Wellness Wednesday- Dealing with Doctors

“I don’t know why while I take prednisone my joints feel much better and as soon as I am off prednisone, I have such intense pain.” I shared that with my then GP. His response was to ignore my comment and focus only on what he wanted to go over.

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That is called Medical Gaslighting. It is when a doctor downplays a patient’s concerns, ignores them, or tries to convince a patient it is imaginary or due to something else.

Anyone who has lived with chronic illness has probably experienced this at least once.

“I don’t want an autoimmune illness. I am not a hypochondriac, but these things run in my family. My older brother has M.S., my older sister has Psoriatic Arthritis, asthma runs in my family, I have relatives with Type 1 diabetes.” I told my current GP that a few years ago. After I told him that, he began to take me seriously.

An excellent book for anyone about dealing with doctors was written by a doctor whose blog I follow. Phoebe Chi is a doctor and her blog is phoebemd.com. Her book is Being Empowered,,,, for a healthy heart. Just the first chapter on being an empowered patient makes the book so worthwhile to buy and read.

After reading her book, I changed how I approach doctor appointments. I kept a symptom log including how often, when, triggers etc. I also began asking more questions during appointments. I became an informed and empowered patient.

Since 2017, I have seen 2 different rheumatologists, a gastroenterologist, two different dermatologists, two different orthopedic specialists, two different physical therapists, spent half a day being x-rayed, seen an ophthalmologist, had so many blood tests and more. In only 3 years, I have been diagnosed with Celiacs Disease, Fibromyalgia, Degenerative Disc is my neck, and Sjogrens. That is on top of the Hashimoto’s Hypothyroid and asthma I already knew I had.

I share all of that just to let you know that I KNOW the frustration of dealing with many doctors.

What has helped me?

1- I pray before I go to a doctor. I invite Jesus into the process. This helps me to focus and also asks the Great Physician to come along with me.

2- I keep a journal of symptoms such as when I have a low grade fever and for how long, rashes, pain, etc.

3- I let each specialist know that various autoimmune problems run in my family.

4- I ask questions.

5- I read information from reputable sources such as Web MD, Mayo Clinic website etc.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Snowy Day and Another Doctor

We are having our first significant snow of the year where I live. I have to confess to being a bit surprised because so many times in the past the weather people on TV have said my city would have a lot of snow and we only had a little. lol

But a snowy day did not cancel an appointment with an ophthalmologist. It was a non stressful appointment for a thorough eye exam. I thought I might need eye surgery but found out everything is healthy except I now have one more thing to add to my Spoonie list- Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Sjogren’s affects eye moisture among other things such having fatigue. No wonder I have fatigue. Celiacs, Fibromyalgia, Hypothyroid and Sjogren’s all cause fatigue. But Jesus gives me the strength to teach and for ministry.

On this snowy day, I think some of my blogging friends living in warm climates might feel jealous of the snow here. πŸ™‚ lol

If you live in a warm climate, have you seen snow before? If not, do you want to?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Wonderful Surprise for This Teacher

Yesterday was a planning day for teachers, so we did not have class. I spent the day at home preparing lessons and other aspects of my class. It was a cloudy day and when I went outside to go to the store, it was raining mixed with snow. As I drove something caught my eye. There was a sign outside my building.

I noticed in the email the principle sent to us Thursday that his Friday plan was YSP. I had no idea what it was. Yesterday I realized it stood for Yard Sign Project. The principle and assistant principle drove around and placed a sign in the yard of each teacher and staff person of the school where I teach in the mornings.

We are at the end of the first semester with only 7 more school days before the Christmas break. After teaching ESL, English Second Language, for 23 years, I can certainly say this has been the craziest semester I have ever taught. It has also been in many ways the most rewarding as I see the moms in my class gain new skills. COVID has been an ordeal for everyone, but there have been positives come from it for me and my students.

If you want to encourage a teacher this year, don’t overlook the small things like a thank you note, a yard sign, a lunch delivery, and even a thank you email.

A Chronic Christmas?

It was flare up time again yesterday. I managed to teach my morning class thanks to Jesus who gave me strength. When flare ups of chronic illness begin, one question on my mind is always how long for this one.

How does a flare up feel? You know the muscle aches when you have the flu? It is kind of like that ALL OVER and with pain in every joint. Only instead of a fever, my temperature is 96 to 97 degrees. And then there is the kind of fatigue that I can barely move.

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What did I do? I came home after teaching, ate a little food, took some Aleve, and slept as in a three hour power nap.

What triggered it? I don’t know. They just come when they come.

