How would you deal with this one?

I would welcome perspectives here.  I got some disappointing health news today from my Doctor. 

Not alarming, but disappointing.  Seems I have a problem that may significantly limit my mobility in years to come.  Then again it may not.  All indicators say it will and should be already.  The unknown has been rattling around in my head all day.

This is not my first disappointment in life.  Far from it.  Yet I am still impacted by it.  Today was a tough day.  I exercised as much of my healthy thinking as possible which certainly made the day far better than it would have been at the trough of my worst thinking habits years ago.

The Doctor did say that he was amazed that I could be as active as I am given my condition.  And the fact that the condition was only accidentally discovered in an x-ray of something else, was indication that although it didn’t look good, the condition has not impacted my health or mobility much yet.

And there is every chance that the damage can be held at the level it currently is and not deteriorate further.  But there are not guarantees.  I have to admit, I am a little scared.  I am not going all-in on he fear thing, but it is malingering.

So my question is this, “what would you do with disappointing medical news”?  News that threatens some of your activities you enjoy a great deal and hoped to continue for years to come?  News that threatens some of your dreams for the future?

I know what I would do… and I am doing it and getting positive results.  But that is me.  I am interested in learning more ways to deal with life’s issues.  What would you do?

Thanks.

Chaz

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About Chaz

Husband, father, brother, son, friend. Sober member of AA. Grateful for the life God gave me and for the happy struggle of recovery.
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16 Responses to How would you deal with this one?

  1. eremophila says:

    Well I got that news several years ago, and yes, it did result in major life changes. I’ve both learned to live with it, and live despite it:-) Yes, there are still moments that challenge me, when the pain of loss rears its head, but I do know there are many benefits I’ve received from the change in my circumstances. Ultimately, I’ve found it important to listen to my body, to respect it and treat it as my best friend. The power of positive thinking definitely has a major role in managing a health challenge. Best wishes to you in your challenge Chaz.

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks E! Talking about it helps and so does hearing other peoplse stories. So does time. The sting of the news has subsided significantly.

      One ingredient I maintained was to not shut down and wallow. I kept going all day yesterday in spite of the disturbance competing for my attention. If we don’t give the negative feelings too much power, they don’t take over. But they do need to be felt to some degree and do need to pass naturally… like a kidney stone I suppose 🙂

      Gratitude for the rest of life is also part of how I move through such things.

      Glad to hear you are making it through your situation. Tough health news is far from rare, isnt it?

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  2. Chaz,

    I am so sorry to hear that you received disappointing health news! I had a similar situation two years ago, when I found out in a routine exam, that I had a life-threatening, though “fixable” through surgery. And, although I was working out five days a week, an hour-and-a-half a day, and was in my best shape ever, I had to stop all exercise immediately. I wondered how I would survive without exercise for an extended period of time, and I did.

    Now that I have given you some background, let me tell you what I did, and would do again. I focused on what was going “right” instead of what was going wrong, and that was that my doctor found it, that I was healthier and more fit than most, and that I had access to good medical care (I sought second and third opinions and went to a top surgeon). I also decided not to believe doctors’ gloom and doom, because they are conditioned to see what is wrong, and most are not open to possibilities outside the realm of conventional science. And, I know, and you know, that God’s power is greater. So, I prayed, meditated, had others pray for me, and I listened to guided imagery (healthjourneys.com) that programmed me to defy the odds, and I did, and will continue to do so. There is empirical evidence that guided imagery can significantly improve health outcomes through positive mental conditioning.

    Emotionally, I allowed myself to grieve the loss of my self-image as an ultra healthy person, and the temporary loss of exercise. Spiritually, I asked what the Universe was working on teaching me now. And, I blogged as part of my healing practice on Caringbridge. org.

    Thanks for asking. I am sending you light, and look forward to hearing how you are coping, once the initial shock is over.

    Blessings,

    Converginghearts

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Conv! Thanks for your candid reply.

