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Focusing on the Small Changes During Wait Periods in My Medical Journey

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If You Look at the Big Picture

Change happens no matter how you happen to be looking for it. Little miracles are working all along to help you along the way. But when you look at the big picture, you may miss them, thinking that nothing has moved. Progress has not been made.

I have been going through a particularly rough patch lately. I have been trying to get the world to open up and give me a tiny peek…an opening to sneak through. I have hit road blocks and brick walls and that makes survival a tenuous game. Sometimes, although I know better, my hopes get hooked onto an idea. That can be dangerous because then I have no option for when it falls through.

I Was Struggling to See Change

Have you ever found yourself so focused on your way of seeing a problem that you forget to see what is right in front of you? I recently realized that it was all about me. Maybe you’ve been in a similar circumstance. Maybe you know just exactly what I mean. So let me tell you, in no uncertain terms, there is always another perspective. There is always another way to look for change. There is always a different angle you can take and things just may look very different when you do.

The Background

My spine started leaking again in May which meant I would have to undergo another medical procedure called a blood patch. I knew right away what was going on because my symptoms felt immediately different (for those experiencing a CSF leak please see symptoms here). I also knew the Canadian system does not move quickly. Long story short, I am still waiting (and it’s the end of October) and it is beyond frustrating at times.  Things don’t move quickly. Doctors don’t know much about the procedures of how to deal with it and the result is delay after delay. Appointments get few and far between. Referral upon referral gets made because nobody seems to want to take charge and hold the ball. The game of medical hot potato ended up bouncing me around from doctor to doctor with no “progress” at all.

The Emotional Toll of Inaction

I started crying, a lot. I forgot the jam at the grocery store. Tears. I didn’t make the phone call before 4 p.m. I welled up and told myself horrible things in my head. On the brightest sunny day after 10 days of rain, I balled myself up in my blankets and didn’t move. Crying. I was in a perpetual downward spiral and all I could tell myself was “there is no way out.”

A Desperate Act

I called my doctor and asked for a phone appointment (yes, she does this because she is amazing). She called and it finally all came rolling out in one big blubbering sob. The desperation I felt, the inaction I was being subjected to, the lack of compassion on the part of the medical community, the passing the buck, the fear of my not being able to keep it together anymore. I spelled it all out for her. And she took it on!

Angel #1

She had me booked into an appointment ASAP. We met and went over all the details again. She offered me two alternatives and we decided together our approach. She promised a follow-up within the week. She delivered. As soon as she reached out to the medical professionals, there was action. She told me she gave them a kind of “no options but to respond” kind of ultimatum and she made it happen. Suddenly they were all getting back to her in record time. She was ticking off box after box from our plan.

Angel #2

Once I had the ball in play, I was still feeling desperate but I had a glimmer of hope. A tiny spark. I gathered my strength again and contacted a different medical entity and with all my faith in the fact that humans just want to help humans, I persevered. I spoke calmly. Each time this individual countered my request, I slowly and politely explained my side of the story. When she told me the system would not allow it, I gathered my courage and asked if another way was possible. Once she had no answers for me, I could feel her relax. She opened her mind and  I could feel her voice soften. I could feel her heart connect to mine and really hear me. She started to wonder herself if my proposal was not actually possible. She changed her mind.

The Upside

Now, as I sit here today, I still have not been treated. I am still waiting for a procedure to be repeated. But everything has changed. Doctors have given me a way forward. Medical entities are broadening their rules. Things are moving.

My Lessons for Change

When we look for change by seeing the whole process immovable and gigantic ahead of us, things become very dark, very quickly. When we look at tiny moments of grace, we can see microscopic changes that move mountains. I am hopeful. I am optimistic. And I have changed.

I hope this offers you hope and light.


Follow this journey on My Something Wonderful.

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Originally published: December 1, 2017
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