Have you ever had to struggle with a difficult health issue in your life? A sudden onset of symptoms that turned your life upside down, or a flare of symptoms where you couldn’t keep going on life as usual?
This week, I had the pleasure of talking with a patient who recently overcame a serious illness where she couldn’t eat or tolerate any fluids for a few months because of her gut issues, and she was losing so much weight that she was on the brink of hospitalization for IV nutrition. The good news is, with commitment to her recovery and finding a good health care team, she is now almost fully recovered and able to eat and drink normally. So I asked her one of my favorite questions, “On hindsight, what lessons do you have to share with the YOU from a year ago when you were really sick? What is the prescription you would you give yourself?” This was her response, “Give myself a bit more time to heal, a bit more patience to work things out and don’t be so addicted to doing.” I could tell how deep and rich this realization was for her.
I frequently ask this question to my patients after they have overcome a big challenge in life, both health or emotional, because these lessons of healing really informs us how we as unique individuals due to background, experiences, upbringing and world views affect how we handle challenges, difficulties, stress and even failures. However, by overcoming something this difficult, it also reflects how we have unique tools and lessons for ourselves. Success always leave trails. Each time we overcome and heal, we collect a special piece of wisdom and courage to help with any other times when we face difficulties or flares in our health, or relationships. By sharing with your healthcare team these lessons can also help inform them how to support you better in the future, especially if you have complex health issues. So don’t forget to celebrate each one of these healing moments, and allow these lessons to serve you for years to come.
Now, when was the last time you overcame a significant illness or difficulty, and now knowing what you know, what lesson will you prescribe to yourself back then?
I’d love to hear your response.