Erica Ehm Exposed!


Best Birthday Gift Ever

Taking Care of Me

by: Erica Ehm

I am having the best freaking birthday this year. Why? Partly because of this, and also because of this:


but really because I bought myself The Best Gift.

I don't know about you, but I have been putting myself last a lot lately - mostly due to time constraints. Forgetting to get a check up, putting off the yoga classes, sporadic, infrequent runs, not enough sleep, eating like crap. Shall I go on?

That's why, last week, I booked myself in for an executive check-up at a private clinic. It's not cheap, but I've saved some money this year and decided it was time to take care myself. Could the money have been better spent on my kids' programs or our grocery bill? Not a chance.

The way I see it - if I get sick, everything goes to shit. Especially my family life. So, I sucked it up, paid the bill and spent the entire day being shuffled from one doctor to the next, getting my body examined head to toe, inside and out. I bought myself peace of mind.

The experience at Medcan was kind of like going to the spa. You're guided to a calm waiting room with lots of healthy food for nibbling on. Then some doctor, nurse or technician comes to the room and calls your name for their portion of your check up.

I started the day with a full blood test, and then moved on to a chest x-ray, ultrasound of my pancreas, kidneys and liver, a hearing test, an ultrasound of my ovaries, a consult with a nutritionist, and then a sit down with a GP.

Then I had full eye exam which meant putting in those drops that dilate and freeze your pupils. This is what the inside of my eye look like.

Apparently, in the Victorian era, fashionable women were placing drops of atropine solution into their eyes as a cosmetic. The dilation of the pupils made the women more appealing by causing males to believe they were the object of emotional attraction. Didn't work for me. It just made everything look hazy. But I did find out I need glasses.

One of my biggest fears is the C word - I'll say it out loud. CANCER - specifically Breast Cancer. My grandmother survived the Holocaust but died ten years later from Breast Cancer. A mammogram was essential for me. If you've had one before, you get how uncomfortable they can be, as the machine needs to squish your breast in order to get a good view. Wanda was the technician in charge. She was delightful, careful and literally ran from my squished breast to take the shot to remove the pressure asap.

Right away she informed me I had dense breasts which meant the mammogram couldn't get a clear view of what was going on in my breast tissue. Nothing to worry about, but she sent me immediately down the hall for a breast ultrasound. This is what the inside of my breast looks like. No tumours or growths, thank you very much. Phew!

The one "station" I wasn't worried about was the stress test. First Ben, the technician, tested the pulse IN MY ANKLE to make sure there were no blockages in my arteries.

Then he hooked me up to an electrocardiogram and had me walk briskly on a treadmill. As he increased the intensity of the pace and incline, he monitored my heart to see how it was dealing with the extra stress. Since I've been running for a long time, I was cavalier about doing this; quite sure I would pass with flying colours. Ironically, I sucked. The only test important test in which I was below average for my age was this stress test. I was told to go home and work on getting my heart rate up. I left the room kinda freaked out that my heart isn't as strong as it should be.

The BodPod is a quirky machine that tests the amount of fat vs muscle. I was in the healthy range of 29%.

My twenty minute fit test session with fitness trainer told the same story as the stress test. I'm below average for strength and flexibility. I was told to go home and workout more. Seemed to be a theme.

The day ended with a wrap up discussion with the GP. After gathering the results of the day's tests, she provided her insights and a few key pieces of advice. Top of the list - to include more Vitamin D, Omega -3's and calcium in my diet. And to start using supplements. And start exercising.

I went home and had a big cry of relief. I am healthy. My body is still strong. I will be here for my kids. Now I have to follow the doctor's orders and take better care of myself.

So, can you imagine a better gift?

Happy Birthday to me!