What could you or your caregiver do to make your recovery safer, easier, faster, and more efficient?
Tip 1 — Obtain a Second Opinion
The radiologist who determined I had a brain tumor was not the person who convinced me to undergo brain surgery, chemo, radiation, and lots of therapy. My roommates, both of whom are physicians, convinced me what I saw in the on the film was a cancerous tumor. Based on their confirmation, I chose then to let my oncologist select the treatment protocol. Some doctors will tell you or your family you require immediate treatment. I am not a doctor, and I am not suggesting you spend valuable time looking for a doctor who disagrees with your primary doctor or agrees with you, but the decision of how to proceed is extremely important.
Tip 2 — Follow the Advice of Experts
Once you have chosen a doctor, let your doctor choose a treatment protocol. There is a fairly good chance that your physician knows more about the protocols than you do. If you are supposed to exercise differently, change your nutritional habits, and participate in a certain type of therapy, then do it. You may be tired, dizzy, nauseous, and in pain. Follow the advice anyway. I slept approximately 20 hours per day after my surgeries, chemo, and radiation, but I still made time to walk for a few minutes, eat something even though I could not keep it down, talk with family and friends, participate in therapy, listen, and learn.
Tip 3 — Change What Isn’t Working
I stuck with a single oncologist until I moved from Minnesota to California, but I switched neurologists while I was still in Minnesota. Many people liked my first neurologist, and he is supposedly one of the best and brightest neurologists in Minnesota, but he was repeatedly rude to me, my family, and my friends. I chose many therapists while I was living in Minnesota, but when I realized I was not the best judge of the help I needed, my family offered to help.
Tip 4 — Allow Yourself Time to Heal
When I first acquired a brain injury, I looked for a quick solution — a magic wand, fairy dust, a genie to grant me complete and speedy healing, medicine, herbal treatments, or a technological solution you might see in a sci-fi movie or an episode of Star Trek. The desire for a quick solution often leads to frustration, impatience, more unrealistic expectations, poor decision making, and depression when the quick fix doesn’t work. I wasted several years of potential recovery wishing for a quick fix that was unrealistic and never came. Recovery requires proper planning, instruction from competent professionals, change, action, support, encouragement, and time. At this time, there is no quick fix. Please don’t make the same mistakes I made.
Tip 5 — Do Not Fear Mistakes or Perceived Failures
Mistakes are opportunities to laugh and failures are opportunities to learn. Do not beat yourself up for decisions, actions, or events that did not turn out as you intended. Things happen beyond your control. When you can predict the future (events, stock prices, Powerball winning numbers, etc.) with 100% accuracy, then you can beat yourself up for making a mistake. Until you can predict the future with 100% accuracy, simply do your best to learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others.
Tip 6 — Learn from Others and Allow Others to Help
When your family, friends, and co-workers want to help, let them! If you are not able to tell them how they can help, simply let them help how they can. You may end up with food or pastries you don’t want to eat, clothes you don’t want to wear, and assistance doing what you can do on your own. Let people help anyway. The help might ease your burden or the burden of a loved one. Try everything that may help, and share everything you learn.
Tip 7 — Remember, You Are More than Adversity
Recovery may be a lengthy process of steps forward and backward. Do not let your challenges define you. No matter what adversity you are dealing with, you are much more than your adversity. Remain positive, accept help, get the help and support you need to succeed, actively participate in your recovery, and remember adversity is a small obstacle you encounter on your path to success, happiness, and prosperity.
- What recovery goals have you set?
- What are your challenges?
- How are you tracking your progress?
- What have you tried in an attempt to overcome your challenges?
- How may I help?