A gift of sound advice

Published 11:29 am Thursday, December 14, 2023

“One person can change a world.” 

~ a sign in Cheri Guy’s classroom

Last week, no matter how good intentions were, I could not for the life of me get a column finished. It was a struggle, even for someone who loves getting over-winded! Finally I realized it wasn’t going to happen and emailed ever-patient Jeff to admit defeat. There were no lame excuses given, only that I had good reason, despite it ending up sounding like a rather lame excuse to cop out at the last minute. Newspaper editors hear it all. 

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I realized the best way would be to think, take a break and speak from the heart, especially since this is the holiday season, although I’d rather wax poetic on what December brings: gatherings, pine and fir scent, candles lit on dark evenings. Maybe memories of shopping along garlanded Main Streets for ‘the’ gift. 

It dawned on me I have a gift to give in words, that could save or help another human being.

Dear Reader, it’s not a gift that any of us would think is a gift–but sometimes we need the gift of advice. In my case, this is an example of a few of my infamous columns about “don’t do what I did!” Usually something comical like absently-minded grinding a spoon in the Nutribullet by accident, or exploding glass bowls of oatmeal that must be cleaned up. Life is funny if you just look at it, humor intact even at those trial-by-fire moments. If we don’t laugh, we cry. 

Anyway, my gift is simple: don’t do what I did. Don’t put off early screenings, any screenings, or rechecks for health. 

Whether you have insurance or not, whether you’re young, in top-notch shape, or not. Do it. Don’t let it drop by the wayside, especially if  you’re over a certain age or demographic, or if you have had relatives with a known condition. 

For years, I endured poking, digging, mashing and a number of other not-so-fun procedures, and the older I got, the more stubborn I got about what I’d allow and not allow. You can only endure so much, right? 

Old Stubborn had enough. But I did agree (when insured enough) to non-invasive tests like Cologuard, knowing my dad passed away from inoperable colon cancer. Because I knew of no history of known breast cancer running in the family, I got more stubborn in the last three years about putting up with exploratory digging or constant mashings. 

This summer, after being reinstated with insurance (thanks to the Affordable Care Act), I was sent by our Saluda FNP Lisa Reese to an oncologist/hematologist for an iron infusion which led into a come-to-Jesus talk with him about more screenings. Cancer, being devious, can show up in sneaky other ways if there has been other kinds in a family line. Thanks to him and Lisa, I agreed to more checks and a recent biopsy that was indeed, the Big C. This isn’t about me: it’s about all of us, it can happen to anyone. 

Anyway, my gift is simple: don’t do what I did. Don’t put off early screenings, any screenings, or rechecks. Whether you have or don’t have insurance (there’s help out there), whether you feel OK, or don’t want to be poked, prodded, dug on or mashed. Do it. Don’t let it drop by the wayside, especially if  you’re over a certain age or demographic, or if you have had relatives with a known condition. Take this gift of advice, and if it makes a difference for one person, that’s the gift. 

Happy December birthday to Judy Ward, Holly Wilkes, Theresa Wilkes, Perry Ellwood, Donnie Hunter, Jeff Bradley, Preston Mintz, Carolyn Morgan, Susan Casey, Jeff Jenkins, Nikki Ammerman, Cas Haskell, Mary O. Ratcliffe, Laura Fields, Lord Blanton, Beth Brand, Jim Carson, Susan Ansley, Tom DeKay, and Ana Lilburn. 

Feel free to contact me at bbardos@gmail.com, (828) 817-6765, P.O. Box 331, Saluda, NC 28773, Facebook, or visit bonniebardos.com