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Ester Marsh: Listen to your body’s warning signals

Do you know and listen to your body?
Well, last weeks column definitely sparked a lot of (good) conversation. I hope that you have scheduled a colonoscopy if you are 50 or older and have not had one before.
As I mentioned earlier about my stomach issue, my wonderful doctors ó gynecologist Dr. Jesse Blumenthal, family physician Dr. Kribbs and gastroenterologist Dr. Jagar ó are on a path to figure out what in the world was going on with me. With a colonoscopy, two polyps were found and removed and when the results came in one was pre-cancerous. Thank God I am five years ahead of ěthe game.î Typically polyps do not give the symptoms I was experiencing. I like to believe that my body knows when something is not supposed to be there and it was warning me. Of course, it could also just be luck.
After this experience I am definitely an advocate for colonoscopies. And I promise, you wonít feel a thing.
One thing I really have been amazed by is I have spoken to quite a few people who dealt with cancers or other diseases and were ignoring the warning signs.
If you continue to have blood in your stool, that is a big sign something is not right. So, what when you find out it is ějustî a bleeding hemorrhoid, at least you know whatís happening.
How about constant stomach pains? You may find out found out your diverticulitis is so bad you need surgery and a colostomy. Or a cough that just does not go away?
You name it, and itís likely your body is trying to tell you it doesnít feel good. You just have to listen for the warnings.
Of course, that is not always the case. My younger sister found a lump under her arm and a week later she had confirmed breast cancer. And, yes, she is a survivor.
She didnít feel bad. She said she was never sick until the treatments.
Annual pap smears, prostate checks, none of us like to have them, but they are so important for good health and a great weapon in preventing or early detecting serious issues.
How about your heart? It is not normal to run out of breath when walking at an average pace.
One of my trainers, a long time ago, didnít feel right about how her client was running out of breath after a couple of minutes on the treadmill on a slow speed. She insisted the client needed to go to the doctor and have a treadmill test done.
Fortunately, the client listened and the next day he had a quadruple bypass!
It is so important to listen to your body. Unfortunately, I know many people who would love to have everything checked out but have no health insurance.
It saddens me tremendously, coming from a country ( the Netherlands) where everyone is insured, no matter what. But that is a whole other problem we have here.
I am blessed that I have great insurance through the YMCA.
My goal for todayís column is not to darken your mood but to make you aware that your body will tell you things. You canít expect it to function properly when you are not feeding it well. You canít run to the doctor with every itch you feel, but when it is something that continues to ěnag,î donít push it to the side.
Have it checked out if at all possible. See if you can make changes to help whatever is going on. Are you eating correctly, are you exercising, are you getting enough sleep?
I listen to my body, I know my ěnormalî aches and pains, but when something just doesnít feel right I listen and have it checked out.
Ester H Marsh, ACSM Cpt

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