Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


5 Rules for Living with Chronic Illness and Depression: An Interview with Elvira Aletta

posted by Beyond Blue

dr aletta.jpg

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite therapists, Elvira Aletta, Ph.D., on a very important topic: chronic illness. I say important, because it now pertains to me (and thus is important), and I need to learn some coping techniques ASAP before I fall over, into the Big Black Hole of depression.

Dr. Aletta is a clinical psychologist, wife, mom to two teenagers and blogger, seeking the balance in upstate New York. She is working on a book “How to Have A Chronic Illness So It Doesn’t Have You,” and would love to hear your story about how you or someone you love thrives with chronic illness. Write to her at draletta@explorewhatsnext.com. To learn more about Dr. Aletta, check out explorewhatsnext.com.

Question: I know that you have dealt with chronic illness personally and professionally, and this is an area of specialty for you. Do you have five good rules for living with both chronic illness and depression?

Dr. Aletta: Yes, I’ve had my share of chronic illness. In my early twenties I was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome, a rare kidney disease that usually affects young boys. Weird. Then in my thirties I came down with scleroderma. Never heard of that either. When we are young it is our God given right to take our health for granted. Chronic illness means getting sick and being told it’s not going away, and that stinks. Our bodies have suddenly freaked out on us and we’ve lost control of the one thing we thought we could count on.

It’s not depression if you are adjusting to a major loss. That’s grief, which needs time to process. Allow yourself that time to mourn, to be angry and sad about what you’ve lost. You need time to accept the new reality.

Then at some point, we need to take action. If we don’t, grief morphs into depression and that can make your physical illness worse.

Be aware that one or a combination of factors can cause lowered mood when you have a chronic illness:

? The situation. Loss. Grief.
? Changes in appearance, mobility, independence.
? The illness itself may have depression as a symptom.
? Pain and fatigue.
? Side effects of medication and other treatments.
? Social pressure to appear OK, especially hard if there’s no diagnosis.

My five good rules to deal with it all? OK, here we go…

1. Be confident you have the right doctor.

When you have CI your relationship with your doctor is second only to your spouse or your parents. Being honest (and you must be honest!) with that person means you need to be able to trust them to hear you. If you don’t have that kind of relationship get a second opinion. Shop around. In my CI career I fired three highly recommended specialists because they were jerks. Thankfully I’ve also had wonderful physicians who literally saved my life and my mind.

2. Define your circle of support carefully.

Isolation leads to depression and it is so easy to isolate when you feel lower then dirt. People may surprise you. Peripheral friends may step up and be terrific support while others you thought you could count on cave. If someone inside the circle asks, “How are you?” Tell them the truth. When someone outside the circle asks, lie, say, “I’m fine” and change the subject. Too often they can’t handle the truth and they suck any energy you have taking care of them. A patient of mine found her mother would get hysterical at any medical news so it was better to keep her at arms length.

If someone asks if they can help say yes. Accepting help is a gift to them. Trust that someday you will be on the giving end. My patient’s mother could do laundry for her and that made both of them happy. One big way someone can help is to go to doctor’s visits with you. The extra eyes and ears take the pressure off you when the news is emotionally laden and important, even if the news is good.

3. Protect your health as you would a small child.

You are more than your illness. That part of you that functions well needs you to advocate for it. Of course there are the basics of getting plenty of sleep, exercise and eating smart. In addition to all that I suggest learning a new set of signals that are your clues for when you’re wearing your health thin. For me it’s lowered ability to concentrate, tension in my neck and shoulders, irritability and loss of my usually dependable sense of humor. When those yellow lights are blinking, it’s time for me to stop, assess and make changes. When I ignored those signals I relapsed and looking back I can see where I ran the red lights. So be a fierce protector of your health. Set limits and find the courage to say ‘No’!

