Disclosure :: this post is sponsored by Touro Infirmary.
Why a Primary Care Provider is Vital For Your Health
Let’s be honest – many people only see a doctor when they have a pressing medical concern. With the new year approaching, studies show health-related resolutions normally top the list for people. Getting an annual checkup with your primary care physician each year is crucial to staying healthy. Meet Roland, who shares his journey of being diagnosed with lung cancer after a new patient checkup with his primary care provider.
My name is Roland Pierre. I’m 66 years old. I’m a New Orleans native and have been here most of my life, expect for some time in the military. I started seeing a primary care provider when I started working for the public-school system. I took advantage of the insurance they provided, and I wanted to see someone in or around Touro hospital. My wife referred me to a physician who was affiliated with Touro for quite some time. I was with him for maybe seven years until he passed about a year and a half to two years ago. When he passed, I asked his nurse who would she recommend, and she referred me to Dr. Meredith Maxwell. Shortly after that I got an appointment with her and she became my primary care physician.
Dr. Maxwell has been great. She’s thorough in her work. She immediately ordered the kind of test that were appropriate for a person my age and a new patient. As she learned more about me, she learned that I smoked cigarettes for almost 50 years. At that point she ordered a brain and a chest CT scan to see how healthy my body was internally. The brain scan came back clear and my chest CT came back showing a mass on my lower left lung that was cancerous. She referred me to a group of doctors, including Dr. Ninan, who came together to help me.
Understand this – for 66 years I’ve never had a problem with anything, I don’t think I’ve ever been in the hospital overnight, at all. I’m athletic, energetic, I move around a lot, I’ve never had any major pain, and I’ve never really had a sick day in my life. To find out that I had a mass on my lung that could very well kill me, was shocking.
You have to have a primary care provider and check on yourself. You have to know what your body is like. I didn’t think that I had anything wrong with me, and I would not have known about the mass if it weren’t for Dr. Maxwell. I would have never known, and it may have continued to grow where it would have eventually been stage 4 lung cancer.
If I had not had a primary care physician or ignored myself until I got sick, instead of preventative maintenance, there’s no telling what could have happened. If you don’t have a primary care physician, find one. If you do have a primary care physician, stay in contact with them.
Whether or not you are ill, a primary care provider is vital for keeping you healthy, preventing issues from becoming more serious, and understanding your health history over time. Start the new year off by making your health a priority and make an appointment with your primary care physician.