Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Side Effects? What About Rehab?

We all want the best treatment for our illness.  Doctors are supposed to provide you with a thorough outline of the side effects of medications and the possible risks involved with any treatment plan.  We hear a lot about rehab when discussing cardiac health or following a stroke.  Do we need to extend our focus on rehab as part of the treatment process?

I’ve known many women who have developed lymphedema following surgery for breast cancer.  There are physical therapy programs that have been created to help reduce the risk of lymphedema and/or prevent the onset.  How many breast cancer surgeons either know about these programs and/or are making them part of the treatment protocol?

As you go through treatment the impact of any illness could be short term, but often the impact is long term.  If that’s the case your “new normal” may have to include finding new ways of walking through life.  I’ve worked with a textile artist who has severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, as part of her own rehab plan she hired an Occupational Therapist to come into her studio and find ways of mitigating the impact on her body while creating art.  That’s a form of rehab that we often don’t discuss, as an example.

I believe the goal of any treatment needs to be first and foremost to eradicate or mitigate the impact the illness has on our body.  Following the treatment the goal is to maintain your health, but also to maintain the highest quality of life possible.  In order for that goal to be met you may need to consult with a physical therapist or occupational therapist.  Perhaps you need to create order in your home or office, than a professional organizer may be able to help you turn chaos into order.

There are many types of rehab both physical, emotional and spiritual.  Don’t rule any out!  Have any stories about what you did to improve your quality of life following treatment?