What Would You Do With Your Health?

The only difference between a health-related blog and a blog about health is I’m asking you to give that health a little (or a lot, maybe) more attention that it does. I’ve spent the last three years doing the opposite… writing more about my health.

My mission in life has always been to improve my health. My goal for the remainder of my life has been to make sure that I can continue that quest for health as long as I possibly can. I love having this blog because as an older wife with a career and family to sustain, I can share my unique experiences from personal to health, life to work, and everything in between.

I recently discovered that I have a chronic disease, that my symptoms are worsening, and that there is not enough awareness and information out there about my condition, my treatments, and how I should approach living with it. I want to start a conversation about illness and wellness, about disease and health as a whole, and I hope that I can help those whose lives I touch to achieve the same. This blog will likely be a place where I share new information and my experiences with patients and their families.

The idea for this blog came from my first visit with a doctor: the day I found out I had a chronic illness that affects my heart and lungs. My daughter had just turned nine, and our two-year-old son was only 5. I was told by my personal physicians that my health issues were completely treatable, and would likely be gone at the end of the 6-month visit. I was told to come in for a yearly physical, and they had me fill out a questionnaire asking about my lifestyle, activities, vitamins, medications, and medication dosages, and to complete a risk analysis sheet.

The risk analysis sheet was an incredibly daunting task to do in one sitting and I never completed it, but I remember being asked a lot of difficult questions with no easy answers. I was terrified of all the diseases I had been told I had. I was given the option of leaving a comment below to state whether or not the doctor had told me a certain disease, a particular illness, a particular medication I was taking, or a certain condition I knew about.

At the end of my yearly appointment with my doctors, the doctor did not disclose the name of the disease or disease-specific disorder, let alone an alternate diagnosis that could help my life. I did learn that my symptoms would worsen if I didn’t take certain antibiotics, so I also had questions about that. She had suggested I take several different medications, but I was hesitant to take any because my daughter was very allergic to the ones she was taking, and I couldn’t remember who they were…

The other side of the visit was an opportunity for discussion about my future with a specialist, but they didn’t reveal anything new. They gave me the usual medical tests, and recommended that I stay in for a physical every 2 months for the rest of my life… and that after that I would need to visit a consultant for regular follow-ups. It really left me feeling overwhelmed. I had never been on the health end of the spectrum before, but this visit brought back so many memories of taking care of myself as an infant and feeling so different now than I had when I was a toddler.

The visit also taught me to be very cautious with new doctors. I asked for my medications to be written down in case they change, but this did not happen. Instead, I was given to the impression that if the medication changed, they would come back to me. I have experienced this before, and it is often not the case.

I was also asked about my work, which had changed drastically since I quit my day-care job, started school, and started working full- time.