You Are NOT Your Disease

I’ve seen a lot of patients in my 10 + years in medicine and my six years as a PA. I was calculating the numbers the other day and I think I came up with a rough estimate of 20,000 patients that I have treated. Each and every time I’m saddened when the first thing patients say is “I’m diabetic, so I can’t exercise” or “I’m arthritic, so I can’t really walk” or “I’m obese, cooking is impossible for me”. I used to write-off their testaments as truth, scribble out their prescriptions and let them go without thinking twice. It’s easier this way and a lot faster to see patients in the conveyer belt mode, which was how I was taught to practice medicine. But for about two years now, my assistance has come in the a different form. I’ve learned to help people extract themselves out of the “I am my disease” model into the reality that is mind over medicine. It’s not entirely their fault, we’ve placed these labels on them in form of diseases.

We live in a culture of labels and we as medical providers throw them out all the time. Those ideas become reality and patients adopt them as truth. We know them as “The drug seeker, the crazy one, the lazy patient, the frequent flyer, the lonely man, the lonely woman, the drunk, the faker”. This is not uncommon or specific to the medical field. We find these archetypes in every aspect of our communities, our families, our circle of friends, our workplace. Everyone knows them and we still love them despite their label. It’s time to depart away from this futile mode of operation. We must also stop taking credit for patients successes and stop blaming/labeling them for their ‘failures’. As Dr. Hernandez said in our interview, http://heroesinhealthcare.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/our-travis-county-hero/, the number one player in the healthcare team is the patient. If they’re not making the decision to take control of their health, there is very little we can do as providers.

The first step begins with the patient. YOU, as the patient, must make the decision to not be the disease. You may have been given a medical diagnosis, but it does not define you or dictate what you can and cannot do. If you’re told you have a chronic disease, ask questions, educate yourself, research and find out everything there is to know about your disease. From there you can determine what foods would be serve your body and which supplements would help you work at your optimum.

Sometimes I get tough with my patients. I do it from a place of love and compassion so they know they have the power within them. Please stopped being shocked when I ask you what you have tried to do to correct or reverse your symptoms. It’s YOUR body, own it!

You are not your disease. Once you get that and are ready for the tools to help you take control of your health and find the healer within, come find me . I’ll always be here to light your way.

 

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