In yesterday's post, I shared how I learned about my increased risk of carotid artery disease due to my past radiation therapy. So how did I get from rattled to relaxed? My thoughts went something like this:
It is what it is. Undoing the radiation exposure is impossible. Any time, energy or attention spent wishing I didn't have that exposure is wasted.
Nothing just happened. My medical condition and risk of stroke were the same after the lecture as before. The only thing that changed was my knowledge of my risk.
The increased risk is worth it. I am a survivor because of that radiation therapy years ago. Today I am writing and speaking, planning my daughters' weddings, visiting my son, loving my husband and enjoying my friends thanks to that radiation therapy years ago. It did the job it was intended to do, and I'm grateful.
Most long-term survivors with this risk do not suffer a stroke. My chance of not having a stroke is still good. And since I don't smoke or have diabetes, hypertension or hyperlipidemia (all independent risk factors for vascular disease), my risk for stroke may be even less than the figures.
Ignorance is not bliss when it closes a window of opportunity to improve the outcome. Knowledge is power only if I act on this new knowledge is healthy ways. Tomorrow I'll share the steps I will take to help decrease my overall risk of stroke.