hand waving white flag

Why waving the white flag and calling your doctor can be empowering

I waved the white flag today. Rather than try and take on my disease on my own from home, I succumbed to my symptoms and decided to call my GI doctor. As a mom of two kids under two, I don’t have the “luxury” to wait things out anymore.

Life is much different and so is my patient journey. My battle with Crohn’s impacts not just me, but my family. When I was single and in my twenties, I was often guilty of waiting to seek care until my symptoms spiraled out of control and it was an emergency.

Why do we wait until it's too late?

It got me thinking. Why do so many of us wait to alert our care team until it’s too late? Why do we hesitate rather than nipping flares in the bud? Is it fear of what could be happening? Is it denial?

Is it the dread of changing medications, starting new ones or being hospitalized? I think the hesitation and the dragging of the feet is a result of all the above.

When I call on my GI, I know my health is at a point where I can’t control it. It’s scary and emotional. You try and pinpoint what you did wrong to cause it.

You wonder if it’s a false alarm or the real deal. The inner conversation in your mind races. You lay awake at night wondering what the next hour will bring. You think about all the possible outcomes and situations that could occur.

As a mom of two under two, I’m hoping it’s just my daily consumption of coffee. I’m hopeful that by eliminating caffeine, my symptoms will lessen. But it’s more than that.

Along with my biologic, my GI has told me to start Entocort, a steroid that targets the GI tract, for one week. When I wrote into the patient portal explaining my symptoms, I was pleasantly surprised when she called me to discuss the game plan.

A game plan made me feel so much better

There’s something about compassionate care that makes me feel emotional. I almost felt like crying when we hung up. I felt understood. I felt like she truly listened and genuinely cared about my well being.

My baby girl is only weeks old and I’m breastfeeding. She took everything going on in my life into consideration and discussed three care options with me. As a mom of a baby herself, she related to me and made me feel like a person and not a number.

The conversation put me at ease. Her confidence made me feel confident. When we hung up the phone, I felt like I was back in control of my disease somewhat, even as my abdominal pain persisted. All because we had a game plan in place. A game plan I wouldn't have had if I would have just dealt with the symptoms on my own.

I’m so glad I waved that white flag. I’m so glad I didn’t just rely on myself. And I can guarantee my family is grateful, too. Because at the end of the day, I'll do whatever it takes to stay out of the hospital and at home.

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