4. Create a new measuring stick.

Our self-esteem lies in the standards with which we measure ourselves as we go through life. To thrive with chronic illness, throw out the old and rethink your standards. If you are used to defining yourself by your 50-hour workweek, for instance, you may feel lousy about yourself because now you can’t manage it.

Finding a new standard can be tough. One technique I use with patients is to have them ask themselves what is reasonable? Is it reasonable to do it all yourself or is it more reasonable to delegate? Is it reasonable to register the kids in travel hockey or is it more reasonable to stay local? This is where a lot of courage is needed. Courage to address old pressures to be a certain way and to imagine value in doing things differently. In my own life and in my work I find that those who thrive despite chronic illness creatively find opportunity in their new reality.

5. Have dreams and strive for them!

You had ambitions to get a degree or promotion, to see the world or save it, to get married and have kids. Now you’re thinking, do I have to give that up? No, you don’t. It’s imperative for your spirit that you have goals for living, big and small.

What might change with the reality of chronic illness is the path and timing. I wanted to have kids and was told for years, ‘No.’ I had to adjust to the idea of life without kids or adopting. Then in my late thirties, my doctor said, go for it. After a scary, thrilling journey, today I have two thriving teenagers.

As we reach for the stars let’s appreciate the ground we stand on. Mindfulness has a real place in keeping depression at bay for everyone. Sometimes our dreams are right before our eyes.

Click here to subscribe to Beyond Blue and click here to follow Therese on Twitter and click here to join Group Beyond Blue, a depression support group. Now stop clicking.



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Your Name

posted May 29, 2009 at 2:51 pm


THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PURSUING THIS ARTICLE/INTERVIEW I was misdiagnosed with PTSD at 31 and FINALLY correctly diagnosed with a severe form of BIPOLAR DISORDER at 40′ish. I have gone from a hugely successful businesswoman to a 50-year-old on SS disability, with caregivers, and a broken marriage and family life. Needless to say, the process has been daunting. Currently, I’m dealing with my mother’s death in January, severe drug interaction that put me into the hospital in February, and the sudden DISSAPEARANCE of my non-therapic support group (mainly family). The doctors’ experiences and suggestions were extremely helpful to me and the article itself seemed to be written just for me and my current challenges. I thank God everyday for caring professionals in the mental health field and websites like Belief.net. God Bless!



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Dr. Aletta

posted May 29, 2009 at 9:48 pm


It means so much to me that this article was helpful to you in any way. Thank you for taking the time to let us know. I am sorry for the loss of your mother and I hope your support group reappears with time.
Take care,
Dr. Aletta



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Andreas

posted May 31, 2009 at 11:28 am


Only two months ago, I got rid of the chronic depression that had haunted
for decades! I had gone through more years of psychotherapy and prescrip
tion drugs than I can count. It is a new, joyful life and prayer has
become easy, even a habit.
I do hope this is the real McCoy, and that this horrible illness will
never return. I still have some challenges, such as chronic pain from
osteoarthritis, but I get some morphine from our family doctor, so that
it is not hard to bear the remainder as I do not want to become addicted.



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Bad to the Bone

posted May 31, 2009 at 12:49 pm


I am looking forward to reading your book. Someone I love has weathered many trials of illness and other heart-stopping life events. But even more importantly, judging from the short summary of your action plan described on this blog, I am guessing that your book will be a resource and useful guide for anyone approaching any of life’s challenges big or small.
My best wishes to you.



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Your Name

posted June 1, 2009 at 2:37 am


RE Responsibility and the right thing to do. Sometimes it is the most passionate thing to do to watch your rugrat’s computer behavior. It is most appreiatd. I have fallen for my computer. HAAAAAAAAAAA.
Anyway, I have miles to go before I sleep tomorow. I would like to know if my new pet would be mine, so long ago. My neighbors on both sides are wonderful to me now. I keep their number and one has my key each night now. Wonderful training for the big house. Thank you.
But, watching the kids computer. Yes, we should do that. I regret not setting my foot down on such things.
Those neighbors are good at answering my questions skillfully now. Is that case you spoke of in Ny. and when and who picks it up? Or is that the hump day? Just picke up here and there. Delete. Good night sweetheart of a column.



