Monday, July 6, 2015

Could the Person Next to You be Chronically Ill?

I recently sent out a request to professional women asking for assistance in my research about chronic health conditions. I was astounded by the overwhelming response from 240 women willing to assist me. Many said that they managed to stay healthy despite the demands of work and family, and they took the time to tell me in detail about how they accomplish this.

I interviewed over 40 women who either were currently struggling with a chronic condition or had previously struggled with one.

One of the key questions I asked was, on a scale of 1 to 10 how much confidence did/do you have in Western medicine healthcare professionals? The average of all the responses was a low 4.83. Those who gave a response of eight or higher fit into three categories:
  1. Those that were just beginning their healing journey

  2. Those that had some sort of surgery or procedure that was successful

  3. Those that used a combination of Eastern and Western medicine

Sadly, some of the respondents had lost complete faith in medical science for the following reasons:
  1. They remained undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for up to two years

  2. Western medicine had no cure for them

  3. They felt as though Western medicine damaged their health even further

I also asked the participants if they were familiar with the following information:
Did you know that the Western medical community has been supporting working with health & wellness coaches for over five years and statistics show working with a health and wellness coach can increase a patient’s progress by up to 50%?

Only five participants answered yes, they were familiar with this information in some way. And although over 60% of those interviewed were using or had used a coach or a mentor in the past, they had not considered using a health and wellness coach prior to our discussion.

When asked what their biggest struggle or frustration was in dealing with their chronic condition, the two most common answers were:

  1. The lack of energy and the ability to function at an acceptable level so as to not jeopardize their employment.

  2. Having an invisible illness, meaning that by all outward appearances they looked healthy, but they were silently suffering. These individuals felt that they did not receive an appropriate amount of empathy, compassion, or understanding at work or at home.

Others stated frustrations such as:

  • Remembering to put their health first,

  • being well enough to take care of their children,

  • their symptoms reaching a level that prevented them from working at all,

  • the loss of and damage to personal relationships,

  • having to adhere to strict dietary limitations,

  • being in constant pain,

  • and losing hope that they would ever get well.

When asked what they felt their greatest accomplishment was while dealing with a chronic health condition, in general, the response was, “Being able to get through it all!” (You are champions, ladies!)

I’d like to give my heartfelt appreciation to all of the women who so generously took their time to reply to my request for information whether they could help or not. The outpouring of support was overwhelming. And those of you who spent time with me on the phone to share your story and allow me to ask my questions, I give very special thanks to you filled with healing, loving energy.

No comments:

Post a Comment