Achey Breaky Heart


By Molly MacDonald

A friend of mine had been silently enduring what she described as an achey heart for months.  She put off going to the doctor, because Thanksgiving was coming, then it was Christmas time, then her daughter was having a baby. . . . . she was too busy caring for everyone else to care for herself.  Isn’t that just like us women . . . . we put off today, what we can do tomorrow, or the next day or next month or the next year, until it is perhaps too late.

Fortunately my friend’s discomfort became, even for her, unbearable, so she went to the doctor; and yesterday they pried open her chest and replaced her aortic valve with one from a pig. (I told her I will expect her to utter an “oink” now and then.)   What they found upon physicial inspection of her heart was even greater damage than the diagnostic tests showed.  Had she waited even just a few more weeks, the outcome could have been, well . . . . dare I say fatal.

So I suspect, you are thinking, what does any of this have to do with breast cancer?

A lot!

It’s all about  the putting off of the important stuff for what we perceive as the tyranny of the urgent.  You know all the planning that goes along with producing whatever holidays you celebrate, not missing work, saying yes when we should be saying no.    Placing a higher priority of the needs of others, before our own, is risky business (and  not of the Tom Cruise variety).

Breast cancer awareness is now so great that you can hardly go anywhere without seeing a pink ribbon somewhere,   The ribbon serves as reminder to check your breasts monthly and to schedule your annual mammogram.  That reminder can come even while standing in the check out line at the grocery.  Particularly if it happens to be October.

So this month is February, the month we women are reminded to pay attention to our heart health.  Hearts are everywhere of course.  It is the ultimate month of celebrating love, sending and receiving Valentines.  (The American Heart Association has designated February  to raising awareness of heart disease—by the way the number one killer of women, with breast cancer being number two) and I am asking you to pay as much attention to your heart as your breasts.

Don’t let an achey heart get to the point of breaking.  And while your at it, check your breasts and schedule your annual mammogram.   Do today what you can put off until tomorrow.  Its the most loving thing you can do for yourself and for others.

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