When Making Responsible Decisions Get Horrible Results
Make The Decisions Sooner
Sometimes we have to make responsible decisions like putting away ten percent of our salaries. We try to get the right amount of sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. Getting regular oil changes, taking care of our vehicles, and avoiding alcohol and addictive chemicals are all responsible choices. We even pay attention to the world around us and try to vote for the best-qualified candidates as part of our civic duty.
Getting A Physical
Getting a routine physical is equivalent to maintaining your car or truck, especially after a certain age. So, going to get a routine physical is a responsible decision. Most of the time, people don't worry too much about seeing their doctor for a routine physical. Their lives are going well, or at least they don't hate their lives. They feel well.
So, you are sitting in the doctor's office, reading through a magazine that was published a decade ago, and it's finally your turn. You are called into the office and as they escort you to the exam room the nurse has you step onto the scale. This is something you haven't done for a while. The number on the digital scale says you've dropped twenty pounds compared to your last weight. Yay!
The nurse takes you into the exam room and you go through the small talk. She gets your vitals and what meds you're currently taking for the records. Then, after just a couple of minutes, she's gone after telling you the doctor will be in to see you shortly. The disruption to your day is almost over, or so you think.
Eventually, your doctor comes into the office and greets you with her normal smile. Maybe your doctor is a he, but my doctor is a nice little Asian lady. After you have caught up with our doctor, going over the usual "how have you been?" and "what's new with you?" she asks you to hop up onto the exam table.
They listen to your lungs, listen to your heart, check your eyes, look down your throat and in your ears. If you're a male that is anywhere between 45 and 55 they've already started the process of having you bend over and relax. It's alright. We all go through it eventually and none of us enjoy having our prostates checked.
After you've been invasively inspected and the doctors asking you more questions that she doesn't verbally justify she tells you there's more she'd like to do.
"Since it's been three years we should get some blood work done. I'll have you go down to the lab and then have a seat in the waiting room for about an hour and we'll go through the results."
Yes, this is not a good sign. But, you go and get the lab work done because she's right, you haven't had blood drawn for a while. Testing your A1c makes sense. You were a borderline diabetic and managed to get off the meds the past few years. Your family history does have heart disease and strokes took both your parents. Much like your car, you like having your engine running at peak performance so a full tune-up sounds smart, right?
An hour goes by, then another. Finally, as your cell phone battery is getting close to its' death, you hear your name called. The same nurse as before has come to escort you back to see the doctor.
Fifteen minutes longer, after running your cell phone battery down even further, you feel anxious and are annoyed after spending an entire morning in the doctors' office. Finally, your doctor comes back in. The first thing you notice is that she's not smiling. Your spidey-sense tingles. You know something is amiss.
The doctor sits down and explains that she wants to go over your results and explain a few things. You wonder to yourself, wasn't that the plan all along? Then the doctor starts and your world is completely turned upside down.
Your CEAs and PSAs are high. Now, she admits that during the invasive exam she felt that your prostate was extremely enlarged. You know now that it isn't old man bladder creeping up early and it has nothing to do with the botched surgery you underwent years ago.
More tests! Great, you think. But, it's the only way to find out what stage you're in and what the options are? You've been there before. On your 38th birthday you took a loved one to the doctor, only to find out later that day they were in stage four advanced colorectal cancer. So, when you go through the tests and discover you're in real trouble, you're not surprised.
Questions like what haven't I done that I should have, how much time do I really have left, and why me, are going to come into your mind.
Diseases like cancer are unfortunately the most expensive in the world to treat. Chemo alone will cost a person between $2500 and $7500 a week. Not only will a person face bankruptcy by the time it's done if they're not in a "well off" position financially, but they will also lose much of what they've worked for, negatively affecting the quality of life people want at the end of their existence.
Then comes regret. Why didn't you start getting checked earlier? What were you waiting for?
Only the powers that be can tell how long the story is going to take to unfold from the time you receive the news. You'll now live as much like there's no tomorrow as you can, for as long as you can, because you don't know that there is a tomorrow. At some point, you'll have to tell your loved ones the bad news. Then, much sooner than you'd like, you may be gone.
But, the last part of the story hasn't been told yet.
The American Cancer Society And National Cancer Institute estimates that there are more than 15.5 million cancer survivors alive in the US today. The projection is that more than 20 million cancer survivors will be alive in the US by 2026.