It’s been said that the most important relationship you will ever have is the bond with yourself. Living with DVT for almost 16 years, every aspect of my relationship with myself has been challenged, cultivated, and rejuvenated.
Beyond the medication, doctor’s visits, surgeries, and unexpected hospital stays, I found that peace and gratitude are critical to this journey. You must be able to trust yourself in making medical decisions, communicate effectively with your doctors, trust your process, and realize that you cannot walk this journey alone.
Here are seven things that have helped me live with DVT. I hope they’ll help you as well.
Communication: Center yourself before you walk into your doctor appointments. Release fear, doubt, and negativity so that you’ll be ready to communicate effectively. The conversations should consist of active listening, compassion, and an openness to alternatives and new information. Do your research ahead of time and communicate any and every concern. Don’t forget to talk about yourself. This is YOUR scheduled time to do so. Discuss any unusual aches or pains. Don’t leave anything out. Most importantly, never be afraid to ask a question. This is your life. You are valuable!
Honesty: This part is SUPER important! Don’t ever lie to your doctor. You are literally dealing with a life or death situation. I am so very serious about this! If you missed a dose or two of your meds, say that. If you think you may have accidentally taken more than you were supposed to, inform them of that during your appointments or call to let them know and await instructions. Blood thinners are helpful, but they can also be damaging to your health if they aren’t used as prescribed.
Trust: I had to learn to trust myself enough to feel peace that I indeed have the capacity to cope with my condition. I had to give myself permission to do that; it was hard and still is. Once I did that, I had to learn to trust my doctor. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re always researching and trying to find a way to get your medication dosage lowered or get off your meds all together. I’ve learned that trusting myself and my doctor allows me to focus my energy on following my treatment plan. As with anything, the more focused a person is, the more successful they will be.
Understanding: The point I will attempt to make here is one that I’m still learning myself: Ask questions! What is your blood type? What is your condition? How do the anticoagulants affect people with my specific blood type? How is the type of blood thinner determined? What are the different proteins in the blood, and how do these individual anticoagulants help or hinder those proteins? Really dig deep to try and gain the highest level of understanding. This is so very critical and will save you a lot of restless nights; no need to lose sleep worrying. Study yourself. This is NOT the end of your life. It’s simply an unexpected pothole in the road. Your level of understanding will fill in that pothole so you can continue on your journey -- with a solid plan.
Respect: “A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” By definition, this is what respect is. You must have this feeling for your doctor, your meds, but most importantly for yourself. Respect for yourself must show in your movements day to day. This is a treatment plan; it’s not like popping a pill for a headache and going about your day. You must commit to trusting the process. Respect your doctor enough to trust their expertise. Respect your medication enough not to neglect it or forget to take it. Respect yourself enough to do EVERYTHING within your power daily to stay the course. Maintain a healthy diet, release bad habits, and rest well. Besides, you deserve it!
Love: I saved the best for last. Love. Love yourself. Move in love. All things, love. Love is a high vibrational energy; second to gratitude. Love is a four-letter word thrown around these days like an emoji. However, the love in your life is only as powerful as you cultivate it to be. This is our responsibility as patients to lead the healthiest love life possible. While this may sound crazy to some, all the relationships in our lives, whether romantic, friendship, or family, have an impact on our lives. I learned it is my responsibility to move in love throughout my life experiences. This includes my DVT treatment plan, how I communicate with my doctor, nurse practitioner, nurses, and administrative staff. And moving in love and gratitude for all aspects of your journey will help keep your blood pressure low -- what a bonus!
Be still. Have patience. We will all get through this one second at a time.
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