Catholic Husband

Love, Lead, Serve

Staring Down Medical Problems

In life, there may be nothing more disruptive than a major medical problem. Whether it's one that you're facing, or one that someone in your family is dealing with, medical problems consume the thoughts and time of those afflicted with them. This dilemma is one that is common in the human experience; despite our best efforts, we will get sick.

When I was a senior in high school, I was delivered a knock out blow from migraines. Nearly every day I had to be removed from class and sent home to recover. The situation got to a point where, near the end of the school year, I was asked to stay home. It was disruptive to the learning environment and, frankly, embarrassing to be taken out of class with such frequency. The attacks were only the beginning. My experience with the physicians that I sought treatment from proved just as difficult. Migraines are relatively misunderstood and I didn't fit into the typical patient profile. Many of the neurologists that cared for me had little experience with migraine patients outside of middle aged women, so they either prescribed treatments as if I was a middle aged woman or they just didn't believe me. It took four years to find the right neurologist and only then was I finally able to get my life back.

When you or someone that you love is forced to stare down a major medical problem, it’s important to have courage in the face of uncertainty. While our physical health does dictate many of our daily decisions, there's almost always things that we can do to improve our situation. A health crisis will face each of us at some point in our lives. This fact alone should be enough to motivate us to make good decisions today to help mitigate the factors that contribute to poor health later.

We put too much faith in modern medicine. It's true that medicine can do amazing things to help correct imbalances in our body. However, it isn't an exact science. With each body being completely unique, albeit with similar structures, pinpointing and treating causes of illness and disease can be difficult. There's a lot that we know but there's even more that we still don't understand. Alison is brilliant and knows an unbelievable amount about the body, how the systems work, and what type of afflictions can impact each organ and tissue. Even she will admit that there's a lot of unknown and that the best defense is a good diet and exercise. That means that although we will face major medical problems, we have the power to fight back by making good choices daily. Your doctor can't force you to make good decisions, those are choices that you need to make on your own.

When the time does come, despite your good efforts, when you're diagnosed with some condition, face the diagnosis with patience and humor. Don't give up the fight and resign yourself to despair. Understand the process, ask lots of questions, and use humor to help you through the difficult days. Life is valuable and precious not because of the utility that one gives to society, but in and of itself. Not every medical problem is fatal, but every problem is impactful. Life may not be the way that it used to be, but you're just as useful, valuable, and precious as you were before the diagnosis.

Medical problems present us each with two choices: resign the fight and slip into a sedentary lifestyle or take charge of your health and fight back by making good choices every day. When you face this dilemma, I hope that you'll fight.