Kim (left) pictured with her mother.
How talking to your mom about her health history can help you stay on top of your own well-being.
A couple Decembers years ago, sitting at my favorite lunch spot, my mom broke into the easy conversation with a not so subtle “your glands look swollen, I want a blood test for Christmas.” As a good daughter, I gave my mom her wish. She wasn’t wrong. My thyroid condition was a little out of whack. Nothing major, but an important check-in. I’ve had a health journey full of great physicians, nurses and therapists, but no one has influenced it more than my mom.
She has taught me the little things, the big things and many things in between. Other than being influenced by her mother, who would have likely been a physician had she been born a generation or two later, my mom has no formal medical training, but her tenacity and determination to live her healthiest life possible have guided our entire family and given us a broad perspective on our health. Here are few things my mom has taught me about my health:
Nutrition is nearly everything.
My mom and I have Hashimoto’s disease that results in hypothyroidism. She’s been medicated for her condition for decades. Throughout her thirty-year journey of treating the condition, she has learned invaluable information including the importance of nutrition. Through her learnings, I tackle my condition with diet. I’ve stayed off prescription medicine to this point through a diet that supports anti-inflammatory and autoimmune health.
Know your history but know your history.
While my mom and I share many medical similarities, we are not the same. Recently, this point was driven home when she was examining the necessity of continuing a medication she’s been off and on over the years. Her labs in the ‘iffy’ territory combined with an extensive family history were leading to a recommendation to continue with the medication. Through conversation and a deep understanding of her health history, her doctor recommended a scan to determine her specific risk. The result, she had nearly zero risk. Her family history, is not likely to be her history.
Pay attention and know your numbers.
With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, doctor’s visits can seem like a burden or transactional. My mom has helped me see that there is a bigger picture to my health. She’s taught me the importance of knowing my health numbers — whether with my thyroid, A1C, or others. There have been times that I’ve felt great, yet my numbers have told a different story. Paying attention to how I feel — physically, mentally, emotionally — is critical, but also knowing what my body is experiencing during those times may save my life one day.
As you go into Mother’s Day, ask your mom what she’s learned about her health and what she hopes for you. If your mom is smiling down on you this Mother’s Day, think back to that health advice she once gave you and give her that gift today.
Kimberly Lauersdorf is the Former Vice President of Marketing at EmblemHealth.