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Your Name

posted June 1, 2009 at 12:04 pm


I do my best not get affected mentally with my problems.Sometimes
it is mentally draining me if i focus my mind into it but most of the
time i focus myself into prayers and meditation,battling my natural
problems with prayers and taking my faith to God more.I am not afraid
each passing day,because i know i open and close my eyes without guilt
inside and i am well with that.In times of problems,i thank my friends who give me the support i need,i don’t give up the hope that
all these things shall come to pass and hold on to my faith in God
who is our heavenly father,thank you.



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Nenah Moeller

posted June 1, 2009 at 12:55 pm


How does one know the level of their depression? Is there some quiz or questions one must ask themselves?Nenah



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Dr. Aletta

posted June 1, 2009 at 2:58 pm


Dear Nenah,
There are tests psychologists use, we call them inventories, to determine if what you are experiencing could be a depression. Go to the links I provide below and you will find some direction.
Could I Be Depressed?
http://draletta.typepad.com/explorewhatsnext/2008/06/could-i-be-depressed.html
Eight Signs Your Blues Might Be Depression
http://draletta.typepad.com/explorewhatsnext/2008/08/eights-signs-your-blues-might-be-depression.html
Let me know if I can help.
Dr. Aletta



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Caroline Christian

posted June 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm


I like your five points.
Question is :
What about someone without a working relationship with a doctor ?
There is a considerable list of illnesses witout effective
medical treatment.
The local support group can get scathing about bad experiences with
doctors and psychologist.
Any suggestions ?



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Mabel Lou Brown

posted June 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm


on 5/5/07 I lost my mother, who I had been sitting with every day for over a year…on December 26 of the same year I lost my best friend…and on Sept. 30 2008 I lost my brother. Of course I am grieving, but the doctors think I need depression meds. Today I just found out they are pulling the plug on my other best friend. She has tried hard but just can’t make it…another grief…and if I go into my doctor she will say I HAVE to go back on depression meds. I have been off and on it for 7 years now, and nothing seems to help. I asked if I would be on it all my life and she said yes!!! I DON’T WANT THIS…what can I do to get over this so I don’t need the meds?



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Millie Malone

posted June 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm


My son Patrick 31 suffers from a rare disease called cystionsis, from birth, we had lost two children with this in 1962 3 months apart. Our son also has depression, O.C.D tourettes.
He recently had a kidney transplant March of 2008. He is doing good with that but his depression has gotten much worse.
We just don’t know what to do anymore as no matter what we do is never good enough.



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mary margaret

posted June 1, 2009 at 5:07 pm


Dr Aletta, After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia 1/5/2007, I have been to, around, and through hell.Thirty years of trial meds and being told there was nothing wrong with me became a list of additional diagnoses of chronic fatigue, depression, and a list that goes on too far.
I decided to start over..A well-deserved do-over, as it were.
I moved.I lost family and friends.
I cried for a year straight.During classes to learn alternative and approved modalities of treatments for ME.
My husband and I are practically hermits. We love our new home.He built me an enclosed garden with raised beds. I planted.I rested.
Back to the basics has brought us closer.So close we cry together when we think, instead of feel, life.
I smile and laugh.
I have changed my mind.Body and spirit celebrate daily.



