I really enjoy the opportunity to share my out of door thoughts and experiences with you each month. I try to keep them lighthearted and offer my own opinions and experiences in an effort to share with you my love of the outdoors. I don't think anything is more important than being able to continue this passion I have; whether hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, or just working outside my house, with the greatest pleasure being when I can spend this time with family members. I guess I have finally come to the realization that we are all faced with many challenges, each and every day. Some of those challenges may threaten the opportunity to continue with our affairs in the outdoors.
While I've had a number of experiences that I would consider "wake up calls", I guess my closest was about 4 years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer. I know I was very lucky that it was found and rather quickly removed and through the last 4 years I have remained cancer free. I don't think I ever considered that this ailment would in any way hinder my love of and activities in the outdoors. I remember asking my Thoracic Surgeon how soon he thought I would be able to return to my love of tennis after my surgery. He just laughed and said I would know. Well, I did, in a rather short time and continue my outdoor activities as if nothing has happened. Imagine my surprise when my oncologist called in mid-January to discuss the recent CT scan I went through in preparation for my office visit with him. He put me at ease, as he said the scan was negative as far as my cancer was concerned--great news. Then he shocked me when he said the report shows a considerable aneurysm in my abdominal area. He wanted me to immediately see a specialist to look at the problem to get it resolved. Needless to say I immediately went to the web and found I have what is referred to as AAA or Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. It is a increase in the size of the Aortic artery in the abdominal area. As it grows in size the walls thin and create a risk of rupturing. This rupturing would cause internal bleeding, which could be life threatening. I am preparing myself for the surgery that will take place soon and will make me inactive for several weeks.
So, okay, why am I making this the subject of my"Everyday Outdoorsman" blog? Because I'm a man, and we don't always want to believe what we hear, or feel. When I went to my CT scan my doctor had ordered two scans; one on the lungs and one on the abdomen. Each test was separate and I didn't want to pay the deductible for two tests. Fortunately the tech who performed the test got enough of the abdominal area that the radiologist reading the scan identified the aneurysm. My wife and daughter had already chastised me for refusing to have the second scan done, so if the aneurysm has not shown upon the lung scan I would have no one but myself to blame. Similarly, when I was diagnosed with cancer, it was because I finally "made" myself an appointment with a urologist because for months I had thought I had a "man" problem. If I had not decided to make the appointment, who knows where my cancer problem would have gone. If not for the luck and work of the tech, my aneurysm might have gone undiscovered.
I guess you get the picture; I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to my own health. I share my experience with you because I hope to use my own experiences as awake up call to myself. I will try to pay closer attention to what I am feeling and what my body is telling me. I want to spend many more years in outdoor activities; see my grand kids grow; and grow old gracefully. I know now that unless I begin to stay focused on my body and what it is telling me, my outdoor pleasures could be limited. Listen to your body, don't put yourself at risk and do what your doctor orders. The enjoyment and pleasures of the outdoors can only be experienced while we walk the earth. Take care of yourself and may you have many years of outdoor activities and experiences.
A healthy 2013 to you.