      Something occurred to me last night that your reply confirms. I only received the outlook on one doctor. And a young one at that. Id be surprised if he were 35. I don’t say that resentfully. But lets be honest… he hasnt been practicing that long.

      I realized that I should confirm everything with my GP who is in his 50’s and has a second specialty in sports medicine. He in fact is a trauma Dr. for one of the Canadian olympic and world cup teams. So why should I not get his opinion too. He is also the same Dr. who was extremely cautious with putting me on any meds when I was in early recovery. Yet another Dr. did and it triggered a relapse to substance abuse.

      And yes, looking outside of conventional “science” and medicine is wise. There is much good there but they are not all-knowing and not without biases, limitations, and corrupt influences such as being heavily influenced by big pharma.

      We have a very large and growin Asian poplulation in our area… so much so that Traditional Chinese Medicine is taking off like gang-busters. Not saying that this is the answer, but saying that there are alternatives that are not categorically all quackery.

      And of course, I have already turned it over to God which is how I felt led to post and dialogue on the blogs. Dialogue, I feel, is one of the gifts God gives us to use to our benefit. We are not islands and do not live in vacuums so we should reach out to those around us.

      So thanks for your input. Today is a much better day and even better after these dialogues.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  3. jeremy says:

    The harbinger of bad news came to me long ago. And I live with my condition every day of my life. They told me I would die soon, they weren’t kidding, I wasn’t laughing. But I put one foot in front of the other and I lived. And proved every doctor wrong until I found one who helped me live instead of waiting to die. You know that look you get from a doctor, that resigned pitiful look of “poor pitiful soul – he has no idea!” Been there done that.

    You didn’t outright tell us what they diagnosed you with. And if it can be headed off at the pass, I’d take the first direct route to that pass. You might have to change some things but better to change and live rather than stay and deteriorate and die.

    Better advice would come if I really knew what was on the table, seeing I am well versed in medical speak. Being ambiguous doesn’t help you because we are drawing at straws … Is it MS ? Or something like it? or something all very different? You can email me and we can talk further.

    You are young, too young to be stricken with some disease that is going to turn you old quicker than we would like. Cool heads prevail. There are always options, in every case.

    AIDS did not kill me, but it made me a whole lot smarter and wiser.

    Write me
    Jeremy

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Jeremy…. thanks for the thoughtful reply.

      A few days have passed and I feel a lot better. I knew time would do its part. It will take more than that, but time is an ingredient to coping. And I do believe we can dial it up from coping to thriving in the circumstance.

      I am not sure why I didnt say what my condition was outright. Perhaps I didnt want to see it in black and white myself. It appears I have some form of abnormal disc degeneration in all of my neck discs. Way in advance of my 40-something years. Dr. had never seen such a thing. Especially since my back is generally fine and normal disc condition. But all 5 or 7 discs are very thin. If the condition continues, my vertebrae (proper pluralization?) will touch and fuse. My neck and upper back may become immobile in years to come.

      With that said, Dr. also amazed at how mobile I am and that condition has not hindered me from active lifestyle including a number of fitness endeavors.

      The sting of the news has subsided as I expected it would. Fear is still knocking at the door though. I thus far have not opened it but have put my ear to the door and heard its conversations through the door. I am not as strong as I would like to be.

      I will be seeking more opinions as noted. My GP is a sport medicine dr as well doing work for olympians. Plus there are many, may more.

      Having seen the x-rays was shocking. Maybe that is the big thing for me.

      I do recall you discussing living with HIV before. So you are no stranger to having had the news brought to you. And arguably, the news you would have received would have probably carried a bigger potential emotional blow than mine. But I know we are not competing for worst news here.

      And as you state, the outcome of your life does not line up with the forecasts you received. And I have had a few others share similar things with me recently.

      So ya… will let it sit a while and post again.

      Much appreciated… your reply.

      As always.

