The Gift of Self Care

Last updated: January 2023

It’s a conundrum. When it comes to a chronic blood cancer diagnosis we try to strike a balance between the symptoms of the disease and the side effects of the treatment. What can we do to feel better somehow? What can we do to make the symptoms and the side effects more tolerable? How do we eke out some semblance of quality of life?

Just want to feel better

Sick people should know what works for them? Not me! It’s been eleven years of chronic leukemia for me and when symptoms pile up I still get lost in a sea of self doubt and confusion. Pain and discomfort fog the mind.  I have little left over to figure out how to treat myself. Self care isn’t always an easy thing to figure out.

Looking for self-care tips t try

Enter Dr, Google. He gets a bad wrap. After all, I am not looking to cure my symptoms, I have doctors who try to help me with that. I am not looking  for the end result of these symptoms. I mean, the end result of any symptom can be the ultimate end if symptoms are left unchecked. All symptoms can deteriorate to the point where the most extreme outcome becomes valid. In between the onset of symptoms and that extreme outcome is a mile of self care in between.

Symptom relief to go with the treatment from my doctor

Here’s where Dr. Google is misunderstood. Nevermind the possible extreme end result of the symptoms. It’s just not helpful. Finding personal first aid, symptom relief, home remedies, that’s what is most important to me. I leave the rest to the professionals, after all, I discuss these remedies with my doctor and tell them all the things I did at home before I entered their office.

Finding ideas on Google

I’ve had a heck of a time with rashes, for example. When these itchy, stinging rashes appear I find remedies such as cold compresses, oatmeal baths, calamine lotion, and how to avoid irritants. None of these cured my rashes but until I could find a proper treatment these remedies helped me get through the day and helped me understand what I could do to make myself feel a little better.

Conversations with my doctor

Before I googled I was a passive, irritated mess. Google helped me take the first steps to feeling better. Looking to Google for ideas of symptom relief gave me self care information I never considered before. That’s a good way to start any conversation with a healthcare professional, we can describe the home remedies that were used before the appointment. It helps move things along to the treatment phase.

When we find that self care, find that relief, things might become more tolerable. When we can tolerate them better we function better. I really don’t think that self care equals selfishness. Not at all. Self care makes the symptoms a little more tolerable which in turn makes us more tolerable to be around.

Self care is like the gift you give to yourself. Shop google carefully as you find self care solutions. Take the time, what works for one person may not work for every person. We’re all different, but there may be some self care gems worth finding. After all, you are worth it.

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