by my group. So all that iron fitness is gone. I have to admit that the little paunch around my belly is probably from all the cake and not just the jersey being unflattering. Yikes. Back to work soon.

In other news specific to training. I am sort of off track. Just sort of. I have a pain in my right leg that doesn’t hurt while running, walking or riding my bike but sort of niggles me other times. Also family stuff has been keeping me majorly busy so I’ve been eating too much, drinking too much and treating myself too much. It’s okay. Let’s call this the off season. I’m adjusting my goals for the marathon accordingly and all will be okay.

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Amy Stone (she/her/hers) is a life coach who helps adults in blended families. She is a mom, step-mom and a step-grandma. Other random fun facts include that She is a 7-time Ironman triathlon finisher and many many marathons and shorter races. She created amysaysso.com.

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