Saturday, March 25, 2017

Living with Chronic Condition: What’s a Good Life for You?

Just read Stop Accepting Death: A doctor rejects medicine’s‘self-righteous’ approach with patients and am inspired by Dr. Diane Meier’s comment I think the question is not one of forcing people to look in the mirror and say, “You’re going to die.” The right question is, “What’s a good life for you? How can I as a clinician wrestle the resources and capacities of the health care system into something that’ll serve what matters most to you?”

Those affected by a chronic condition(s) may be more inclined than most to think about their mortality. What if we took Merier’s comment a step further and asked ourselves how to define “a good life” for all aspects of our life, not just how we might be feeling on a particular day. Would we continue to do the same job? Let others define what we do? Would we even know how to go about answering that question?

So how would you define a “good life” at this stage? Keep in mind this isn’t how you thought life would be when you were 20, or even a few months ago. It’s about the here and now.

Below are things to consider:
• Accept the givens, both positive and negative, (age, abilities, physical restrictions etc.) of your life.
• Understand how limitations may influence your daily life, while recognizing your strengths and abilities.
• Listen to what your body, mind and soul are telling you.
• Let go of being overwhelmed by your present life.
• Let go of things that are beyond your ability to alter or change by your actions.
• Recognize the importance of harmony and balance
• Trust that you do know what’s best for you and not let others define it for you.

Stay with it as it may take some time to figure it out. Also recognize that as things change-and they always do-you may need to modify. Finally, share with your medical provider how you define “a good life” so you can work together to achieve aspects that pertain to your care-such as pain management, relief of symptoms etc.

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