How do you take inventory when it comes to managing your chronic illness? Limbs all still attached? No blood coming from your eyeballs? No thoughts of engaging in cannibalism? Guess the meds are working!
But seriously, when your life is filled with the daily frustrations of a chronic disease, it can be difficult to gage whether or not your health is actually improving, staying the same, or spiraling out of control.
We’re more likely to ask ourselves, “am I going to get through the day?” than to ask ourselves, “am I well enough to enjoy my day?”
It’s not okay to just be getting by. And if you don’t stop, evaluate and ask yourself the right questions you can fall into a depression that you won’t even notice until you’re crying outside your doctor’s office with a handful of prescriptions and another cancelled night out.
Its Your Choice
Whether we realize it or not, we are always the deciding factor in our treatment plans. You go to the appointment. You ask the questions. You decide whether or not to fill a prescription or seek a second opinion.
If you don’t feel like you’re getting the best possible treatment — change course.
- Have I done my research on this doctor, this hospital, this surgery or this medication?
- Have I had all my questions answered in a way that I understand the responses?
- Have I sought out the advice of multiple doctors or different specialists?
- What are my priorities? Immediate treatment? Specialized treatment? Low risk treatments?
Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up
Are you afraid that your questions, concerns or input on your treatment options will offend your doctor?
Get over it.
This is your body. It’s the only one you have. It’s well-being comes before making the people who are supposed to be taking care of you comfortable.
Know The Value of Your Experience
A doctor can only tell you as much as he knows. A patient can only tell you as much as they feel. Both are invaluable resources when it comes to finding the right treatment—so find a medical team that you can communicate with, who will take your past experience into the equation.
You may not know all of the twists and turns your disease will take, but you know your body better than anybody else ever will. Always listen to your gut and find a physician who will listen too.
Always be asking: is this the best I can be? What can we do to make my body better?
Read more in my new book, Surviving and Thriving with an Invisible Chronic Illness.