How I Manage Multiple Health Conditions
Last updated: April 2019
My medical history never seems to match my age, or quite honestly, my appearance. I “look” healthy. But what you can’t see on the surface is my years of managing multiple health conditions.
And four surgeries.
I’m 38 years old.
I honestly cannot recall a time when I wasn’t having to manage a health condition. I’m talking as far back as elementary school years. My friends were headed to playdates as I was being sent to the emergency room for another debilitating migraine. And the health concerns grew from there.
Living with "invisible" illness
It hasn’t been easy. I was often viewed as a hypochondriac – like so many others later diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. But deep down, I always knew when something was out of balance in my body.
Thankfully, I had the courage and determination to address my health concerns. I persisted until I found answers. I pursued the best health care providers that were collaborative. They would guide me with their medical studies and experience, and would equally value my input as the patient.
However, beyond the best care team, medical centers, and treatment options, it’s what I did outside of the medical setting that I felt helped me best manage my health. I chose to be selective with who I told what about my health. I discovered very early on that, like it or not, people will make judgements or offer unsolicited advice the more detail I shared with them about my health conditions. It’s also not what I wanted to be known for. I am a true believer that you teach people how you want to be treated.
The inner circle
I decided that I needed a select few in my world that I could let in and share about my health concerns and challenges.
These people were ones that I knew would:
- Listen more than they spoke
- Encourage me to find my own solution
- Support me in fighting for me health
The rest of the people in my world? I would be happy to share a brief overview if they asked about my health, but I wouldn’t get into detail. Why was this distinction so important? Because it gave me the confidence in knowing that I had a trusted support team and I didn’t need to “justify” anything about myself to anyone else.
Controlling my own narrative
It also put parameters around the conversation of health. Otherwise, it could easily become the topic of conversation when the average person asked how I was doing. That which you focus on gets bigger. I truly believe this.
The more I spoke about my health challenges, that’s what I would be known for. It would become the center of my own world. I also would be spending more time talking about the problem than I would talking about what I actually wanted – my optimal health.
That said, there were certainly times when I had to cancel plans on someone who wasn’t fully looped in on my health challenges. In those situations, I would simply tell them that I wasn’t feeling well and without trying to justify my reason, I found the simpler I kept it and with more conviction I spoke, the less of an issue it became.
Every person is different
Who you let in and how much you share will likely look different for each person and it’s a personal decision. But know that you don’t have to justify your health and your actions to support your health to every person around you.
You are honoring your body the very best way you know how in this moment. How much do you let your friends and family in on your health journey?
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