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otherdeb

posted June 1, 2009 at 6:50 pm


Thank you so much for this!
Two Julys ago, I had a hemmerhoidectomy that totally messed me over. The surgeon was a jerk who refused to believe I might know anything about a body I had been living in for over 50 years. He refused to believe the extent to which I was hemmorhaging before the surgery, with the result that when I had the pre-surgical testing I had to be admitted immediately because my hemoglobin had gone to 7 and I was critically anemic (which I had never been before in my life, including when I had ovarian cysts that required a total hysterectomy). I have never fully recovered my stamina from this surgery (and I later found out that the doctor illegally charged me for follow-up visits, to add insult to injury); when I got an infection, said surgeon tried to tell my gastro guy that I hadn’t been following his instructions, and when I pointed out that I always needed two courses of antibiotics to deal with infections, he refused to listen, with the result that the infection was not completely cured, and came back resistant to the few antibiotics I am not allergic to.
As you can imagine, living with this loss of energy, and working as a school aide – a job which requires a certain amount of energy to keep up with the kids – has not been easy, and your article gave me a real boost!
Again, thanks so much for your help!



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Susan from little rock, arkansas

posted June 1, 2009 at 7:34 pm


i lost my 1st message to u; so try again. i’ve had a memory/comprehension problem all my life. i’ve been diagnosed add years ago. but have lived w/ low self-esteem and have hidden behind other “ok” qualities for years. i’ve have fought depression for years,been to many therapist,and tried all kinds of depressants. my life has never felt fullfilled. the closest thing i had to fullfillment was trying to have a functional family(2nd marriage), stayed home all these years and loved working in the yard. but almost 20 year marriage is ending. i’ve fought in trying to get him now to file (now going on 2 1/2 years)but losing the battle. my commitment was to never get divorced again, and maybe that was not only b/c of my better understanding for “sickness and health, better or worse) and my fear of never being able to be completely be independenet b/c of my lack of remembering, understanding. Every time i’d try to venture out in working world, i was limited. Sales was the only thing i did ok, and i’m i eventually got tired of that and still was limited. i’ve lived w/ this self esteem problem all my life, but i know it’s b/c i know something is wrong w/ me. And yes i’m ADD, and always repeating myself or asking the same question over and over that someone answered b/c i didn’t remember. i recv’d a degree in Educ b/c it was the easiest degree to get. and that was a disaster in practice teaching. i’ve pretty much feel i’ve failed and never felt any real accomplishment. In addition, i’ve dealt w/the stress from my alcoholic and narcissitic 27 year old son from my first marriage. Lastly, i’ve had Parkinson’s for almost 8 years and i’m 56. With marriage falling apart, and now going thru my last one graduating and no skills and limited, i’m don’t know how to deal w/ anything. Financially, i’ve been responsible for most b/c of being separtated for awhile. i just wish i could findn something to truly help w/ the depression and figure out what’s wrong w/ my brain. no matter what friends i have, i feel alone, and feel that i’ve wasted so many years and i’m scared to death. can u help?



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irma

posted June 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm


i have been taken lexapro for over three years and no help



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Prayerwarrior09

posted June 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm


TO EVERYONE WHO HAS A MENTAL AND OR MEDICAL DISABILITY. I CURSE AND REBUKE ALL SICKNESS AND DISEASE IN THE NAME OF JESUS. I COVER YOU WITH THE BLOOD OF JESUS. BY HIS STRIPES YOU ARE HEALED, HE SENT OUT HIS WORD AND HEALED YOU, JESUS IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND FOREVER. LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG” UPHOLD ME ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD, THAT I MAY LIVE. EVERYONE, YOU MUST BELIEVE THAT THE LIVING WORD OF GOD WILL DO WHAT IT SAYS !! YOU MUST! YOU MUST! YOU MUST! BELIEVE! BELIEVE! BELIEVE! ASK GOD TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR UNBELIEF. DO NOT LISTEN TO NEGATIVE PEOPLE!! PRAISE GOD ALWAYS, THE devil HATES YOUR PRAISES!! LOVE YOUR BROTHER IN CHRIST, DAVE



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nicole benzakin

posted June 1, 2009 at 9:23 pm


i just had my 18th surgeries and i am trying to keep my faith strong;but at time i get so discouraged when i hear possible more surgery..please red the story in http://www.nicoleniche.com and any other idea/support/advise i am all for it
thank you..SO…..MUCH!
nicole



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Dr. Aletta

posted June 1, 2009 at 10:28 pm


For everyone who wrote me here and to my email address:
Your stories move me profoundly. I wish I could help you all. There are limitations but I will do my best.
Caroline: To find a doctor: What I had to do was interview several doctors as if they were applying for a job and I was the employer. I always stick with faculty at teaching hospitals (medical centers tied to a medical school) because those doctors have to know the latest stuff. A good doctor will admit when he/she doesn’t have the answer but will work with you to figure out a plan, maybe even something experimental if you’re willing. I’ll be writing more about this on my blog and for the book. Try to filter out what others say and make your own judgments. Doctors are rarely perfect. I once kept a doctor even though he had a horrible bedside manner (he had the social IQ of a kumquat) because he really knew my disease and even did research in it himself. He’s a big reason I’ve been in remission this long. Go figure.
Mabel: I think it’s so wrong when doctor’s says anything is ‘for the rest of your life.’ Don’t get me started! But here’s the thing, even though clearly you are in mourning for all your losses you are also vulnerable to depression because of your past history. I’m going to assume when you took the antidepressants they helped ease some of the symptoms. If I’m reading you correctly it’s the forever bit you object to and I don’t blame you. I suggest you listen to your doctors for now but think of the medication as one day at a time! Meanwhile find a qualified psychotherapist who will respect your grief and knows cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT in combination with your medication is the most effective treatment for some types of depression.
Millie: Sometimes it’s the family who needs help. I’m wondering, who takes care of you? I could be reading between the lines here but I get a feeling you set your grief and upset aside and give all you have to your son. I’m concerned for your health. Forgive me if I am wrong. Your son is 31 y.o. He may be impaired but he does not appear to be without resources. ‘We just don’t know what to do anymore as no matter what we do is never good enough.’ I’m sure what you have done has been more than good enough. The weird thing about being a caregiver is sometimes good care means stepping back and taking care of ourselves first. As a psychologist I can’t make someone not be depressed. What I do is give my patients the tools, show them how to use them and encourage their use. The rest is up the them. I hope this helps.



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Dr. Aletta

posted June 1, 2009 at 11:00 pm


Mary Margaret: It sounds like you are balancing crying with joy and laughter. This may sound silly but have you tried Skype? Seeing a loved one as you talk with them can really be nice. A lot of people who are shut in because of health issues also use the social networks (facebook, twitter) to stay connected with friends and family around the world.
otherdeb: I’m so sorry for your nightmare. I’m glad if my article helped in any way. Keep up the very good work. I’m hoping it will get easier given time.
Susan: You describe a situation that’s much more than dealing with chronic illness (which is problem enough). You have enough stress going on to kill an elephant! Plus you’re saying you were practically born with low self-esteem. If I had you in my office I would have you write down in list form each stress point. Then I’d have you assign each a number 0-10, 0 being no stress and 10 being ‘Holy Cow!’ No fair giving everything a 10! This technique is called categorization and it’s meant to get the thoughts spinning in your head out of your head. Then we put handles on them so we can move them around. Got it? Choose which item you can tackle easiest first. Try to get the number down from say a 5 to a three. That’s called gaining mastery, a key to overcoming anxiety and depression and building self-esteem. I truly wish you could find a good counselor to help you with effective problem solving. You can use the Psychology Today web site find a therapist feature to find a counselor near you. Also if you’re interested, I provide telephone & Skype consultations.
Everyone: The book Feeling Good, the New Mood Therapy by David Burns, explains a lot about treating depression. I recommend it to my chronically ill patients.



