I’ll call her Mary.

I could probably use her real name: she’s been dead over 20 years. I met her one night in the emergency room during my residency training. She had been bleeding for months, and finally became so weak that she allowed her family to bring her to the hospital. She hadn’t seen a doctor in years.

The diagnosis was easy to make once I examined her: late stage cervical cancer. We went through the steps: blood transfusion, biopsy, various X-rays, radiation treatment. We kept her as comfortable as we could. But Mary never went home again. She died less than three weeks later.

The real tragedy is that Mary didn’t have to die. At least not then. Not that way. She could have probably lived several more decades enjoying her life, her family – if only ….

If only she’d gotten a PAP test any time in the last 15 years, it’s likely the cancer could have been prevented.

If only she’d gone to the doctor when she started bleeding, it’s likely the cancer could have been treated before it killed her. It’s possible it could have even been cured.

If only she hadn’t waited so long, we might have been able to do so much more.

But this post isn’t really about Mary. It’s about YOU.

And it’s not really about PAP tests. It’s about the symptoms YOU might be ignoring.

Periodically it’s a good idea to do a mental check of the different areas of your life, and see if there are symptoms you might be ignoring. Symptoms that need to be dealt with before they get worse, and before the problem becomes deadly.

Here are some brief symptom checklists:

  • Physical health – Am I eating right? Exercising OK? Getting rest?
  • Emotional health – Am I letting go of resentment or anger? Are my emotions my servant, or have they become my master?
  • Financial health – If I’m in debt, am I making steady progress to get out? Am I making provision for the future, and for those that depend on me?
  • Parenting health – Are my children developing physically, emotionally, spiritually? Are there any danger signs of problems?
  • Marriage health – Am I and my spouse continuing to become closer? Are there any unfinished issues between us that are keeping us apart?
  • Spiritual health – Is my spiritual maturity increasing? Where is my relationship with God in my priority list? How do I know?
  • Life purpose – Am I doing something to give back to others, to the world? Am I pursuing my passion, or moving forward in discovering what that is?

Don’t wait until it’s too late, like Mary did. If you’ve got the symptoms, do something about it now!

Your turn: Are there any symptoms in your life that you need to pay attention to? What’s keeping you from doing so? I’d love to hear from you!


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