It's normal in healthcare to focus on a symptom or a newly diagnosed condition and to discuss with healthcare practitioners what treatment options there are for various aspects of a medical problem. But besides the impact of symptoms on immediately apparent issues - such as back pain on how you might get about - there are many other ways in which a health problem can impact you and which are usually much less obvious to anyone who hasn't gone through it before.
We learn a lot when we undergo a personal health quest and for every person it's a different - and sometimes lonely - lived experience. I hear many stories from patients and have wondered for a long time now whether the collective wisdom of my current and previous patients could be shared. My hope is to see if your insights could possibly help others - now or in the future - who may be having similar experiences and I think a new blogpost series focusing on exactly this could be the perfect home.
Through MyHealth, I want to publish a short piece every few months on your stories of living with a health problem. For my first post, I want to keep it generic and for you to share your tips and advice on support that you received or wish you'd received. Family, friends and doctors can often offer a range of advice when we are going through a health crisis. We know it's meant well and that they want to help but what advice is offered can sometimes be ridiculous or even hurtful. At worst, it means that we end up not talking to loved ones about what we're really going through because it feels like they don't quite understand - and this often happens at times when we need their support the most.
So thinking back to your experiences of health - whether it's coping with a new normal with new symptoms, or the stress of going through tests and investigations - what advice would you give to friends or family members who want to support you, but don't really know what to say or do? Can you think of a time when somebody said something or did something when they were trying to help, but it ended up not being particularly supportive at all? How do you think they could have said this better? What about something that someone did - perhaps unexpectedly - and which ended up being exceptionally thoughtful or helpful?
It would be great to hear your thoughts and stories and I really do need your help to get this up and running! If you have 5 minutes to spare and don't mind sharing your wisdom (anonymously of course) with others in the community, please do email me and I'd be happy to have a further chat with you about this!
Thanks for reading, and keep your eyes peeled for our very first MyHealth post (which I hope to be out in April)!