Publisher”s Letter: One life. One body. Ya might as well take good care of it!

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I must confess. You”re more likely to find me at the Dairy Queen than in the gym and until recently… well, I”d avoid a trip to the doctor at all cost. I think it came with my man card. The one that gives you rights like refusing to ask for directions, never admitting when you”re wrong, and that “no I”m not going to the doctor cause I”m tough and don”t get sick” thing.

I think folks like me are just pre-wired to avoid a trip to the doc. Not sure why. Maybe deep down we all have some fears. Fears about finding something wrong. Or the fear of a procedure. Maybe just the fear of the unknown.

And hey, if ya ignore stuff, maybe it”ll just fix itself. At some point though, if you”ve got any sense at all, the fear of “what will happen if you don”t treat yourself right” should kick in.

What I”ve found on my health journey is that the anxiety of thinking about going to the doctor far outweighs the experience itself. It”s amazing how you can let little unfounded fears build up and keep you from doing the very thing that can improve your health and save your life!

A couple years ago when one of those decade marking birthdays rolled around, I decided it was time to buck up and give a gift to my family and myself. Yep. I finally decided I needed to haul my stubborn, doc avoiding, medical phobic body and mind in for the annual physical. What better way to celebrate a birthday than a complete checkup and tune up?

I”ll be honest, just making the decision and committing to go was the hardest part. And once I was actually in the doctor”s office? I felt calm and at ease. It was fascinating to run through all the important system checks, marking them off the list. I learned that while I may not be that young, shiny sports car anymore, taking good care of an old vintage Buick like me has merit.

Yeah, I”ll admit that learning some of the facts was a bit sobering. Inevitably we all age and are bound to have an ailment or two as we progress through life. That”s all the more reason to take the best care of yourself you possibly can. And here”s a newsflash for you – go when you”re feeling good! Don”t wait til you”re deathly ill. Beyond just alleviating your worry, a regular physical can lead to early detection and prevention of some major health issues.

And speaking of early detection and prevention, read the inspirational survivors stories featured in our 2014 Heroes Project. The Heroes Project is our way of showing some love and support for cancer survivors and their families.

Cancer, as you know touches folks from all walks of life. Young and old. No matter where you”re from. I”ve met some of the bravest, wisest, full-of-life people working on this project and this year is no exception. Each of their stories inspires us – not just in matters of health, but in life itself.

This year, it was an honor to profile a group of heroes from ages 10 to 78, and I”ll admit featuring my own dad was a poignant moment for us all. Courage, determination and a positive outlook on life go a long way, as demonstrated by my pops and the rest of the 2014 Heroes.

So here”s to your health! Enjoy reading the features in this issue, and use them as a personal inspiration to take action and make health a priority.