Preventative healthcare tips for freelancers

I’ve been struggling this year to get my blogging going again. I’m always pretty exhausted after the holidays. But this year, I’ve been super exhausted. I decided to make an appointment with my doctor for swollen glands in my neck (one feels like a rock), a runny nose, and an overall feeling of malaise. My appointment was scheduled for the first Monday of February. I was pretty sure I was experiencing my annual sinus infection (I get them all the time) and just wanted to get meds if I needed them. Two weeks of running on empty had worn me down. While I was downtown, I decided to get my annual mammogram screening. And just to be extra careful, I got a COVID test.

The next day, I was on a 10-day course of antibiotics, Claritin, and nasal spray. I have a follow-up with an ear, nose, and throat doctor for a hard lump or gland in my neck in two weeks. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then, the phone rang. It was the radiologist saying they found a suspicious mass in my right breast and I needed to come back in. I’ve been getting mammograms since 2007 and have never been called back.

My mind has been spinning for the last few days:

  • What if the lump in my neck and the one in my breast are related?
  • How am I going to work through this if it’s the worst outcome?
  • I need to get Ann Marie my new LastPass password.
  • OMG, why haven’t I lost that 20 pounds I know I need to lose?
  • I won’t take any new projects and just finish up what I have.
  • I can’t tell my parents this and worry them. I don’t want to tell friends and worry them.
  • My desk is a mess. I’m so unorganized right now because I’ve been feeling terrible.
  • I owe this person and that person a reply.
  • I started listing off all my friends that have battled breast cancer and wondered if I would join them in the fight.

I did get a negative test for COVID early in the week. That was good news. Meanwhile, I started listening to cancer books on Audible.  I started googling mammogram call back and learning statistics on how it’s not that unusual.  I managed to distract myself with a few things in the office and watched an epic snowstorm hit my neighborhood.  I worked on old to-dos at work just to get them out of my task list.  I watched health documentaries on Amazon Prime.

Graph from mammographysavelives.org

Graph from mammographysavelives.org

Today, my husband drove me to the doctor.  There is still a large amount of snow and slush around and I just didn’t want to be alone.  I put on a brave face and remembered the graphic I found on Twitter last night. The odds were in my favor.

I had to go in alone while my husband waited in the car.  I would text him what was happening.  With COVID, there were no companions allowed upstairs unless they were there for assistance in getting around.

I had my second mammogram (ouch) and was told I would either hear I could go home or I needed an ultrasound.  It was just a couple of minutes. I needed the ultrasound.

While getting the ultrasound, I find out they found another mass of some sort in the second mammogram.  Now, I have two to get checked out.  This really got my heart beating and I felt fear of the unknown.

About 5 minutes later the doctor came. I could breathe a sigh of relief, she said. They were both cysts.

I came home and fell back into bed. I haven’t been sleeping great all week waiting for this appointment. I still feel pretty sick from the sinus infection and still need to see the ear, nose, and throat doctor for the hard, swollen glands in my neck (next week).

This was a big wake-up call for me.  As someone that embraces the company of one philosophy, I realized how much is on my shoulders as that one person in charge of it all.  I realized how important it is to stay healthy so I can continue to do what I love to do.  I realized how fragile my business can be if I don’t take care of myself and if I don’t plan for the unexpected. I realize I need to use that GoWP account I set up and used once to outsource some maintenance work. I worked all of last year with the unexpected in mind – but not because of me!  I always had (still have) my parents as a worry, but since moving them into a care facility in the fall, that worry has lessened quite a bit.

This wake-up call is motiving me to get a lot in order. First up, I’m staying on top of my health.  I have my annual exams all booked in the next few weeks along with a dental appointment.

As business owners, staying on top of preventative care and screenings is an important part of running your business.  Make sure you are doing the following exams when needed:

Women:

  • Annual physical for blood pressure, cholesterol check, pap smears, BMI, blood glucose, and thyroid
  • Mammograms (age 40+)
  • Colon Cancer Screening (age 50)
  • Skin Examination
  • Dental Checkup

Men:

  • Annual physical for blood pressure, cholesterol check, prostrate exam, BMI, blood glucose, and thyroid
  • Colon Cancer Screening (age 50)
  • Skin Examination
  • Dental Checkup

We can’t have successful businesses if we aren’t taking care of our health.  I’m planning to do better in 2021.  Will you join me?

RESOURCES: How to stay healthy while running a business

About WebCami

Cami MacNamara has been designing websites since 2002 from her home office in Seattle, Washington. Her career started as a way to be a stay-at-home mom. Certification soon followed and persistence paid off. Cami has designed 500+ websites and wants to share what she learned along the way. Look for her at WordCamp Seattle. Follow: WebCami.com / Twitter / Instagram