2020 Medical Check-Up

It’s the dreaded time of the year again and I am feeling antsy waiting for my health report card as I’m not sure what to expect.  All the “what if”s have been playing in my mind since a couple of weeks ago. Yup, I’m that high-strung.

HFM’s Annual Medical Checklist:

Blood work for blood sugar and cholesterol – ✅
Pap smear ✅
Breasts ultrasound scan ✅
Pelvic ultrasound scan ✅
Total blood count test  ❎– will do it at AA Pharmacy this Saturday
Colonoscopy 🔜 — to be done in 3 years and am already starting to prep myself mentally for it.

Today I went to the gynae’s clinic to have my pap smear, breasts ultrasound scan and pelvic ultrasound scan done.

Blood pressure is normal, albeit a little low but still A-OK. If only the same can be said for my cholesterol level. It’s still a tad high at 6.3 and that’s after so much refrainment from eating red meat and processed foods. I envy people who shove junk and tons of meat into their mouths yet their cholesterol readings are below 5! Life is just too unfair 🤦‍♀️

For those who are new to my blog, I have Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH).  People with FH are essentially born with high LDL cholesterol. Everyone’s cholesterol levels tend to rise with age. But those with FH have LDL levels that start high and go even higher over time. Diet and exercise alone cannot bring down the level much 😫.

The only time my cholesterol level was below 5 was when my red meat consumption was almost zilch. But the downside was my red blood cells numbers were so low that I was almost a goner with severe anemia. But thank God I manage to evade a blood transfusion before my Myomectomy surgery (for removal of uterine fibroid) 3 years ago after binging on red meat and popped Sangobion (iron tabs) twice a day for several months to increase my red blood cells.

The National Cancer Institute recommends Pap tests every one to two years. If women over the age of 30 have had normal tests for three consecutive years, they can talk to their doctors about spacing out the exam to every three years.  My gynae is of the opinion that I should have a pap smear done annually and I can’t agree more with her. In the event any malignancy is detected, it would likely be in the very early stage and there’s a higher chance of being treated and cured.

The annual appointment with your doctor itself is still a very important preventative health measure. The physical exam combined with the detailed health history obtained at the annual visit allows the doctor to more accurately determine a woman’s risk for certain diseases. This could lead the doctor to recommend that she begin earlier or more frequent screening.

Pap smears typically continue throughout a woman’s life, until she reaches the age of 65, unless she has had a hysterectomy. If so, she no longer needs Pap smears unless it is done to test for cervical or endometrial cancer. At that point, if a patient has had two normal Pap smears in the past 10 years and she has not had any seriously precancerous cells in the past 20 years, she can stop screening altogether.

I have a customer whose 60 something mom skipped her check up for more than a year and when she finally went to her gynae for a screening, a malignant lump was detected in her breast. Sadly she passed on a year later. This is just so sad.   It could have been detected earlier and treatment administered earlier and a life could have been saved.

I know I’m going to get hung up for the next 9-10 days until the Pap smear report is out. I’ll just have to deal with it as part and parcel of my life.   Ladies, if you’ve not done your Pap smear and ultrasound scan of your breasts and pelvic for years, it’s time to call your doctor’s office to fix an appointment. The package at my gynae’s office only costs RM350.  This could safe your life. Trust me.

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