Fortunately today is a teacher planning day, so I do not need to go to the school. I can plan and work from home. Hopefully this flare up will be short lived and I won’t have a Chronic Christmas. πŸ™‚

I still need a haircut, but the one thing that never hurts is my hair. lol

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Last Injection….. for now

I just got back from the Orthopedic Surgeon’s office where I had the last of three injections in my knee. The injections were of something that sounded like hydraulic fluid, so I think the injections gave me a lift πŸ™‚

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Since March 2017, I have seen eight different specialists, had most of my body x-rayed, umpteen blood tests, and other stuff I won’t go into. So this series of injections was easy to experience. It would be cool if they could give me bionic legs πŸ™‚

Specialists, tests, x-rays etc. are all part of the life of a Spoonie, a person with chronic illness.

I can’t imagine going through all of this stuff without Jesus. I can’t imagine living through this pandemic without Jesus.

When I think about people who are facing this pandemic or any hardship and only have their government and science to look to, it causes me to realize this is a very scary time.

While I appreciate what the government, science, and doctors are doing, my hope is not in them. My hope is in Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Thankful for an Injection?

One thing I am thankful for is having an injection in my knee yesterday. That may sound a bit crazy but my hope is it delays surgery. I will have two more injections one each of the following Tuesdays.

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They even gave me an early Christmas present too. I now have a brace to wear. Not one of those cheap ones a person buys at Walmart. This one is a serious brace. But it was not wrapped with a bow on it. πŸ™‚

I had the opportunity to tell some jokes to the women working the front desk, the P.A. who gave me the injection, and the young woman who fitted me with the brace. As they read this, bloggers who join me for blogger chat on Saturdays might be rolling their eyes. They have been blessed with my jokes every Saturday morning. πŸ™‚

All in all it has not been too bad of a year when it comes to doctors. I only saw two specialists and of course appointments with my GP. Any spoonie will tell you that a year almost free of seeing specialists is a good year.

So today I am thankful for injections in my knee. What are you thankful for?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Glimpse into My Spoonie Life- Chronic Illness

Living with Chronic Illness presents me with minor inconveniences and also major obstacles at times. My hope is to handle either scenario with God’s grace and to extend grace to others. It also entails extending grace to myself, because let me tell you, I do not always have patience with obstacles in my way. I used to play American football when I was younger and the mentality of run through obstacles stays with me at times.

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A minor one happened yesterday. One of my chronic illnesses and the one I find easiest to manage is Celiacs Disease. I have done well with being gluten free in my diet since I was diagnosed. But there are times it can be socially awkward.

Yesterday one of the moms in my class was so kind to offer me a piece of cake. She did not know I have Celiacs. I explained to her why I can’t eat cake. I did not leave it at that. I also told her that she was so nice to think of me and bring me the cake and that I really appreciated that. She smiled when I said that to her. It is a small thing for me, but to her for her teacher to say that meant a lot.

The major obstacles are the ones that I resist the most. Due to difficulties from Degenerative Disc Disease stemming from an accident when I was younger, and the pain I am always in from Fibromyalgia, I could probably get a permit for my car for handicapped parking. But I do not want to let it win. By it I mean Chronic Illness.

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Funny though that I readily accept the need to naps in the afternoon due to fatigue. Fatigue is one of my constant uninvited guests. I love naps. As I round the corner financially, my hope is to get a comfortable recliner for my home office chair. Then I can sit at my desk, which is really a 5 foot table, and work and write but take a nap as need be. It is one of my dreams. πŸ™‚

I can’t imagine going through all of this without Jesus. If this life was all I had, I would not feel any hope. But with Jesus there is always hope. By giving him whatever we experience, he can do amazing things.

Just a glimpse into my life with Chronic Illness. My wish is to help readers understand what people they may know go through.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Louder by Alisa Turner

I love how Louder by Alisa Turner starts- “I am no victim though I have walked through fire.”

Those are lyrics by a woman who has suffered with Lyme Disease, so she knows suffering.

I also love the lyrics:

I have a weapon
That all of hell can’t stop
It is my worship
My song is waking up

When we worship God in the midst of hardship, we invite him into our struggle. It also lifts us up and lifts our focus to Jesus away from our problems.

There have been times in my life that due to chronic illness it seemed I could not do anything that day. But after spending time praying, listening to worship music, and giving the day to Jesus, wonderful things have happened both small and big.

I hope this song lifts you up today.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Experience of Living with Chronic Illness Expressed in Song- Window by Alisa Turner

Alisa Turner is a Christian Artist whose music speaks to me. She lived through years of battling Lyme Disease being bedridden from it for some time. Upon getting healthier, as in able to go on with life but still having issues, she started to pursue her dream of music ministry.

Her new song The Window expresses so beautifully and poignantly the experience some chronic illness sufferers got through of only being able to watch life but not be a part of life.

It was born out of her experience that her new song The Window was written and recorded. It was also out of that same experience that she recorded one of my all time favs My Prayer for You. I am sharing both in this post.

So for all of my fellow Spoonies, Chronic Illness Sufferers, here are two wonderful songs by Alisa Turner.