Does All The Trial And Error We Go Through Impact The Ways We Communicate With Our Loved Ones About Their Own Health?

Last updated: November 2018

Most people who have suffered from a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for a significant amount of time have seen countless doctors of a wide range of specialties. A lot of us have extraintestinal manifestations of Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis. Since often times it becomes a puzzle that no one can seem to solve, a number of specialists are usually seen before a diagnosis can be made and treatment can begin.

The emotional toll

In addition to trying to navigate all of the physical challenges that go alongside a chronic illness like IBD, there is a huge emotional component as well. I know I, along with many other contributors, have gone into detail about the ways in which our mental health may be impacted because of our diagnosis so I won’t bore you with that in this article. Feel free to read through our website, though!

I started thinking about how many medications I have tried over the years for a wide variety of issues. Obviously, the medications that stand out in my mind are usually the ones that have failed me miserably OR have greatly improved my quality of life. The ones that neither helped nor hurt are things I certainly remember, but rarely think about or have an opinion on.

Medication fears

Up until about five years ago when I met my significant other, I felt very strongly that no one I love should ever try some of the medications that caused me a lot of problems. If I am being honest, I will say that deep down when I would hear someone in my life was on a medication that wreaked havoc on my own body, I would think they were naive or ignorant for putting that chemical in his/her system.

My partner and I have very different views on certain classes of medications and types of treatment. About a month ago, I learned that his doctor recommended a treatment plan that I used to laugh at when I would hear someone bring up. There were a lot of commercials about this particular medication which of course meant I would hear the laundry list of side effects and think to myself “who on earth would ever try this?” When one doctor mentioned it to me years ago, my response was that he couldn’t pay me to ingest it.

Strong opinions

Even though I never tried the medication I am referring to, I still had such strong opinions against it. Some of these feelings were based on my personal experiences with treatments that I felt were similar while the other negative thoughts I had about this med was because I remember being bombarded with commercials for it. The commercials were so upsetting to me because of all the side effects that I would always mute it. Or if I was watching with someone else, I would laugh, roll my eyes or make an exaggerated comment about the medication and the “idiots” who asked their doctor about it.

Yesterday, I heard that my partner’s doctor was switching up some of his medications again. The medication he is being put on is something that I have personally tried and had an awful, awful reaction to. This led me to realize that being a chronic illness patient gives you way too much experience in the medical world which can often cloud your ability to see that all medications react differently based on the individual.

But he never asked my opinion

While my significant other and I don’t see eye to eye on certain things related to various health conditions and treatment options, he has always respected my decisions. When we would have a discussion, he would always share his opinion but I never felt judged for doing what I felt was best for me. I did always know he was speaking from a place of love and concern which makes a huge difference in my mind.

Most of the time, my partner and I discuss everything before either of us is going to try something new for our health. However, yesterday, while we did talk about the new treatment plan, why his doctor felt it best to switch things up, and why specifically his physician was recommending the {insert name of the medication,} he never asked for my opinion. He never asked if I tried this med before. I was never asked if I thought that was a good thing to try. He just never wanted my thoughts which told me that he already made up his mind. I then realized that a month ago, he also never asked for my opinion. I was supportive but it took a lot of self-control to not blurt out some of my own concerns.

We all know our bodies best

This led me to think about how just like I feel that I know my body best, so does he. It reminded me that our experiences have been night and day with certain things and I would be doing him a disservice by scaring him right before he was supposed to try something new that would hopefully improve his quality of life.

I wanted to bring this up in case anyone could relate to the roundabout point I am trying to make :) I know the majority of us go through so many things as a chronic illness patient. Most of us have done so much trial and error that it would be normal to want to spare a loved one from going through some of the negative things we experienced while trying a new treatment. However, just like it would be ridiculous for me to tell someone else with IBD what to eat and what to avoid based on my own trial and error with foods, it is also not beneficial for me to use my own experiences with medications to dissuade someone else from figuring out what works best for them.

Can you relate at all? Have you found your personal experiences with various medications, treatments, types of doctors, etc impact the way you communicate with loved ones about their own health?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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