My Mother, My Friend

Twenty Critical Health Questions To Ask Your Mother
(Or Daughters, Grandmothers, Sisters, Aunts,
or Any Other Women You Love!)

Adapted from My Mother, My Friend
by Mary Marcdante

One of the most significant insights I had upon completing my mother’s health history while writing My Mother, My Friend was the pervasive theme throughout her life: illness was the status quo, punctuated with moments of health. As I began to uncover how deeply rooted this belief has been in my own mind, I was able to see how important it is to work every day at changing these messages so that I have a healthier outcome that she did.

I hope that your situation is different than mine was and that you and your mother are healthy and support each other in staying healthy. If that is the case, congratulations! Keep doing what you're doing.

If you and/or your mother have health challenges, remember it's NEVER too late to create better health! Every day that you are breathing is an opportunity to improve your health, no matter how bad it seems or how much pain you're in. The key is your willingness to change. All you have to do at first is BE WILLING TO CHANGE. Your willingness opens your mind's door to positive possibility, which is essential for self-motivation. Taking action is the final ingredient that will bring you and your mother better health.

Before you talk with your mother, ask yourself these questions and write the answers in your journal:

  • What are my beliefs about my health?

  • How has my mother influenced my beliefs about health?

  • If I were in control of my mother’s health (which I’m not), I’d want her to:

  • What I most need to do to maintain better health is:  

When You Have Your Health, You Can Do Anything

   Living a healthy life for as long as we’re blessed to live is, to me, one of the biggest challenges and greatest responsibilities we have as human beings. A mother in one of my stress management seminars said it so clearly, “I never thought about my health until it was taken away. It wasn’t until I had a heart attack that I realized I had so much control over my own health. I started fighting like hell to live, and found a new woman inside me – strong, brave, and determined to get well. When you lose your health, you lose everything. When you have your health, you can do anything.”

   Creating a health history with your mother is one of the healthiest things you will do for both of you. Your mother may have filled out a similar type of questionnaire to the one below for her doctor, but are you've never seen it, nor did she keep a copy. Keep a copy! One day you'll be glad you did. Take the time now to share your answers with each other. Even if some of the questions don't apply, talk about what does. The more we share, the more we learn and can make healthier choices.

   The questions below are set up in a worksheet format for you to print out and use as a journal to ask and answer questions about your mother's and your own health history.

Questions for Your Mom…

1.    Who is your doctor? What is his or her phone number?  Other doctors?

2.   What is your health insurance company and phone number?  Your policy and ID number?

3.   What medications are you taking now?

4.   Are you allergic to any medications? Which ones? ______________________

5.   When was the last time you had a
____ HPV test - (human papillomavirus - the cause of cervical cancer (for women 30+)
____ Pap smear?
____ Mammogram?
____ Colonoscopy?
____ Bone density test?
____ Blood work?
____ Baseline hormone measurements?

6.   When is your next doctor's appointment scheduled?____________________________
I'd like to go with you and take notes. Would that be okay?____

7.    Would you write a letter of permission, giving me access to your health records if that
became necessary

8.    Tell me everything you know about your health history, starting with your childhood.
Tell me everything about Dad’s. My grandparents' medical conditions? My childhood illnesses.

9.   Is there any history in our family of (and if so, who?):

  • Addictions:  Alcoholism?____ Cirrhosis of the Liver?____ Drug abuse?____

  • Allergies:  Asthma?____  Drug allergies?____  Food allergies?____

  • Bones:  Osteoporosis?____

  • Cancer:   What kind?_____________________________________________

  • Heart:  High or low blood pressure?____ Heart Disease?____   Stroke?____

  • Immune System:  HIV?____  Candidiasis?____  Chronic fatigue?____ 
    Lupus?____  Multiple Sclerosis?____

  • Mental Illness:  Depression?____  Anxiety?____  Panic Attacks?____
    Migraine Headaches?____

  • Reproductive System:  Gynecological problems? ___________________________
    Bladder infections?____  Fibroids?____  Ovarian cysts?____  Yeast infections?____
    Breast cysts?____  Hysterectomy?____  Oophorectomy (ovaries removed)?____

  • Surgeries: Gallstones?____   Kidney stones?____  Heart Bypass?___
    Other: _____________________________________________

  • Weight: Obesity?____  Anorexia?____  Bulemia?____

10.  Have you ever been to a therapist?____  Psychiatrist?____ What for?_________________
Taken anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication?____ Why?  _____________________  
Anyone else in the family? __________________________________________________ 
Have you ever felt suicidal?____ If so, what was going on in your life?_________________

11. Would you like some help with meal planning and food preparation?____
Are you taking any vitamins?____  Supplements?____
What are they and how many?_______________________________________________
For what symptoms?______________________________________________________

12. What kind of exercise are you doing? ___________________________________________
Would you like to work out a reasonable exercise plan with me?____

13. When did you start menstruating?____ What were your periods like?________________
Did you ever have any PMS symptoms?_________________________________________
What did you do for relief?___________________________________________________
How did you learn about menstruation?________________________________________
Did you and your mother ever talk about it?_______________________________________

14. When did you start menopause?____   How old were you when you finished?____
What symptoms did you experience?_________________________________________
Was it different than what you expected?_______________________________________

15. If you became seriously ill, how would you me to respond?________________________

16. How would you like to be cared for if you became seriously ill? _____________________

17. What concerns you the most about your health?___________________________________

18. What's one thing you could do that would help you feel healthier?______________________

19. Is there anything I can do to help you be healthier?__________________________________

20. One thing I'd appreciate you doing to help me be healthier is _______________________________________________________________

copyright 2001-2013 Mary Marcdante. Feel free to make copies for you and your mom.

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