Lesson 3. Make your health a priority.
I remember coming home from my first semester of law school. I was exhausted but so happy to be home. I sat around with family and we talked and laughed for hours. As the evening progressed, everyone left and it was just me and my mother watching television. She looked at me and whispered, “I’ve got cancer.” In my mind my mother was everything to me. She was the sole provider for me and my brother, the backbone of our family and a helping hand for many others. I could not comprehend how any of us would make it without her.
As I sat there in shock numerous questions ran through my head. Why was she whispering? Was I the only one who knew? What are we going to do? My mother sat calmly and answered these questions and many more. After a year of chemotherapy and remission the cancer returned. My mother died on December 21, 1999.
After her death I replayed many times we had together in my head. I remembered her saying to me several months prior that her breast did not look right. I believe that my mother knew she had cancer long before the doctor told her. She did not go to the doctor for regular check-ups. She was always too busy doing this, helping that person, going to a meeting and she did not make time for her own health. My mother had rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, bunions and breast cancer. However, it was not until each of things became a serious problem for her that she addressed them. She literally had to be hospitalized for diabetes for her to deal with that health issue. Unfortunately, this is not a story I have about how my mother displayed these great acts or characteristics. This is about me learning from her mistake and hopefully helping you do the same.
As I became a woman I realized that my mother did not talk to me about going to the gynecologist to get check-ups. I learned about this from my friend. If it was not for my friend I could have probably would not have known the importance of regularly check-ups. These check-ups have helped me prevent minor issues from turning into major issues.
We are all busy people. Nonetheless, we tend to make time for things that are important to us. You must make time for you. Your health is very important. I remember a judge always telling parents in Family Court that when you are on an airplane they tell you in case of an emergency to put your mask on first. You cannot help anyone until you help yourself. This is another area where women tend to have a problem. They are so busy making sure everyone else is okay that they neglect themselves. If you really want to make sure everyone is okay you must work to stay around to see for yourself. Take care of you.