I bawled my eyes as I watched the above YouTube video of the pin-up model Elly Mayday talk about her fight with ovarian cancer. This story is all too real for me since my best friend was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma in her left thalamus before she turned 21. She was lucky, the MRI showed an abnormality before it seriously showed itself, which happened within a month as her right side had mobility issues, unexplained migraines, and then chemo and radiation.
Listening to Mayday talk about how she was denied basic human care before she discovered she had ovarian cancer terrified me. I see a lot of my friends and associates talk about their continued frustrations with doctors who just want to try a quick fix and don’t really want to get to the root of the problem. My grandmother is a product of this mentality for the last 15 years from her doctors. And it scares me that this could happen to me too.
I have an increased risk for a lot of scary shit: cancer, depression, heart issues, bipolar, schizophrenia, dementia–just to list a few. Hell, most of my family’s mental health is well documented, including one female ancestor who supposedly “took herself to bed and didn’t stir until Spring”. I’m already well aware of my depression, having struggled with it since 1996 (reminder of that coming up on the 20th).
I turned 29 on the 12th and watching Mayday’s video the day before really put my birthday in the funk it usually has been every year. I’m terrified of growing older. I’m scared of what new health issues I’m going to need to learn and adapt. And about the time I seriously start thinking about it is when my health provider reminds me that I may not be eligible in the next few months–no pressure!
I know this year is the year to talk seriously to my doctor about my family health history, get my middle school neck injury scanned, find a physiatrist to help in my mental health issues (could be ADD, could still be that familiar depression), get my vision checked, and maybe really dig into why my headaches are severe and cause momentary blindness (scared it’s a tumor). But being an adult is hard and it’s really scary.
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