One of the main problems with a lot of chronic illnesses, is that when symptoms appear it is nearly impossible for a diagnosis to be made. I’ve read hundreds of accounts of people suffering from pain for years before their (fill in the blank autoimmune, cancer, or other illness) was diagnosed. YEARS. Everyone heads to the doctor, usually their GP, who in turns runs tests, which then reveal nothing (or sometimes the wrong thing) and the patient is sent home.
Image from: http://hearinghealthfair.com/medical-screening-tests-5-ways-they-can-harm-your-health/
At some point you begin to feel like a hypochondriac, even though you know you aren’t. My last post, on being your own health advocate, hopefully resonates with you as it does me. Because the way our health care system is set up (at least in Canada) is that we have to ask for all the tests to be done, sometimes argue, and often beg. It’s not the fault of our GPs. They have general knowledge and are great at treating common illnesses. It’s just when something is more complicated, or seems to be lasting too long to be something ordinary, that problems arise.
Image from: http://castlehillmedicalcentre.com.au/finding-right-gp/
So what is the best course of action? When do you push and how often? Should we look into alternative medicines right away? There is no easy or right answer. If you aren’t happy with answers, then do your due diligence and seek them out. Try not to view yourself as a hypochondriac, even though it’s so easy to do. Take care of your body. Take care of your mind.
Image from: https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-healthy-concept-spirit-body-mind-image18665927
Whether you’re healthy or not, solicited and unsolicited advice about your health is something you can’t avoid. The peanut gallery always wants to pipe in, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Weeding out the good advice, from the bad advice, and the great advice from the good advice can be difficult though. It’s important to keep in mind who the advice is coming from, and what their qualifications are. Also, it depends on what source of advice you are getting.
Diet advice: kombucha (it really is amazing though)
Any time you reach out for advice, you’re more likely to take it. If you ask your GP or naturopath or chiropractor, you want their opinion, for them to give you something to try, in regards to whatever aspect of your health you’re trying to improve. Same thing when you buy a health, fitness or wellness magazine or read a blog like this. You’re trying to obtain the advice. The more difficult advice comes from people who have amazing intentions and just want to help. It tends to be more difficult to take that advice, and it may not always be correct, or work for you, just because it worked for them.
Self care advice: shower gels and body scrubs
That being said, you might be wondering, what’s the best health advice I’ve ever gotten? You are your own health advocate. Only you are responsible for getting answers.
This advice actually came from my mother. She got it from her gynecologist, before he retired. The reason I love this, is because it’s true. You know when there’s something wrong with your body, when something feels different or acts differently than it did before. I know I was in pain all the time when I went to my doctor. I knew his diagnosis was wrong when the medicine didn’t work. I know that every time I go see my GP or rheumatologist I have to make sure they know how I’m physically feeling, what’s changed, and that my rheumatologist should run tests every time, just in case something new pops up. I advocate for my health, because there is no one else to do it.
Mental health advice: puppy therapy (yes my dog was that furry before his grooming)
Diets are great. Exercise is important. All the health advice you get is with great intentions. You are the only one who can truly take care of you.
I’d love to hear what the best piece of health advice you’ve gotten is! Feel free to comment on this post, my instagram (janeversuspain), or my twitter (@janevspain). Or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
One of the worst things that can happen when you have chronic pain is a bad fall (also one of the worst things that can happen to elderly people, for those of you who read this). They are sometimes hard to prevent, and yet we need to do everything possible to do so.
Image from: http://vghtrauma.vch.ca/slips-trips-falls-international-conference/
Yesterday morning I was playing with my dog outside. He was being his usual cute and silly self, running around the backyard. There was a bit of fresh snow on the ground, but not much (and as it happens, it melted later that day). I fell… on my butt. I knew immediately that it was going to be a bad thing. And it was. Not right away but within a few hours (basically by the time I started my work shift), there was pain ripping through my body. My back, legs, even fingers. Attack of the pain for the next ten or so hours until I was finally able to get home and into a hot bath.
The plus side is that I feel quite a bit better today. And I will be heading to the chiropractor shortly. That brings me back to our benefits chat many posts ago. If you have them, use them. If you don’t, do what you can to take care of yourself. See the chiropractor, even once in awhile. Or physio or a massage (my next week plan). Any helps we can get with dealing with our chronic pain is so important.
Image from: http://www.officialsynapse.com/eagan-chiropractor/
I had a bit of psychological warfare with myself yesterday too. I became so sick of being in pain and there being no solution for it, I found myself crying in my car on my way to work. So I say this, cry it out when you need to. There is no shame in crying. Once you have, you can move on. Remember that you are not alone, that you will have bad days and good days.
II will leave you with a quote from Stephen Hawking (RIP). It’s a good quote to live by. “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”
Shout out to all the women of the world! And to all my female chronic pain warriors, my Janes versus pains! Have an awesome day!
Whether you’re dealing with chronic pain and illness, or you’re just reading the blog to support or gain insight, everyone faces health challenges on a regular basis. For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know that mine is chronic pain. What I want to know is, what’s your biggest health challenge?
All responses are anonymous. I want to dive further into the challenges you are also facing so we can work through them together, whether it’s big or small. Whether it’s physical health related, or mental health related, we all have our own issues, and I want this to be a community of support.
Also, if you have any specific health or wellness questions you want answered, please submit them too!