Ok, I freely admit that I am probably going to go on my soapbox a tiny bit here, but please bear with it.
Have you had your cholesterol tested lately? An actual proper test, where you fast for twelve hours before the blood is drawn? If not, you should think of doing so--it could save your life. It has probably saved mine.
Recently, I went to see my endocrinologist, who is a lovely Irish lady that likes to yell at me to lose weight periodically. She mentioned that I hadn't had my cholesterol tested lately (as in, like the last year), and that it would be good to get some numbers on me. I dutifully took my bloodwork script, fasted the requisite amount of time, and then went to visit the friendly vampires (phlebotomists) at Quest Diagnostics. Then, this past Monday, I received a phone call.
Apparently, my triglycerides are "dangerously high". Dangerously high as in they are 548 mg/dL. So high, in fact, that I should probably have some form of heart disease. And I am only twenty-six years old.
Now, before you leap to conclusions, let me explain a few things. I have a metabolic disorder (no, it's not diabetes), which is why I see the endocrinologist in the first place; this disorder is partially responsible for the high triglycerides number. I am also overweight, although not so overweight that I should have such a high number (for the record, I am 5'3" and weigh 196.6lbs.); the extra weight is partially responsible for the triglycerides number. And I also have a family history of cholesterol abnormalities, which may also be contributing to this.
Regardless of their actual cause, however, the high triglycerides are a problem that need to be immediately treated. So I am now on Omacor, which are these giant pills that essentially contain pure omega-3 acids. I am seeing a nutritionist next week, who is going to help come up with a diet and exercise plan for me, since even losing a little bit of weight can help. And I am supposed to attempt to remain relatively unstressed--eventually, they may send me for other heart tests, just to make sure everything is still working fine.
Why, you ask, am I telling you all this?
Because it does not matter what age you are. It does not matter what physical condition you are in. It does not matter if you are a man or a woman or an alien from Krypton. You MUST get your cholesterol tested.
Yes, needles suck; bloodwork sucks.
But if you catch something bad, like my triglycerides, you can treat it early. You can get better. You can reduce the bad numbers and change your lifestyle, so that you remain healthy and happy. I want at least sixty more years to my life, and I'm damn well going to do all I can to ensure that I can get it.
Go to your doctor. Pay your stupid co-pay. And go get that bloodwork done, whether you're 14 or 94.
PS. I assume people are wondering how this will affect my career as an agent, and the simple answer is that it won't. I intend to change my lifestyle somewhat this summer, so that I get better sleep, eat a more healthy diet, and exercise as much as possible. I am doing this to preserve my health. I'm going to find a local intern, hopefully, who will help with some of the snail mail slush. Chris thinks I should take a vacation and rest a bit, and I may do that for a week or two during the summer. But the overall picture remains the same: I do my work, I get my job done, and I continue doing something that I like. =)
Now, go get your cholesterol tested. Go. Walk out that door. I can see you, you know. Put your shoes on, get into your car, and go see that doctor. It can save your life. And I firmly, firmly believe that it has helped save mine.