Life · mental health

Self-Care and Physical Health

A few months ago I posted the question of what self-care means. It was never intended to be more than just an inquiry for my readers to respond to. Since that day, however, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the term “self-care” and have been trying to figure out what it means for me. It’s been an interesting experiment and has actually fueled a good deal of the writing I’ve done lately. Despite the fact that I was having a bit of a mental health crisis at the time I wrote my original post, I suppose I can be grateful that something good came from it.

If you Google “self-care” you will quickly learn that it means something different for everyone. I haven’t quite figured out all the specifics of my own self-care plan yet, but there is one that I have been unable to avoid: Taking care of my physical health. This one should be a no-brainer, but surprisingly, there are a lot of people who neglect their physical health. Whether it’s for financial reasons, laziness, fear, or lack of awareness, lots of people are guilty of this. I have certainly been guilty of this. Unfortunately, certain things happen sometimes that we simply can’t avoid.

In my early twenties I developed a mole on my back that was questionable. I ignored it for a long time. I mean, it was “just a mole.” I’ve had freckles and moles all over my body since childhood. What was the big deal about one more? About a year after that mole showed up my mother and ex-husband insisted that I get it checked out. They were insistent enough that I eventually went to the doctor, more concerned with getting them off my back rather than the mole. My doctor said it was probably nothing. Just an abnormal mole. He assured me that I was young and likely had nothing to worry about.

He was wrong.

After getting the mole tested we discovered that I had melanoma. (For those who are unfamiliar with it, melanoma is a type of skin cancer.) I was devastated. I was young and in seemingly good health. How could I possibly have some sort of cancer? It turns out that cancer doesn’t always discriminate.

Fortunately, when caught early melanoma can be treated. (When left untreated it can spread to other parts of the body and become fatal.) This was the case for me. There were some traumatic surgical procedures involved, but my dermatologists were able to get rid of it. This was also the case the second time that I had it. In the picture below you can see some of the scars that I’ve collected, thanks to skin cancer.


Obviously, since then I’ve learned that I need to be more pro-active when it comes to my health. Even if something seems like a minor problem, it’s best to get it checked out. You never know what it could be.

The reason I’m posting this is because I’ve been having a difficult week. Not one, but two separate medical issues have popped up recently that I am unable to avoid. I’m not sure how serious either of them are yet, but there are appointments scheduled so that I can get things tested out. I’d like to say that I’ve been handling it well, but, truthfully, I’ve been worried. Everyone is telling me not to panic until I know what’s going on, but that’s a difficult task for me. (Hello, anxiety!) As easy as it would be to just ignore these problems and not worry, I know that that isn’t the best idea.

I hope to have some answers soon and have some peace of mind. For now, I am trying to stay calm. Either way, whatever it is that needs to be done, I am going to take care of it because there is no other choice.

We spent a lot of time talking about “self-care” and what it means for our mental health, but without our physical health we can only put in so much effort.


I’ve got some pretty sweet battle scars, don’t I? 😉 



15 thoughts on “Self-Care and Physical Health

  1. Kiersten, I understand the fear and anxiety when something like this happens. Just a few months ago my blood work was so bad my primary doc and my cardiologist both thought I had leukemia. I won’t go into details, but the numbers were that far off. One month follow up and everything is fine again! I have no idea what was going on. But as far as ignoring doctors I’m the king (and I’m a retired paramedic – you’d think I knew better). I was having chest pains on and off for over a month, but since the pain was short lived I ignored it. Turns out I had been in A-Fib for most of that time. Luckily the Wifey insisted I go to the ER one day when it wouldn’t go away.

    And as you say, I’m here to talk if you someone.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s scary stuff right there. I’m glad you’re doing better now!

      Thank you, I really appreciate it. I’m trying to stay calm and be positive at the moment (easier said than done, right?). Everyone keeps telling me not to worry until I have a reason to.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Listen to your doc (and your mom too). Hang in there. It’s taken me 59 years to realize that it’s usually not as bad as you/I think. That’s one of the tricks our imbalanced minds play on us. I’m definitely a “worst case scenario” kind of guy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. In the past few years I’ve had five melanomas removed (cut out!) along wish several other fancy-named skin cancers. I grew up and lived in Florida near the beach most of my life, but was never a sun worshiper. I had a melanoma removed off the side of my neck (by a plasctic surgeon) about a year ago. Now, another suspicious-looking mole is growing in the same spot. I see my VA dermatologist next month. I sure hope your problems turn out not to be serious. I’m pulling for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s nothing more relaxing than having someone hack into your body and cauterize your wounds WHILE YOU’RE AWAKE. Eh? I hope the new mole is nothing to worry about!


  3. Ahoy there matey! I don’t normally talk about me personal life on the blog as it is mostly a place for me to enjoy and relax. And yet I saw this headline and knew that I had to take time to read it when I could concentrate. Self-care is an area that I don’t always (i.e. practically never) do well in. These last two years have frankly sucked in many ways and I thought I was finally done with doctor’s appointments and procedures. So I was totally avoiding the signs that I needed to go back because I was just so tired and wanted to ignore the new problems. Cue lots of anger about being young and suffering. This post and the first mate’s help have led me to make the first three appointments in what may be the next long journey towards stabilization. Of course waiting for those appointments has led to anxiety and mental health crisis of a sorts. Sigh. But I will fight this next foe and sail the rough seas and come out better for it on this end. Arrrr!
    x The Captain
    PS Scars are a mark of survival. I wear mine with pride. And of course if ye be like me ye can always have a different adventurous story about how the scars came about – sharks, man-eating mermaids, sword fighting in dark alleys . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself, as scary as it is. I have some appointments coming up soon that causing me lots of anxiety also. But alas, they need to happen. If you ever need someone to talk to I’d be happy to lend an ear.

      (I usually tell people I got in a knife fight. A shark attack might be a good one too…)


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