“Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.”
A couple of weeks ago, I had a heart-wrenching conversation with a new client, a wonderful woman who’s been struggling with progressively worsening health issues for the last decade. She has seen multiple doctors and specialists over the years, but her symptoms have continued to intensify and become more frequent. In fact, every few weeks, she has what she calls an “episode,” during which it’s quite possible she will be bed-ridden for several days. Needless to say, her body is preventing her from being the mom, wife, friend and community member that she deeply desires to be.
While hearing that she is in regular physical pain was troubling enough, what really broke my heart was when she said: “I’ve accepted that my life is never going to be what it was, but I just don’t know that it’s going to get better at all. None of my doctors have told me that I will get better.”
Ugh! My heart broke open and spilled all over the floor at how defeated she feels. I mean, she’s still young! She’s got beautiful children, a loving husband, and a whole life ahead of her! Yet she’s wondering if she will ever have a day where she feels good – a day when she doesn’t have to worry that another assault by her own body is going to take her down. And despite the fact that she’s sought help, none of her healthcare providers have reassured her that she can and will feel better!
Unfortunately, her story isn’t uncommon. I talk to people all the time who have accepted that their current reality is as good as it gets. The following are examples of statements I hear constantly:
“It’s just part of getting older.”
“My doctor doesn’t know what it is, but he doesn’t think it’s a big deal, so we’re just going to monitor it.”
“I’ve always dealt with (insert any uncomfortable symptom you can think of), so I figure it’s just the way my body works.”
Since it’s is quite possible that if you’re reading this, you’re feeling similarly depleted and/or defeated by a chronic health issue, I’ll tell you the same thing I told my client: It can get better. You can take actions that will improve how your body functions and feels. Your body wants to heal and usually can heal given the right resources.
One of the keys to getting better is to surround yourself with other people who believe that you will. Here are my suggestions for the three crucial people you need on your healthcare team. Note that the same person may fill all these roles or, more likely, things will be spread out among two or three people. Regardless, the key is that you receive all three kinds of support on your journey back to better health.
1. Problem Solver: this person helps resolve the problem. Examples of problem solvers are doctors, naturopaths, dietitians, acupuncturists, massage therapists, physical therapists, and counselors. Depending on what is happening in your body, you may need more than one problem solver on your team, especially if there are multiple imbalances that need to be resolved.
If one or more people on your team are supposed to be problem solvers, but they aren’t actively helping you feel better in a way that makes sense to you, replace them with someone who will. A doctor who says “That’s just the way it is…” is of no use to you. Rather, look for a healthcare practitioner who says, “I think this is the best first step to helping you feel better, and if it doesn’t work after X amount of time, we’ll move onto the next idea. Does that work for you?”
2. Communicator: this person helps you understand what is happening in your body and why/how the suggested treatment plan can work. Having a communicator on your team is important, because your treatment plan shouldn’t overwhelm or confuse you; additional stress won’t help you get better. If your problem solvers aren’t good communicators, find someone who is, so that you are confident in your understanding of the information you’ve been given and in the actions you are taking.
3. Cheerleader: . Your cheerleader lets you vent on your bad days, calms your doubts, and celebrates with you like crazy for big and small victories alike. Although your healthcare team members may be cheerleaders, it’s also good to have a friend or family member who can support you day in and day out. If the people currently in your life aren’t being as supportive as you need them to be, clearly communicate to them what you need and see if they can and are willing to provide that kind of support. If they aren’t available to support you in the way that you require, seek out someone who is. Often, a person who has been in your shoes before and has gotten better is a great choice for this role, because they can empathize with what you are going through and give you hope as you see how far they have come.
Receiving the support you require is a crucial part of your journey to feeling better physically, mentally and emotionally. Most importantly, the right team members will believe that you can feel better.
If you don’t feel as good as you deserve to feel and you’re frustrated by the whole process, let’s talk. I will give you suggestions on how to find the right healthcare team members for you and support you in believing that you can get better, because I genuinely believe that you can.
Your #1 Believer,
Stephanie at NutritionQED.com
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