Today's blog prompt: Active versus reactive patients. We usually start as naïve and trusting patients, then at some point we realize we must take an active part in our own medical decisions. Tell the story of your move to active patient or why you are not there as yet.
I didn't always take the best care of myself. I didn't always eat well, although exercise has always played a part of my life. My weight and my issues with food caused me a great deal of grief. Stress could have been my middle name. I used to implicitly swallow whatever the doctor scribbled on their notepad. My transition into being an active patient has evolved over the decades. Thankfully!
As I see it, I am responsible for my health and wellness. I believe that health is made up of many components. As I wrote in Health: A Jenga™ Game?, it is incumbent upon us to address as many aspects of health as we can. That does not mean going it alone. Along the way, you build a team that can include a "huddle" - how's that for a collective noun? - of healthcare professionals. But don't stop there.
If you've ever trudged through deep snow in someone else's tracks you'll know that it makes your walk considerably easier. When you have a chronic condition, remember that you can always walk a ways in the tracks of people you "meet" who are walking along a similar path. Learn from them - accept, adapt and adopt in order to build a scaffolding that allows you to weather the ups and downs of RA.
Your team, aka your support system, can also be made up of friends, family members, work colleagues and all the things you love, including Soaking in the Love Tub.
Lene Andersen wrote a simple, yet powerful sentence on her #RABlogWeek Day 1 post:
"Your life is your life."
Who better to oversee it, than you?
Here is a little anecdote that illustrates the power of responsibility:
Vioxx was relatively new on the market. My doctor had suggested that I might want to take this but, as per usual, I told him that I wanted to do my own research. Fortunately, I was watching one of the Canadian investigative news programs at the same time. A Saskatchewan rheumatologist noticed that there was an increase in cardiac events in the patients who were taking Vioxx. That was enough for me. I went back and told my doctor that given this news, I would not be swallowing Vioxx, even though he presented with the argument that it was a small sample. Vioxx was voluntarily withdrawn from the market by Merck on September 30th, 2004, due to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Find what works for you. Listen with your heart and your head. Gather information. Make your decisions. Correct, if need be. Trust yourself.
Now, seems as good as a time as any to break into song: