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Moving to a New Area When You Have a Chronic Illness

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My life just exploded. Everything in it has just changed, and because of this, there are huge repercussions for my health. Healthcare is different everywhere you go — some better, some worse. I would say I’m lucky to live where I do because I have access to a great group of facilities and doctors. But that’s about to change… I’m moving.

I consider myself a heavy user of my local healthcare system. So when I unexpectedly had to move to an entirely different province in a short amount of time, I knew this was going to be complicated, frustrating and stressful. I don’t even know where to begin to list the things I need to do before I leave. So many cogs need to fit into place for this to go as smoothly as possible. But we all know there is nothing smooth about dealing with an illness.

The last time I made a big move I was healthy. I packed up my little life in the back of my Pontiac Wave and hit the highway with a close friend. My specialist at home referred me to someone in Winnipeg and I had an appointment set up before I even left. This time is far from that experience.

I’m actually terrified to leave the safety of the healthcare system I’ve grown to know. I’ve figured out all the ins and outs. I know how to get the things I need. The people I need to talk to to get things moving. The province I’m going to is behind. They don’t have the same systems or advancements. They lack staff and services. Lots of people can’t even get a family physician, me included. I’m downgrading my healthcare, and this scares me. So far I have no family doctor, no gastroenterologist, no way of getting my medical supplies east. I do have a specialized team that will follow my nutrition, but only if I have a GI and a family doctor; catch 22 since I have neither at the moment.

I would love to hear from others who are ill and have needed to move for various reasons and what they did to overcome the stressfulness and uncertainty. Did it take a long time to get set up with new doctors? Was the place you moved to better than your last? I think it’s really going to take me time to build confidence in my new team of doctors (once I get them).

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Thinkstock image by SolisImages

Originally published: April 1, 2017
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