(Guest article by Hazel Bridges)
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or another chronic or autoimmune disorder, it’s never too late to take steps to control your health. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at things you can do to live your best life and thrive in the face of adversity.
Your knee-jerk reaction now might be to overhaul your entire way of living. While it’s true that you could probably benefit from some changes, Thrivers Inspire Healing offers many tips on what to do before you make major life updates.
Look at your insurance.
Let’s get one of the most mundane yet crucial tasks out of the way. Look at your insurance. Make sure that your policy offers the right types of benefits. You may need to change plans, and there’s good news here: you can’t be denied because of an existing condition. You will, however, want to look at your options closely. Ideally, you’ll join your spouse or partner’s plan through their work. The next step is to look at a marketplace plan or, if you are an independent contractor, one through Freelancers Union. COBRA should be your last resort since it’s crazy expensive.
Talk to your friends and family.
This might not be the most pleasant conversation you’ll have during the course of your disease, but it’s important to let those around you know what you’re facing. If you have lupus, for example, the Mayo Clinic says that you might be fatigued, suffer with frequent headaches, or experience routine joint pain. This can contribute to a change in your personality and may affect your relationships.
Address your sleep situation.
You’ve likely been stressed out since your diagnosis – The Sleep Foundation explains that stress can cause short-term insomnia. Unfortunately, lying awake in bed all night won’t do anything to perpetuate better health. Make sure that your bedroom is conducive to healthy sleep hygiene. This might mean turning the temperature down or making sure it’s dark throughout the night. Something else that can help is considering a custom pillow sham, duvet, curtains, and more. When you love your room, you may be more likely to settle down, and you should have no problem finding a custom design that matches your personal style. Look for print-on-demand options that are guaranteed in stock.
Gather your medical records.
Chances are, you’ve seen multiple doctors over the years. Hopefully, you’ve already given them permission to share your information with other healthcare providers, but you also want to make sure that you have a copy of your records on hand. Health IT.gov says to begin by checking your provider’s website or paying them a visit to request your records. Remember, they can’t deny access to your medical records, and your provider will likely be more than happy to provide a copy. If you request a paper copy of all of your records, there may be a fee.
Do your research.
Last, but not least: do your research. Make sure that you know everything you can about your condition so that you have a better idea of what to expect today and in the future. There are many reputable online resources, including MedScape, Smart Patients, Drugs.com, and more. Your doctor can also provide you with medical literature. Don’t worry if it becomes too overwhelming, remember to trust your body and to seek the support of your healthcare provider if you have questions.
Being diagnosed with a chronic condition is a life-changing event. However, it is also an opportunity for you to stand up and take control of your health. From understanding your health insurance benefits to getting enough sleep and making sure you have copies of your medical records, today’s tips can help you thrive in the face of adversity.
Visit the Thrivers Inspire Healing blog often for access to great content or to share your story.
Ms. Bridges is the creator of AgingWellness.org, a website that aims to provide health and wellness resources for aging seniors. She’s a breast cancer survivor. She challenges herself to live life to the fullest and inspire others to do so as well.