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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Lessons and Learning: How I Turned a Major Medical Event into my New Normal







2017 has been a year of adjustments and learning. As a result of complications I sustained from the chemotherapy that saved my life after being diagnosed with a central nervous system brain tumor, I had to make significant changes to how I live my life and do the work I love. Throughout this last year, I continue to learn what my limits are and be grateful for where I am at today. I am learning that with modifications I can do most of the things that are important to me. 

I hope this article helps those struggling to adapt to a new normal and provides the motivation you or family members, colleagues or friends need to move forward.

 Adjusting to my new normal

As I approach my 64th year on this earth, I faced the fact that due to my disabilities, opportunities in the competitive healthcare marketplace are limited. Instead of settling for something that I did not want to do, I decided to return to independent practice and work on projects that give me purpose.

A renewed focus on Nursing/Advocacy

As someone who has walked in the shoes of a patient, my goals today centers around helping consumers, caregivers and all members of the healthcare team realize to improve the delivery of care and contain healthcare costs, we have to work as a team and ensure that the patient is recognized as the most critical member of that group. My work today is focused on educating and empowering consumers and helping them use their voice to ensure their care meets their goals.

As a patient, I realized that what I needed most from those who cared for me were simple things, like a smile, a kind word or information that helped me understand what was happening to me and the alternatives and choices that I had. The experience of being a patient has given me a renewed sense of purpose to be a change agent and part of the process being used to improve the healthcare system. I learned I could do this through my writings, the presentations I deliver, through interactions with others and through my own professional development. 

Giving Back

In 2017 I have focused my work on helping others reach their goals. I have found that I am good at mentoring and helping to connect people so they can advance in their careers and meet their goals. This work has been satisfying to me and has helped me give back to a profession and vocation that I have been fortunate to have been involved for over forty years.

Continuous Learning

In 2017 I am learning how to live with a disability. I learned that I can do the things I want, but need to slow down, use my braces, my cane and other tools that keep me safe and help me compensate for the deficits that I have. 

I have learned to ask for help when I need it and accept support from those who offer. My husband continues to be my advocate and my best supporter. He has given me the strength to go forward and the encouragement to do the things that are important to me. My family, friends, and colleagues continue to be my supporters, and for this I am grateful.

Looking ahead

As I look to 2018, I hope to continue to find ways to do what I can do to improve my health and work on projects that make a difference.

To all who have followed me on Nurse Advocate this year, I thank you for accompanying me on this ongoing journey. Thank you for your support, your friendship, and your encouragement. I look forward to an exciting 2018.

Editor’s Note: This post was written as part of a Pop Up Blog Carnival hosted by the Healthcare Marketing Network.  

More great posts by freelance healthcare writers on this topic can be found on the Healthcare Marketing Network blog.

If you are a healthcare freelance writer or blogger and are interested in joining our tribe and participating in future blog carnivals, sign up here to receive notice of our schedule and topics for 2018!