Martina Roe: Seven Strategies (4)

Rubrika: Publicistika – Zajímavosti

7 Strategies how to cope with illness or disability

1. Allow yourself time to come to terms with your illness
2. You are not alone – make most of all help and support groups
3. Nurture yourself
4. Learn how you can best help yourself feel better
5. Concentrate on the present, do not dwell in the past or worry about the future
6. Learn how to live a stress free life
7. You are the maker of your own luck

Illness and disability might come in many forms. Some illnesses and disabilities have to be faced from birth; others are developed during people’s lifetime. They can come on suddenly or gradually develop over many years without the person knowing about it. People are usually genetically predisposed but illnesses can also be the result of the polluted environment or the lifestyle we adopt. Coming to terms with any illness is not easy and might take a long time especially when your illness surprises you suddenly.
Imagine that you are happy, your life is going very well and you are very proud of all your achievements. You have got a great family and circle of friends until one day something very unfortunate happens to you. You become ill or have an accident and you can no longer enjoy life as you used to. Suddenly everything seems to be falling apart. All kinds of scenarios may come up; you might no longer be in a position to support your family financially, you could lose your job, simply your dreams are falling apart. This is the hardest time and naturally you will be down about it, yet with a few changes you might still be able to live your life to the full. The following easy steps should help you in the right direction.

4. Learn how you can best help yourself feel better

You know yourself much better than your doctor. You can explain all your symptoms to him or her, and the doctor can run various tests on you and recommend a treatment. But even your doctor is not familiar with your body as much as you are, one of the reasons for that could be, as already explained earlier that not all illnesses develop in exactly the same way. Different health conditions share the same symptoms, so early detection could prove difficult.  
Throughout my life I often suffered from various health problems. Whenever I went to see a doctor I would have been checked over, but usually there was never any conclusive finding which was frustrating. Till one day I complained to my uncle who is a doctor, that I cannot get rid of the flu. Even though I followed all doctor’s advice it took me months to get over it. My uncle suggested I could be suffering from allergies. As there are very few clinics in the UK that specialise in allergies I have decided to take a very expensive blood test. After receiving the results I found that I only reacted negatively to dogs’ fur. I was hoping to discover other substances I might I be sensitive to, as we do not even have a dog, the results of the tests did not really guide me as to what I should avoid.  But armed with my blood results I went to see my doctor asking him to refer me to a hospital that specialised in allergies. He agreed and I was referred to the Guys Hospital in London. My hopes were raised, but again the skin results were normal.
I did not know what else to do to help myself feel better. Over a period of 2 years doctors in the UK have undertaken very thorough blood tests which did not show any problems with my body. I therefore decided to go and see another immunologist in Prague, where I was born and grew up. Further tests followed and I no longer believed that something important would be discovered.  The tests actually showed that I had leftovers of activation of helicobacter which is a bacterium that causes stomach ulcers and the results further proved that I was allergic to gluten, fish, nuts, tomatoes, dust, pollen, and moulds. I later asked my doctor in the UK why the helicobacter was never detected. He only sadly mentioned that while the tests confirmed that my body functioned well, bacteriological tests were never undertaken. I tried as much as I could to follow a diet that was free from all these foods, but it was not easy. I believed that after some time there could be a small chance my immune system could manage to overcome it. A lot of doctors and nurses, however, were warning me that I should stick to gluten free diet for ever as apparently, gluten is a life long allergy. Recently I took a blood test to check whether I am still allergic to gluten and the results showed I am free of it and can include it again in my diet.
Doctors did not manage to make the right diagnosis for me many more times despite the fact I was leading them in the right direction. I suffer from acne which in my twenties became much worse than during my teenage years. It got to the point when I really needed some treatment as the spots were getting infected. To help the dermatologist I brought the results of my allergy tests and tried to explain to her that my body finds it difficult to get rid of toxins – suggesting that there could possibly be a link. She did not agree with me and concluded that my spots are spread by bacteria and a simple test is going to confirm that. Treatment according to her should be simple. After the results of the tests came back the dermatologist suddenly looked less convincing, as the tests proved her diagnosis to be wrong. Over the next three years I was therefore put on different treatments for acne. To the contrary my condition deteriorated and I ended up with even more severe skin problems at the end of the treatment than at the beginning.
Nowadays my skin problems have substantially improved, 5 years after I stopped attending the dermatology department.
My case has showed that on some rare occasions the advice you are receiving from health professionals might not necessarily be helpful. I also found that various doctors do not always agree about your health problem and how to treat it. Early diagnosis is important and can spare you and your family so many unnecessary worries, even save your life. It is therefore advisable for you to try and find out as much as you can about your particular health problem. Your GP should hopefully than take your comments more seriously. Do not forget that you have a right to consult your state of health with another doctor. Alzheimer belongs for example to illnesses which doctors fail to register in time. The British government is therefore providing 150 million Pounds to train doctors to be able to spot early signs of the illness.
Alternative therapies are a great way of harmonising your energy and the practitioners at alternative therapy clinics will be more than happy to advise you on which therapy would be most suited for you. The clinic might also run courses that will help you to apply some methods on your own. Naturally you will not be able to do everything. It takes practitioners of acupuncture years of study and practise before mastering the skills in their field and you would certainly not be able to apply any of the techniques on your own. You can, nevertheless, learn about acupressure or reflexology points and apply them regularly yourself. You can discover which point corresponds to which organ and which points would be more beneficial to press for you, how frequently and in which sequences.
I try to practise acupressure or reflexology on myself regularly and am quite amazed how much sensitivity or pain I can feel in the points that represent the organs of my body which are not functioning too well. I get also slightly excited that I am a bit of an expert on the subject. I feel it works because of the sensitivity of the points and I can help others to apply the same techniques. If you do not feel like pressing reflexology points on your feet you can take advantage of what offers nature itself. You can just walk without your shoes on grass, on sandy or pebbly beach. Possibly easy said for me because I live at the seaside but even you can create something like a little beach in your own home as you will soon discover at the end of this paragraph. In the past when people did not wear shoes and with no hard surfaces their feet were constantly massaged in the same way that the principles of reflexology healing work. All you need to create a small beach is a large box, equip it with small stones and walk over them every day for some 5-10 minutes. Start with smaller intervals at the beginning just a minute or two and gradually increase it to 10 minutes. Stepping over small stones is very beneficial because you activate and massage all the reflexology points at the same time.
And when I mention to find out about your health problems, I do not mean to become obsessed with them. I have a friend whose husband tells me that she checks her breasts very carefully every day for lumps. Naturally, doctor’s advice about spotting any early signs of cancer is to check your breasts about once per month but anything more than that could be a little excessive.

·         Learn from books or courses how you can help yourself feel better. (Many local health authorities also organise lessons for people how to deal with any long term health conditions.)
·         Being better informed about your particular health complaint will help your doctor make the right diagnosis
·         Give the techniques which are recommended to relieve your particular symptom a try
·         Stick to the  self help techniques which work best for you and be persistent  - naturally follow any breaks which are recommended – for example you are always advised to have a break from herbal treatments in regular intervals.

Tento článek byl v Pozitivních novinách poprvé publikován 18. 02. 2009.