How to Build a Strong Support Team
A Healthcare House: How to Build a Strong Support Team By Rachel Basso, Guest Blogger
I am going to share some tips on how to build a well-rounded support team that I have learned from my personal journey with Endometriosis and the resulting chronic pain. Your support team is there to make sure you don’t have to walk your health journey alone. I certainly wouldn’t have made it this far without the people and resources who were there to help me, and I advocate now so that no one else will have to!
When beginning to build your support team, first identify your key needs and then seek out the right person or resource to help solve that problem. I like to think of this process as building a house.
Let’s Build a House
Why a house? Well, you are trying to stay dry when your chronic illness starts to thunderstorm, disturbing your daily life. A properly built support team keeps the roof sturdy over your head, to help you stay dry through the bad times, and into the good times. The roof can’t stand without a solid base and strong support beams.
Lay the Foundation
As the patient, you are the foundation of the house. Your role is to frame your illness in your own way. Own your story. The biggest lesson I learned when dealing with pain each day was that I couldn’t let the pain and illness become my identity. I was determined to be my own person, and every day I worked on making sure my attitude reflected it. and worked to have my attitude reflect this each day. This allowed me to retain my identity through my illness, and gave me the fortitude to fight through the worst bouts of pain.
Now I am no architect, but a foundation does not equate to a house. This is where your team comes in.
Add Support Beams
Doctors, nurses, nutritionists and other healthcare providers are central beams. It is important to find healthcare professionals that you trust. You need to be able to talk to your doctor about uncomfortable topics and, most importantly in my book, you need to feel heard. One of my favorite doctors to date gave me her personal cell phone so I could call her anytime following a procedure that was known to have unpredictable side-effects. Now that is what I call patients first! If you have a doctor that doesn’t make you feel safe, heard and respected, find a new one right now! Having a solid team of healthcare professionals who are able to answer questions and find the best solutions for your symptoms is critical in the journey to remission.
Family and friends are also central beams. Perhaps the most challenging thing to maintain when faced with constant pain is a happy outlook on life. Friends and family can provide a hug, a laugh, or even a swift kick in the butt if you start feeling sorry for yourself. I often found that my negative attitude on bad days was no match for a hug from my parents, or a movie night with friends.
Scientists and researchers play a role in your house of health, as they provide opportunities for new treatments when current options aren’t cutting it. Frequently patients find that a treatment works one day and stops being effective the next. Personally, I currently treat my endometriosis with a time constricted solution. As soon as I begin thinking about having kids my treatment option is no longer viable. Unfortunately, right now there is nothing else out there to treat me through that stage of life. I desperately need scientists and researchers to continue developing new treatments.
Clara is proud to be an additional support beam to patients, providing resources to find clinical trials and gain access to the most cutting edge treatments. Clara allows patient stories to be shared and breaks down barriers between patients and potentially life changing care that would otherwise be out of reach.
Other patients are another support structure that can help to keep your house strong. They provide that sense of “okay, I’m not crazy”. Talking to other patients and hearing their stories can give you a deeper sense of empathy than that of the comfort received from the rest of your support team. This is because they aren’t just holding your hand through your health journey, but they are finding their own way over similar roadblocks.
Rest Under the Roof
With these support structures in place, you have built yourself a house to live in when your chronic illness storms. If you let the people and resources available to you help you maintain your own sense of voice and determination, you will find that the best treatments and coping mechanisms are all around you!
Guest Blog Article submitted by Clara Health, check out iPain Partnerships at: https://internationalpain.org/partnerships