While this summer has been a complete and exciting whirlwind for me, there is a part of my personal life that I haven’t had a chance to share with everyone. In short, my step-sister has been literally FIGHTING a battle against Leukemia. The diagnosis came as a complete shock to every one of us. What was even more shocking was the fact that within only 4 days of her diagnosis, her condition worsened to the point where we were afraid (and actually warned by doctors) that she would not be with us much longer.
I still remember the exact day we stood in the hospital with the doctor. I’d tell you his name, but I’m not particularly a fan and it would be bashing. My cousin asked him what the prognosis was. He replied (so callously), “Oh she’s definitely gonna die!” It was horrible. You can only imagine my personal horror, especially after having witnessed my younger brother fight a life-threatening liver disease less than a year ago. I believed in miracles back then, and I continue to believe in miracles!
I’m happy to report, however, that she is doing much better and her prognosis is looking much more positive now. From my family’s perspective, if there’s any good that has come out of this, this situation has given us a wake-up call when it comes to not only paying attention to, but truly become our own biggest advocates for our health.
Just to give a little background… For months leading to this diagnosis, we had no real reason to believe her health was in jeopardy. Sure, there were ailments here and there, but it was all basically things the average person would attribute to our busy lifestyles, stress, getting older, etc. Certainly not Leukemia. What’s more is that she’d actually been to see her doctor within the month before the diagnosis and, sadly, it was not detected.
As I spent time with her in the hospital, while she was under sedation and facing a very bleak potential outcome, I made it a point to talk to her nurses to learn about some things we can all do to be better advocates for our own health, even when the doctors are not necessarily able to. I learned that even when you go in for your annual physical, there are still several medical tests that your doctor may or may not perform unless specifically requested.
This really surprised me since you just assume that all of these are being done. This is the case for numerous reasons, such as your medical insurance plan, and failure to request one or more of these is not necessarily malpractice. With that said, here are the 4 specific medical tests I was recommended to specifically request on my next physical to help prevent such a medical tragedy from occurring again.
Necessary Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor, nor do I claim to be. This is information I have been given by a medical professional to use as a starting point. PLEASE be sure to consult with your doctor!!!
4 Medical Tests To Request At Your Next Physical
CBC – Complete Blood Count
A complete blood count test (CBC) measures several components and features of your blood. These include red blood cells, which carry oxygen. It is used to evaluate your overall health and detect a wide range of disorders, including anemia, infection and leukemia.
CMP – Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
A comprehensive metabolic panel is another blood test to request. It measures your sugar (glucose) level, electrolyte and fluid balance, kidney function, and liver function.
PTT – Partial Thromboplastin Time
Partial thromboplastin time is a blood test that looks at how long it takes for blood to clot. Unless you are on blood thinners, blood clotting should take about 25-35 seconds. An abnormal PTT test can help diagnose more serious conditions such as bleeding disorders, coagulation, inability to absorb nutrients, liver disease or Vitamin K deficiency.
CRP – C-Reactive Protein
The C-reactive protein is considered a non-specific “marker” for future risk of a variety of diseases. These include age-related diseases including heart disease, some forms of cancer and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, CRP tests are also used to determine risks of autoimmune diseases.
Again, keep these 4 medical tests in mind and bring them up to your doctor on your next physical. There may be more out there that would apply to your own individual health concerns. However, the most important thing is that you become your own advocate for your heath! Do your research and make sure you are always getting the level of medical care you want and deserve!