January 16, 2017 Liza Colimon, MD Stop... Just take a minute and check in. So when do you plan to go for that check up ? Pap smear? Breast exam you've been putting off for months? Not up to date on that yearly mammogram even though you found a lump? Have you been having chest pain or shortness of breath and have been ignoring it? Maybe you haven't gotten your period in months and have no clue why? Don't be the one to show up to the gynecologist six months pregnant and you had no clue. Oh, and this is typical... you've been having unprotected sex with a new partner and have had a pap smear or Chlamydia or Gonorhea testing. HIV test? Let's not even mention that! Or just maybe you have thyroid disease and haven't refilled your medication or had a follow up in as long as you can remember... We all know guilty women who prioritize everyone and everything else before their own health. I think my patients who work in healthcare are leading the pack of procrastinators. I can't begin to tell you the number of nurses I care for who have been experiencing bleeding after menopause and instead of making an appointment to rule out cancer, they are too busy caring for everyone else. Ask yourself this question on a daily basis... what could be more important in your life right now than your health? Are you not the most important person in your life? We come up with all types of excuses to ignore our health. And let's face it, life happens and we lose track of time. We don't stay abreast of healthcare guidelines and ignore warning signs when we should be seeking medical care. This is the biggest secret... Don't feel judged, just make your appointment. Chances are you physician hasn't been prioritizing their health either. I admit it, I've been guilty. Two cross country moves in Five years and three moves within that! I have to make a daily conscious effort to prioritize my needs first. I remember moving back to Boston from Orlando, and didn't have an exam for over a year. A breast lump I had planned to follow up in six months was suddenly getting its well overdue attention over a year later. As I called to make my annual appointment I heard my voice crack a bit as I mentioned... "Oh yes and by the way, my Intrauterine Device Expired six months ago... Can she remove it during my pap smear?" As a Gynecologist I should know better and do better. But the real truth is we are ALL Women Struggling with the juggling act. I don't even use the phrase work-life balance. I call it "My Juggle." I too let my to do list filled with school checklists for my 10 and 7 year old become a priority. Their activities, doctor's appointments and dentist appointments are always made before mine. Then the birthdays and holidays come... next thing you know the summer camp schedule planning becomes King. A sign of good parenting? Or mere self neglect. I struggle on a regular basis to fit it all in, daily meditation, exercise, work schedule and the second shift as a Mother, Wife and Homemaker. Whether you stay at home with your children or work we all share the challenge of making our healthcare a priority. I have to consciously check in with myself on a regular basis to ensure I'm doing my self due diligence, and renew my own Health Vows.