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A little story about the value of long-term health care provider relationships

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 in caregivers, coping, featured, health care providers, relationships | 10 comments

Hi! It’s been a little while since I posted on my blog; the winter holidays kept me busy, I’ve traveled a lot since then, and I’m coping with a handful of acute health issues…it all sapped my blogging mojo! But I’m slowly easing back into it. Today, I’m thinking about how valuable it is to have kick-ass health care provider relationships. I want to talk about why it’s important, and how you can cultivate your own. A handful of symptoms means a handful of health care providers 18. That’s the number of health care appointments I’ve had so far this year. 18! The high number reflects a variety of things: an injury that’s required a few follow-ups and special procedures; maintenance appointments like a mammogram; check-ins with my pain psychologist; a trip to a compounding pharmacy; and physical therapy appointments to try to turn around my flare-up. It’s been overwhelming, and it’s SO HARD to get any work done when I’m constantly running around! Not to mention the hospital parking fees I’ve racked up. Harrumph. It’s enough to make a babe grumpy. Across those 18 appointments, I’ve seen 10 different health care providers. Some were brand-new to me, and WOW is it exhausting to have to explain your whole history to a new person. Especially when you’re asking them to diagnose a tricky issue. (Like one thing I’ve had for the past week: extreme sensitivity in all of my teeth. Weird!) But some of those health care providers have known me as long as 25 years. It’s those appointments that really help keep me sane during this crazy-making time. Long-term relationships matter I’ve talked before about ways to strengthen your relationships with doctors and other health care providers. I’m sure you can guess some of the reasons, but let’s review: You don’t have to re-tell your whole medical history at each visit They can spot patterns in your symptoms you may not see You cultivate a sense of trust…in each other Your medical records are all in one place (or at least focused in a couple places) When you’re a little late, or they need to reschedule, it’s easier to manage and you can cut each other a little slack You feel more comforted and safe with them These are just a few of the reasons why long-term health care provider relationships are so important. Here’s a quick story about another reason why: My pain is unexplainable and scary, but my HCPs help I mentioned that all of my teeth have been hurting. For a few days, I tried to be patient and hope it would improve, but I finally gave in on Sunday and went to immediate care....

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Taking Precedence

Posted by on Aug 8, 2016 in coping, fears, featured, friends and family, guest author, health care providers | 9 comments

This post was guest-written by Lee-Ann Liles. My health precedes my every decision. I live in Bermuda, an ideal place to work and vacation in one package. Yet, Bermuda is known for harboring an increasingly high number of people with chronic illness, some of the most stand-out ones being heart disease, diabetes and cancer. With 65,000 people on 22 square miles, Bermuda has produced some very rare and difficult to diagnose and treat illnesses due to its isolation in the middle of the Atlantic. With this in mind, you would think that doctors would be receptive to patient woes, but this is not always the case. Every year after completing my annual physical, I would celebrate the fact that I had not acquired any of the chronic diseases that have marred my family. In my maternal family alone, everyone has a “chronic disease.” These include Crohn’s disease, lupus and breast cancer and gives me every reason to be attentive to my health. After having my daughter in my late thirties, I took full advantage of the quiet times when she was asleep, but I was also completing my Masters. The pain, stiffness and exhaustion that developed during that time never went away, later growing into inflammation and a strange hyper-vigilance to the noise in my environment. I discretely talked to friends and family about my health and received helpful information, but I stopped seeking help until a friend asked me why I was always out of breath. I realized my health was just as important to others as it was to me. I visited three physicians before I was tested for a chronic illness. The third doctor concluded I had Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (S.E.I.D.), but after further investigation with a Rheumatologist she concluded that it was possibly psoriatic arthritis, Celiac’s disease, Crohn’s disease or lupus. She gave me a Cortisol shot for adrenal fatigue and I was amazed at the change! I was to hop on a plane to London and then France the next day and for the first time in five years, I stayed energetic throughout the trip and even danced in a nightclub. As difficult as it may be, I am adjusting my daily plans to accommodate my health, even though I have not yet received a diagnosis. I will listen to my body to avoid exhaustion. I will learn to say “No” more often and regulate my diet and exercise to find balance. I will continue to find peace of mind, through quiet periods of relaxation, which will reduce my stress levels. In this way, I know there are wonderful things to come. Never give up.     **This is the fifth of many in a...

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How to Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Doctor When You Have Chronic Illness (AWAP Wednesday)

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in ChronicBabe Basics, featured, health care providers, practicalities, relationships | 7 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday video looks at an issue ALL ChronicBabes face: Strengthening our doctor-patient relationships.To help you nurture stronger, more powerful relationships, I share the tactics I use to strengthen my relationships with health care providers (think: communication, research and preparation), which can help YOU get the treatment you need and deserve. Watch today’s video, in which I offer three different tactics for relationship building. And then let me know what you think! *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: Have you built stronger relationships with your HCPs? Have any of your efforts fallen flat? I’m ready to hear it ALL. Join the conversation in the comments below, share your experience and ask for advice from our community. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has more than seven hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! (Rough) transcript: (waiting, waiting, waiting…) Oh, hi! I was just waiting by the phone for my doctor to call. (Looks at imaginary watch.) Nah, just kidding — I have a GREAT relationship with my docs. Today I want to share some tactics that I use to strengthen my relationships with health care providers, which can help YOU get the treatment you need and deserve. Hi! I’m Jenni Prokopy of and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible). Each week, I offer you my favorite tips and techniques to help you craft an incredible life beyond illness. Yes! I know you can. In Western society, we’re taught that “doctor knows best” all the time, to never question our health care providers, and especially — as women — to respect authority without fail. I’m happy to report that I’ve tossed those societal rules out the window, and am engaging my health care providers in a very different approach: Collaboration. There are three things I do with every health care provider to create a stronger vibe of mutual trust and respect, and I think they’ll work for you too. Communication When working with a new doctor (or working on a relationship I’ve already had for years) I ask my doctor how best to communicate with them. This is such a simple tactic but it works wonders! Some docs prefer that you use the new patient portals that are popping up all over the place. But some prefer you call their office directly. Others will even chat with you on social media. When you ASK your doctor how she likes to communicate, you’re showing respect — and a spirit of collaboration. And when you respect their...

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