My Advice: Monitor Your Health


Permit me to share a bit of unsolicited advice. There are two parts to it. First, get an annual physical from a health professional. Second, if you sense an unusual change in your health, seek a physician’s advice.

Getting an annual checkup, with the accompanying tests (physical examination, blood work) permits you to establish baseline measurements about your health, which can be useful in identifying trends that may require additional follow-up. Seeking help when you experience an unexpected change (increased pain, odd swelling, etc.) can potentially identify a problem while it is still in an early stage.

I give this advice because I have seen family and friends skip annual checkups (“I’m very healthy. I don’t need to see a doctor” or “I hate going to the doctor”), or ignore warning signs. In one heartbreaking case for me, this lead to the untimely, and completely avoidable death of a wonderful individual, depriving us all, permanently, of the joy of their presence.

Consider my situation. I get annual checkups, and during a recent examination my PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test showed an increase in PSA. A subsequent test confirmed this, and I had a biopsy to determine the cause. It was cancer. Due to the type of cancer, and my age, I had two options: Radiation and surgery. I opted for surgery, and the operation was performed at the end of February this year.

Based on the post-surgical lab work on the removed tissue, and the first three post-op PSA tests, it looked like I was cancer-free. This changed earlier this month, as I now have a detectable PSA reading, which means that the cancer is still present. Importantly, we reacted quickly to the original diagnosis, and we are moving aggressively to address this new information. By doing so, we are giving me to best opportunity to overcome this ailment.

I’m sharing my story, and offering my advice, in hope that you monitor your health, providing you with the opportunity to address and overcome any obstacles before they get out of control, to the benefit of you and your loved ones.

So, please, if at all possible, adopt a regime of annual physicals. And if you notice something wrong, or out of the ordinary, get it checked out.