Thursday, February 8, 2018

I have yet to run into the person who says, “Goody! I get to take more pills every day for the rest of my life!” If you find that person, introduce me.
• Every pill
• Every treatment
• Every test
• Every medical appointment
…is a reminder that we are sick.

When you are prescribed a new medication do you find yourself reading the caution insert? Do you head over to Google? Do you wonder if you are going to be the lucky one who gets the side effects? I used to mentally rehearse a litany of side effects for each pill I swallowed. This one can cause lymphoma and low platelets. The next one can cause uncontrollable bleeding. The third can cause a bevy of things from diabetes, to cataracts, to thinning bones. I stopped the one that can build up on your retina and make you go blind.

We can change our relationship with medications by changing what we think. I cried when I went on chemotherapy. Years later, in a period of remission, I cried when my doctor considered taking me off chemotherapy! What made the difference? I embraced the good things the medication can do. I replaced the litany of negative side effects with a litany of knowledge and gratitude.

Before taking the first pill, I say this aloud, “I am thankful that I live in a time and place where there are smart doctors and scientists who figured out medicines that can help me."

Old Linda: This pill can cause lymphoma. What if I get lymphoma?
New Linda: This pill allows me to keep my own kidneys and avoid dialysis or a transplant.

Old Linda: This pill can cause blindness.
New Linda: This pill helps prevent flares. If I have my eyes checked I can stop if there are problems.

Old Linda: This pill can cause osteoporosis, cataracts, high blood pressure and more.
New Linda: This pill prevents my spleen from eating my red blood cells. I can monitor side effects.

Old Linda: This pill can cause uncontrolled bleeding.
New Linda: This pill will prevent another blood clot in my lungs. I can check my blood monthly and adjust the dose.

What script will you write for yourself? How will you reframe your relationship with medication?

I embrace my medications with knowledge and gratefulness.

(c) 2018 Linda Ruescher from Life Recycled: Creating a New Normal in the Face of Chronic Illness. Release date April 2018.

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