Posted on Sep 12, 2016 in Blog |
Some of you may be thinking, “wow, 7 years. That’s a long time to be in treatment. Isn’t she getting better?”
Yes, I am. It is important to note here that I was sick for 29 years before getting an accurate diagnosis. Treatment is not going to be a short-term easy fix.
I sent him a quick note saying, “My first appointment with you was seven years ago today. Thank you.”
He replied, “ Amazing how time flies. Thanks for your trust. We’ve been through a lot. And we have more to do.”
I replied, “Honestly, I was thinking of going a six month hiatus, physically and emotionally. Grateful for the safe place to do this work, but I’m tired.”
And without missing a beat, he suggested, “ You could come in every three months and focus for now on . . . “
I’m showing you this interaction for a few reasons:
1. It’s important to say THANK YOU to your LLMD.
2. It’s nice to receive a Thank You in return and the validation of the hard work I have put forth as well.
3. It’s important to be HONEST with your LLMD and tell him/her what is going on for you.
4. It’s amazing to have an LLMD who doesn’t skip a beat, who knows treatment fatigue is part of the healing process and suggests some options to you.
Sometimes, it is ok to take a break from the forward momentum of active treatment. I have done this at several points in the past 7 years.
1. I published a book, which caused some consternation among some family members. It was a rough patch during which I became almost suicidal. Dr. M managed my emotional status and he backed off my meds a bit.
2. My 16 year-old nephew died by suicide. Suicide wreaks havoc and hell on the entire family, including extended members. It threw me for a loop, most assuredly. It also affected other family members who then dropped into horrible depression. I learned during this time that if a person knows someone who has committed suicide, despite the pain and torture it has caused, the survivors have a significantly higher chance of also dying by suicide as well. Dr. M backed off my treatment during this time for a few months as well.
3. While switching some meds around for treating various co-infections, I had an allergic reaction to one med and then a really harsh response to two other meds. And then I got thrush, a yeast infection throughout my entire system. So Dr. M took me off all antibiotics for a month to help get my body back into balance.
4. When I developed a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and had to be on Coumadin and all that mess. Again, Dr. M took me off certain meds to allow the blood clot to assimilate back into my system and rebalance. This took seven months.
5. Lastly, when my Dad became ill this past February and then died in March, Dr. M removed all treatment meds except supplements to again, just help build my immune system but not taxing it while it is under such stress as grief. I tried going back on after 4.5 months with a dreadful response, so he’s in agreement I need to work on healing in another mode for now.
Let me state here that taking a break in treatment does NOT mean going off anything without first consulting with your LLMD. Do NOT go off any meds without talking to your LLMD BEFOREHAND.
Taking a break in treatment does not mean NOT seeing your LLMD on a regular basis. It may mean you see the staff every 8 weeks instead of 4. Again, it’s always best to work it out beforehand.
Taking a break in treatment does not mean going off your supplements.
Taking a break in treatment does not mean going off prescription meds that help your system operate at optimum level (i.e., thyroid meds, adrenal meds, etc).
Treatment fatigue is common. It is expected. Your physician won’t be surprised to hear you are feeling it.
What is important here is to remember that your healing is a team effort. So decisions need to be made together, in congruence.
Dr. M knows I am seeing his nurse practitioner weekly for grief counseling.
He has me on a protocol for depression.
He knows I am working on the emotional aspects of healing that are also essential components to rid myself of chronic illness.
And he knows I am not quitting.
I just need to back off “coming at” this disease from every angle.
I need some extra rest and extra space to process the healing that is happening.
And thankfully, Dr. M knows when to encourage those breaks and fit them into the overall plan.