When a major health challenge is revealed, it can certainly shock your system, emotions and overall way of being. Over the past couple of years, I’ve faced many personal health challenges, which have shaped the way I live, and how I understand the support systems that be.
So many levels of your life are affected when faced with a series illness. Many questions arise and the life lessons come quickly and often with a heavier weight. If you want to be able to work through these lessons with more ease, try on these tips and strategies:
1. Medical Bills:
a) Create a filing system for your medical bills. You might be surprised at the different bills you will receive for one medical procedure. For example, surgery will include the actual surgical procedure, anesthesia, testing, etc. These may come in separate bills from separate providers.
b) Do not assume the medical bill is correct: Unfortunately, most health insurance carriers will try not to cover components of the procedure and/or they may calculate the bill incorrectly. Take the time to review the bills, contact your health insurance carrier and follow appeal procedures. Always put these in writing! The power of the written word equates to legal protection and it creates a track record.
c) Require receipts for all medical visits and expenses: You can right off your medical expenses on your taxes. Learn more here: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505146_162-57530512/how-medical-expenses-can-cut-your-tax-bill/
d) Ask a trustworthy, organized and assertive person to assist with these bills (be it a friend, significant other, family member or health advocate): Dealing with the stress of the illness is enough without having to battle insurance companies and medical expenses. Friends and family want to offer their help. Let go of some of this burden so you can save your energy for addressing the health concern instead.
e) Kiss your check before sending: Sometimes we can get caught up in the drudgery of the expenses incurred from this situation. However, fueling the financial drain with anger, resentment or other negative feelings will delay your healing. When making a payment on your medical bill, you are saying thank you to the doctors that provided the healing service to you. Focus on gratitude when making these payments and focus on the doctors and other medical staff that treated you :-).
2. Doctors Visits:
a) Do not attend appointments alone: It’s great that you happen to be a strong assertive independent person, however this is the time to receive support from others! It can be overwhelming to take in and thoroughly understand the information the doctors are sharing. You may be in shock with what they are saying or you may simply not understand what they are saying and you also may not be in a place to ask clarifying questions. Having 4 ears listening to results and treatment options is a much better bet than just 2. Having a second mouth to express concerns and ask questions is essential too! Try to have the same person go with you to your appointments as much as possible. This provides consistency with understanding the situation.
b) Bring a Notebook and write down questions before you go in: You may want to have a binder, which includes your medical bills/receipts, paper for appointments, and information pamphlets and test results all in one. You may have to meet with several different doctors. Sometimes offices are organized and communicate results to each other with ease, however some are not so organized and efficient. Having everything together will certainly help you out and them too! It can save you additional appointments and dollars!
c) Seek multiple opinions and treatment options: When faced with a health challenge, it can make us want to act quickly due to the fear of what is happening within our body. Take some time to realize you had this before the appointment and you will have it afterwards. You have time to carefully consider your treatment options. Do not let doctors scare you into getting treatment immediately. However, it is a delicate balance to ensure you do not ignore the issue and let it fester. You need to be proactive, review testing results thoroughly, listen to your gut and do your research before saying yes to treatment suggestions.
d) Take Your Time: Have you ever been in an appointment with a doctor and as you are about to ask a question, they are reaching out for the door handle to end your appointment?! Remember this is your time and they need to respect all questions and concerns you have. This is much easier to address when someone attends the appointment with you.
e) Trust Your Doctor or Find a New One: You can switch doctors at any time. You are not locked into one doctor just because that was the one you were sent to. It’s important to have a trusting relationship with your doctor. Remember this is the only body you get in this time around and you need to feel comfortable with who is treating you.
3. Emotional Support:
a) Ask for support and help: There are many reasons why an illness arises, however one of the biggest lessons tends to reside in our ability to be vulnerable enough to let go and ask for support. Going it alone may make you feel more empowered initially but it can lead to feelings of isolation and confusion. I know many strong independent women and men who are used to taking life by the horns and do not dare ask for help. I believe its one of the greatest tests of strengths to let go of your grip and allow others to step in.
b) Accept the illness: Being able to accept the condition as it is will allow you to accept yourself when you are well again. Acceptance what is what allows for you to let go and take steps towards addressing the issue. However, it's important to know that it is common to go through the steps of grief when you are first diagnosed with a series illness. Allow yourself to go through these steps if it feels right. The basic steps are 1- Denial and Isolation, 2- Anger, 3- Bargaining, 4- Depression, 5- Acceptance (I know I had to go through all of these steps)!
c) Get Pampered: Your body is speaking to your with an extreme voice. It is telling you to slow down, nourish yourself and to enter into a time of repair. Take time away from work, stress, unsupportive relationships, and unhealthy situations. Seek out places of healing, serenity, nature, nurturance, fun, love, and support.
d) Breath Deep: It's been said that we are given a certain number of breaths to breathe when we are born into this world. The slower you breathe, the more time you have on this earth.
Please email me for additional questions and support at firstname.lastname@example.org
~ By Wellness Coach Liz Myers, MA, PCCI
Liz Myers, MA, RYT200
Spiritual Life Coach, Yoga and Meditation Teacher.
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