Taylor Swift is pretty much an open book, so the fact that she just shared some incredibly personal news about her family on tumblr shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. But the actual news—and the story behind it—should make us all stop and pause.
"For Christmas this year, I asked my mom that one of her gifts to me be her going to the doctor to get screened for any health issues, just to ease some worries of mine," the 1989 star wrote. "She agreed, and went in to get checked. There were no red flags and she felt perfectly fine, but she did it just to get me and my brother off her case about it."
As a result of that health checkup, Swift's mom was diagnosed with cancer. The family isn't sharing exact details or treatment plans, but Swift did add this message from her mom:
"She wanted you to know because your parents may be too busy juggling everything they've got going on to go to the doctor, and maybe you reminding them to go get checked for cancer could possibly lead to an early diagnosis and an easier battle... Or peace of mind in knowing that they're healthy and there's nothing to worry about."
Does that message hit home for you? How many of us prioritize our kids' annual checkups and dental exams—and maybe even nag our partners to get physicals, or have that weird mole looked at—without putting the same priority on our own health? As I write this, I realize I'm overdue for my own annual skin check by a dermatologist.
And what about your own parents? Could they use that same reminder from you, or from a friend? A few years ago my mom had her own cancer scare: After a girls' night out with some friends where the topic of breast cancer came up, she did a self exam and—you guessed it—found a lump. A biopsy revealed that it was cancerous, and I'll never forget my sister's anguished call to me sharing the news. Thankfully, and for reasons I still don't exactly understand, upon further review the radiologist determined that it was precancerous rather than cancerous—and her doctor had removed more tissue than was necessary, just to be safe. She was in the clear—and is extra vigilant about self exams these days.
I'm deeply grateful that my mom was on top of her own health, but Talyor Swift's news led me to have another coversation with her about the experience. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to call the dermatologist...
Erika Janes is the Digital Director of Parents.com and the mom of two boys. Follow her on twitter: @ErikaJanes1