Birthday resolutions: The year of preventive care

Every year around my birthday I make a resolution to change some sort of habit in my life. These habits have ranged from frivolous (26: the year I vowed to stop buying shoes that hurt my feet) to simple-yet-important (24: the year I started putting on sunblock every day). I’ve done skin care. I’ve done saving more money. This year is the first year I’m making a resolution that I reaaaaallly don’t want to make: this year is the year I’m going to see doctors.

Birthday Cake ten inch top

The challenges:

Going to the doctor is difficult for me because I don’t like admitting that anything could be wrong with me (as a kid I wouldn’t tell my parents if I was sick) and I have a huge fear of needles. I am not a total doctor avoider–I see my nurse practitioner every year and have been to the dentist this year. But I feel like I could somehow be doing more related to my health, and I am starting to recognize that when things are bothering me healthwise I could just…talk to a doctor about them? And maybe they could be resolved???

I’ve decided to face this head on by getting more focused on preventive care. I read too many articles this year about how damn important it is. This started when my friend group started circulating articles about how men in particular have lower life expectancies, not just because of genetics, but because they tend to seek out less preventive care. Then I got all grad school on this and read a study about what makes having a primary care physician so important. Then I listened to a fun but totally over-the-top podcast about biohacking (using genetic testing to try to extend your own life!).

Image result for birthday cake milkbar
Cake is from MilkBar, and yes, you can get it delivered, if your birthday is also coming up!

The game plan:

  • Just like the infographic below says, I called and made all my doctors appointments in one afternoon. It was sort of a drag, but I didn’t let myself lose momentum this way (even when the first dentist’s office said they couldn’t fit me in for three months).
  • Talk to primary care physician about anyone other doctors I should be seeing. Ask more questions!
  • Make sure none of my concerns get erased by telling the office why I will be coming in on the phone while making my appointment. Example? I’m going to the dermatologist for my yearly skin check up (Gretchen Rubin inspired this one by talking about conquering nagging tasks like the skin cancer check!) in September, but I made sure to also say on the phone that I’d like to talk about treatments for my acne scarring. That way, it’s in the notes and doesn’t get lost in the rush of the appointment.
  • Get a clearer family history: there is some history of cancer on one side of my family but no one has ever given me a clear idea of where those cancers originated.
Doctor Appointments Infographic
I don’t think mole checkup should be considered a ‘bonus’ here…but otherwise this is good.

Here’s some additional reading that is helping me with my new habit:

Do you make yearly resolutions (new years or otherwise)? Got any good advice related to preventive care? Send it my way!

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