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Melanie Restrepo

posted June 2, 2009 at 6:25 am


How do you “create a new measuring stick” for yourself when your illness keeps you in a state of not knowing how you are going to feel day to day? I cannot preplan for days ahead as I never know how I am going to feel. I have tried to plan ahead and I will inevitably have to cancel my plans as I will feel to sick or my bowel will require me to be close to the bathroom for the day
I am so tired of this crummy disease running my life but I don’t know how to live around it.
I don’t have a large circle of friends and family so I don’t have anyone I can really call on when I need help so what can I do?
I fill much of my time knitting for charity and entering contests online and playing games that will allow me to earn a little something since I can no longer work, but that doesn’t really fill the void and I still feel relatively useless.
What do I do?



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Your Name

posted June 3, 2009 at 7:22 pm


Dear Doctor Aletta,
My bedroom is full of stuff up to the ceiling. I have been trying to clean it for years, but I can’t succeed. There is stuff on my bed also and I am sleeping in the living room. Please let me know how I can overcome this. I want to have a nice room to sleep in. Please help me. Thank you.
Best regards,
Anna



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Dr. Aletta

posted June 4, 2009 at 11:21 pm


Mary Margaret: It sounds like you are balancing crying with joy and laughter. This may sound silly but have you tried Skype? Seeing a loved one as you talk with them can really be nice. A lot of people who are shut in because of health issues also use the social networks (facebook, twitter) to stay connected with friends and family around the world.
otherdeb: I’m so sorry for your nightmare. I’m glad if my article helped in any way. Keep up the very good work. I’m hoping it will get easier given time.
Susan: You describe a situation that’s much more than dealing with chronic illness (which is problem enough). You have enough stress going on to kill an elephant! Plus you’re saying you were practically born with low self-esteem. If I had you in my office I would have you write down in list form each stress point. Then I’d have you assign each a number 0-10, 0 being no stress and 10 being ‘Holy Cow!’ No fair giving everything a 10! This technique is called categorization and it’s meant to get the thoughts spinning in your head out of your head. Then we put handles on them so we can move them around. Got it? Choose which item you can tackle easiest first. Try to get the number down from say a 5 to a three. That’s called gaining mastery, a key to overcoming anxiety and depression and building self-esteem. I truly wish you could find a good counselor to help you with effective problem solving. You can use the Psychology Today web site find a therapist feature to find a counselor near you. Also if you’re interested, I provide telephone & Skype consultations.
Everyone: The book Feeling Good, the New Mood Therapy by David Burns, explains a lot about treating depression. I recommend it to my chronically ill patients.



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Dr. Aletta

posted June 4, 2009 at 11:46 pm


Dear Friends,
I intend to answer all of your concerns. My last effort was somehow swallowed up by the ethernet. I’m so sorry because a) I will have to try to duplicate quite a long reply and b) I don’t want you to think I’m ignoring you. I’m not. You all ask excellent questions.
Thank you for your patience,
Dr. Aletta
PS. You might enjoy this. http://draletta.typepad.com/explorewhatsnext/2009/06/exercise-is-not-negotiable.html



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James Davis

posted June 11, 2009 at 3:25 pm


In discussing a chronic illness, sometimes one also needs to remind the person involved of their right to expect support from the physician one chooses: that means one must not only feel comfortable with what the physician knows and does, but that should there be any questions, regarding such simple things as services, charges for those services, or some other small item that costs the patient money: when those expectations are not met, the physician you chose should support the patient.
Ex: I once had an IVP because of my kidneys (nephrosis); the nephrologist ordered the xrays to be sent directly to him. Instead they were sent to an reader who held them after reading and writing the report until my appointment time the next day. I had to get the report myself. When he read the report the radiologist completely, and I mean utterly and totally, missed a 2cm. kidney stone-it wasn’t even mentioned in the report.
When I requested he include a note himself, to the radiologist about missing the kidney stone , to explain why the radiologist would not be paid by the insurance, or me, he refused-saying it was “unprofessional”.
The radiologist wanted something like $400.00 for his services.
He was part of the rotation at a local hospital so neither my nephrologist, nor I had a choice or say in the matter.
It took me several weeks and serious threats at malpractice with the radiologist and his billing service (he had no office at all), including the threat to include the billing agency as an accessory to resolve the problem.
And yes, after the third day of getting now-where with the radiologist or his agency, I told my nephrologist about the problem his professionalism had caused me and openly fired him-Donald Trump style.
If you as a patient do not feel the support and concern you feel you need from your physician, get another, and stop wasting your money.