      Chaz

  4. kweenmama says:

    I think all of the others have given good advice. Definitely get the second opinion. Keep the thoughts positive. Explore alternative treatments. And LIVE your life! Has the first doc said you should stop being active? If not, keep on doing what you’ve been doing! Why give up stuff you enjoy just because it might have to go away in the future? And maybe look for new experiences to enjoy as well. Keep blogging about it, it is therapeutic–probably why most of us blog! Good luck!

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Kweenmama… thanks for reply and suggestions. Dr. has not suggested slowing down. In fact, he said fact I am active is probably why I havent suffered symptoms. Encouraged me to stay active and keep my routines going… which, other than a short period when I was shocked, I have maintained my fitness programs. And yes, keeping positive and continuing to talk and seek alternative solutions are on my agenda. No second opinion yet, but will at some point soon.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  5. Piper Bayard says:

    Hi Chaz. I’m sorry you got bad news about your back. It is very encouraging that you didn’t have a clue. Could be that HP (higher power) knew you might have to be more conscious of your care to continue being unaffected for as long as possible.

    I went for an annual checkup when I was 20 and set a ball rolling that lead to a cancer diagnosis. As a result, I have no connection in my mind between age and health, and I will, no doubt, be surprised when I come across something that can’t be made better with proper diet and exercise.

    Like you, I have back issues. I’m a dancer and a diver. Two years ago, I was in great pain for many months. When I finally went to a doctor, I found I had herniated discs in strange places, along with bulging ones and decreased nerve activity to my legs, as well as moderate arthritis. I thought I would never dance or SCUBA again. I was in danger of not walking eventually if I didn’t take care of business. I found a really good physical therapist. Since then, I have gotten my rescue diver certification, and now, after two years, I’ve gone back to power training, and I’m just beginning to dance again. 🙂

    My approach? I do what I can every day, and I don’t think about where it might or might not take me. Also, I drink LOTS of water–it’s like oil for the tin man–and I stay away from foods that cause degeneration: dairy, processed white flour, processed white sugar, red meat, caffeine.

    I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this. I’ll be keeping you in my prayers. Thank you for your post, and all the best.

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks Piper… amazing how consistently replies give accounts of overcoming physical ailments and injuries in spite of medical prognosis to the contrary.

      Thanks for the encouragement in your own story. Glad to hear you had a turn-around. I will believe that mine will unfold similarly. And yes, glad to be relatively symptom-free in spite of what x-rays show.

      Dance on! You’ve earned it.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  6. Hi Chaz,

    I am not a health practitioner nor a Guru. Thinking enough “healthy” thoughts will have The Universe in your corner so to speak. Always wise to gain further medical opinions especially if you have not noticed any major concerns at present. I remember when I was 21, a specialist suggested I have an operation on my back. I decided against the op & got physio instead. 35 years later still no op, back’s ok. That’s all I have for now.
    Be good to yourself
    David

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks for the encouragement David. It is amazing how many of us receive recommendations that later prove to be unnecessary. Frightening really.

      I will stay positive as you suggest. My original post was during the initial shock of the news.

      Am staying active and seeking positive input on all levels. Thanks again.

      Chaz

  7. jobo says:

    Wow, I am so sorry to hear this news Chaz. A friend of mine has really bad back issues and has had two final fusions, and they are very tough surgeries, but she has done amazingly well. I wish you all the best and hope that God gives you the strength you need to get through this.

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks Jo…

      Things are moving in a positive direction. I am staying open-minded and upbeat about things. Remaining active which also helps the situation.

      So far, still no manifestations so will keep believeing for the best and doing what I can.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  8. Gorge says:

    Try second opinion… what do u think?
    sorry that you have a small and disappointing news but you have big God who can change everything.

  9. Chaz says:

    Thanks Gorge… yes, I do believe God can do some amazing things… he already has. Dr.s cannot understand how I am so active and flexible given the condition of my neck. No 2nd opinion yet but will have soon

    Ciao.

    Chaz

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