Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dealing with health problems

With a nasty medical diagnosis, such as cancer, chronic illness or pain, one is left with a few questions which a medical professional cannot answer. You get to figure them out for yourself because you have instantly received an advanced degree in being human along with your diagnosis. There are five key questions to grapple with. I did not make this up I stole borrowed from the RA Guy and from here. (I like the RA Guy, he gives lots of good advice to me.)

The questions are:

1. Do we talk openly about our health problems or keep them private?

I think this is a personal decision. If you are Robin Roberts and can get the best medical care and organize a million supportive fans in no time, maybe talking publicly will work. It also means opening yourself up to a million questions and stupid requests. "Is that your hair or a wig?" "I'm sure if you take a nap you can come to my party and stay until midnight."

There is a middle of the road answer you can do what I do. Write a blog and send everyone who asks questions to read your blog. That way you can also control the flow of information. Whatever works for you. I do not recommend keeping quiet because talking about it may help with stress.

However I would be cautious in talking about your health in the work place. It is no business what your health ailments. You can just say you have health issues and need to alter your schedule to go to doctor appointments.

2. Do we ignore a new symptom or do we call our doctor?

That fine line between hypochondria and ignorant bliss. I have adopted the two week rule for myself. If it still is a problem for two weeks I start taking notes, consider the severity and then debate the doctor call. Sometimes I do a little research and find out my new symptom is part of my new diagnosis. I did not know people with fibro get headaches. All of a sudden I have been getting headaches, I now write them off to fibro and ignore them. Unless they make me cranky.

3. Do we follow our doctor’s treatment plan or do we try alternative and unconventional therapies?

Hmmm... common sense tells me to do whatever seems will help within any limits my doctors have given me. I am not about to try yoga, no matter what people tell me, because my doctor has expressly forbidden anything that involves twisting my back and holding poses. I did acupuncture without any other consent. I just had to get over the icky needle thing first. I am very hesitant to take any herbals because of the number of medications I am on and how many problems I have had with interactions.

4. Do we push our bodies to the limit or do we play it safe?

That's an easy one for me. If I do too much I spend a day in bed. I have a new exercise plan that I can get through my entire workout and still function as a normal human being with is my goal these days. My life is carefully scheduled to allow or down time.

5. Should we fight aggressively to retain our health or should we accept our fate?

There is always hope. Never give up! I can't say anything else on this.

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