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Hulk

posted January 18, 2010 at 11:54 am


Any chronic disease can be dangerous if not treated on time this indicates findrxonline in their articles, in many cases the drugs are of great help to counteract the chronic pain, but there are other supplements that science should be regarded as vegetables and vitamin supplements, many consider the medicines are of great help to counteract the pain, especially opioids narcotics such as Vicodin, Lortab, hydrocodone, oxycontin, oxycodone, tramadol, and many others that exist in today’s market, but I think we should also consider as an additional alternative to supplement the vitamins such as calcium, B complex, vitamin C, do you think it is a contribution to people with chronic disease?



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ajay

posted April 12, 2010 at 1:52 am


what is wrangler disease,does this effect the sexual function in a man.What are the remidies.



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lovebg

posted May 1, 2010 at 10:17 am


Thank You For This Post, was added to my bookmarks.



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Rita

posted May 25, 2010 at 1:03 pm


Apparently one in five people with a bipolar disorder (yup I’m one of them) ends their life by suicide. I used to think they got really depressed. Now I think it is because they know that they may be feeling good, but mania or depression is lurking.
BTW – I am not going to end my life by suicide.



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Belle

posted June 9, 2010 at 8:24 pm


I am coming up on my 23rd Illness Anniversary and some years are harder than others.
This one has been daunting. Two non-addictive medications that worked well for me and my neurological symptoms were removed from our medication “Formulary”… I appealed and right on the 6th Month deadline, (Saturday, June 5, 2010) got a glib letter in the mail turning me down.
This appeal ordeal left me feeling that I was no longer of value, and very very angry at our Insurance Company (UHC If anyone is keeping track)… but I did a couple of things for myself while this was going on:
1. Searched for alternative care and found some things that worked. For instance, I have post-herpetic neuralgia from shingles in my face. A wonderful company sent me a sample of a cream with arnica (Steuart’s CNS Liposomes) that I use daily now. This was the first winter in more than two decades that I could go outside without feeling like ice picks were stabbing my face. Kudo’s to Steuarts ! Moral ? Do Not Be Afraid To Ask the alternative folks for samples, it could be win/win…
2. Insisted with my Mental Health branch of the Health Insurance that this whole appeal process was making me suicidal (at a point, it was) but since I have a compromised immune system, I needed to have them locate a therapist that would come to my home. Much to my surprise, they found one. Living with Chronic Illness may not be her specialty, but it is rapidly becoming an area that she has lot’s of information on. Second Lesson: Ask, and sometimes the Impossible Can Happen (much depends on the person you get on the other end of the Phone line however…)
Thanks for the article, and I hear you on that BTW thought !



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Tricia

posted April 12, 2011 at 9:29 pm


I know I’m a couple years behind this conversation but Just wanted to say thank you. I searched how to feel fullfilled with a chronic illness and found this and I couldn’t believe you have scleroderma too!!! I have systemic scleroderma and I am 34 I’ve been sick for about 4yrs but the last one has been the worst leaving me shut out from the world and I have no family support either. I have other issues from growing up in a cult as well so I struggle with feeling worthless everyday. I will get all suggested reading as I have plenty of time to read and hopefully find the courage to be happy again. I was never taught how to be happy or joyfull just taught I am bad and sinful. So needless to say I have issues and am struggling. You are in my prayers and am very glad you are in remission I am hoping for that day to come for me too.



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Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild wind can rage through your life leaving you much like the

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate measures to control a mood disorder, that faithfulness

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from the drama queen at the water cooler). Why? Because we

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a third, stuff her full of refined sugar and processed f

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer is difficult? What if, instead, everything looks dark,

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »




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