An enemy enters your life in the form of illness. It quietly grows until it becomes a threat to your life. How do I get rid of it? What am I going to do? I’m not ready to die. This story plays out every day in the lives of people around us. Then it happens to you and becomes very personal. It’s normal to react with anger and fear, but you need to overcome these emotions and fight for your life. I know, that’s easier said than done. Here are some things we learned in my daughter’s fight that might help you.
It’s essential to understand the enemy you are fighting. Find out everything you can about your disease by talking to experts and others who have overcome it. Be unemotional and honest with this assessment because knowledge is power only when it is truthful. This analysis will help you gather information to form a plan to fight back.
Ask your doctor to explain the steps of their plan to overcome the disease. If they tell you not to worry about it, or won't address your questions, or talk down to you, you may need to find a better doctor. You need to be informed and be part of the decision making. It's your life on the line, and you deserve to understand everything that's going on. Your medical team has to be a good fit, or you won't have the confidence and trust needed to build your faith and hope in them.
Stephanie learned everything she could about her disease, how it was destroying her body, and available treatments. Her Oncologist’s answered many of my daughter’s questions. During chemo, the nurses helped build on that foundation. They told her no patient had ever asked so many questions about the drugs, how they worked against cancer, and their side effect profiles. Steph found out how they are delivered, what she could do to counter the side effects and the Oncologist's strategy for dosing and frequency. She learned the medical terms, what the test results meant, and what normal levels were. Her confidence in fighting her disease grew. It helped us know when to wait or rush her to the ER. Steph quickly moved from being a helpless victim to a warrior who owned her disease. She grew more positive in knowing everything to help increase her chances of survival was happening.
Some diseases can be easier to treat than others. The more serious the condition, the more critical it becomes to receive treatment from physicians at the cutting edge of research in that disease. They are immersed in the subject and may have access to trials with experimental drugs that could help you. This crisis might be the biggest you face in life, and you need to have the A-team helping you overcome it. Find knowledgeable advocates to help guide you. Learn from others that overcame your disease and ask them how they did it. How do nutrition, sleep, and exercise fit into your plan? How is your mental health? Build your faith and believe you will survive. Ask for God’s help.
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