Jan had bad experiences with her previous doctors, so she had trouble trusting a new one. Her current doctor is incredibly patient, and Jan says he is available to her to the point where she can email him any time of day. Though both of her children have careers, they have been a major support system for Jan. So as not to burden them too much, Jan describes new ways she has found to get what she needs. Being seen as a victim is one thing Jan cannot stand.
I went out to lunch with my ex-business partner who is a dear friend of mine and said I'm going on Safari with you next year. And I told my doctor that he better get me better because it was on my bucket list and I was going. I find that planning things that you can look forward to is really an important part of getting better.
I have a lot of terrific doctors. Doctors I've come to know very well and trust, who are easy to communicate with, I feel very fortunate about that. My back doctor is somebody I can email night or day. I've driven him crazy with questions, asking why this why that, why can't I do this. He's been unbelievably patient with me. It has helped this process enormously to know I have somebody there for all the time I can reach. I'd really had a bad experience with my previous doctors and I was guarded about trusting another one. I spent an hour and a half just talking to my new doctor about my situation and why my discs kept slipping and the fact that he spent an hour and a half with me just talking about it honestly, was fantastic. Just so encouraging that he was willing to take the time to explain what he thought was going on and what I could expect in the future.
Which nobody else had done with me. I have rheumatoid arthritis and I don't make hemoglobin the way I should, and so I have all these doctors who are connected to each other, who I can reach almost all the time and I feel very protected by them and safe. It's not easy to build that community of doctors, but it's so important when you have chronic health issues. You have people you know and who encourage you and who you trust.
My kids have gone through this with me now and they're my big support system. I try not to ask too much of my kids, they both have careers that are very demanding and you don't want to call them up and say hey can you bring me food. It turns out now you don't even need people to bring you food, there's something called Instacart that you can call up and they bring you whatever you need. You find different ways to navigate the whole thing. I think you've gotta anticipate there are times you're gonna be blue, and in pain and frustrated with your recovery.
You've just got to expect that during the course of this recovery you're going to feel better some days than others, some days you'll feel very frustrated about your recovery. One of the things I've struggled with because I've had so many surgeries, nine and 10 years, having people say oh you poor thing, oh you've been through so much. And I can't stand to hear that, I-it's not-it’s not how I want to see myself and it's not how I want people to see me. And, I'm not quite sure exactly what you do with how people see you, but it-you can manage to see yourself in a certain way.
And part of that is not feeling sorry for yourself or feeling like a victim or wondering why this has happened to you. There are so many other people who have had other things that are worse and that's how I try to see it. I believe that most people have a fighter instinct and a desire to live life to the fullest and I feel fortunate that somehow that is what I wanna do. I've never wanted to put aside things that I've wanted to do because of what's happened to me.
I've had to delay some of the things I'd like to do, but having them as goals has always been a motivation to get through whatever it is and keep going until you get to do what you want. I am going on this Safari next June no matter what. I've told my doctor, he's well aware of it. He said it may hurt, you may bounce around and you will bounce around in trucks and it will hurt, but you're screwed together in a way where it's safe to do it and so, that is what I'm doing. I think that's how you have to live your life. Um, there's always joy to be gotten out of life and I feel fortunate that I've got the means and the wherewithal to do some nice things. It's just a matter of recovering enough to do them. I look forward to that.