Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Living with chronic illness beats the alternative

I have bad knees and can hardly walk a block. That's different from the rest of my life when I walked hours a day all over Washington DC.

More than 130 million Americans are living with chronic conditions. Advances in medicine mean fewer people die of things, and at the same time, the population is getting older.

All patients with chronic conditions must deal with loss and change. No joke.

Toby G. Dauber, a licensed social worker with the Morris Psychological Group, has some tips:

Be an informed patient. Learn as much as you can about what you have. I suggest doing google alerts on what you have to get the latest.

If you don't feel confident of your care or cannot communicate with the doctor, fire him or her and get a new one.

Set priorities on what activities you will try to continue and which you will drop,

Accept help if you need it. Say yes. Nurture relationships--at least for someone to talk to.

Be alert for signs of depression--extreme anxiety, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping.

Psychological symptoms go hand in hand with physical. Boy do they! I sometimes marvel at how my brain can control my body--and not always for good.

But the important thing is to just keep on keeping on. Enjoy the things you can do--or find some things you can do that you enjoy.

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