A doctor smiles at the camera while holding a clipboard. She appears to be in a waiting room, with patients behind her
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I don’t know about where you live, but here in New Jersey, we’re experiencing a decrease in Covid-19 spread. With everybody (over 16) willing to get vaccinated able to get shots, the numbers are going down a bit and it’s becoming time to think about catching back up with Al and my medical care.

I’m also using A Chronic Voice’s prompts in this post. This month’s words are: pushing, stretching, disciplining, preserving, thanking.

Pushing off appointments

I’m sure you did this too. When Covid-19 was especially bad and people were trying to minimize outings, I thought twice (or three times) about any non-urgent medical care.

My annual wellness visit occurred a few months late, as did my annual mammogram, and I pushed off my gynecological exam for a month or two as well.

My gynecologist’s office stops refilling birth control at the 12-month mark, and I had to get an emergency refill after I scheduled the appointment because I’d put it off so long.

I’ve been talking about adjusting my antidepressants since December, and haven’t started that process yet either.

I finally had the first appointment with the neurologist who could help me with it in March, but at that appointment, he had to tell me about Dr. Schneider’s death, so we agreed that messing with my meds then was likely a bad idea.

A large automated sign reads 'Expect Delays'.  It appears to be on a road in a city
Given all the impacts Covid-19 has had on medical care, it’s unsurprising that many folks have delayed their standard wellness checks.

In Al’s case, things are a little worse. The only doctor he’s seen this past year was the hematologist, I think. He selected his new insurance in November, and it started in January.

Most of his doctors were covered by it, but when we called his primary care physician we learned that he wasn’t accepting the insurance.

So Al needs a new Primary Care Physician. I haven’t summoned the energy yet to really look for one, so that’s on my mental to-do list.

With Covid fears, it’s been a low priority, but it’s probably about time to readjust that.

His hematologist and endocrinologist are both listed as covered, but we haven’t made the call yet to schedule with the endocrinologist—who I think he was supposed to see in January.

We definitely weren’t thinking much about him seeing doctors then; we were focused on the fears of him catching Covid from his coworkers and just trying to make sure he got through each day safely.

Now that he and I are both vaccinated (I got my second shot this past Sunday, and Al’s getting his second shot tomorrow), it’s time to put energy into the other aspects of both of our care and make sure that all those double-checks occur.

left side holds a picture of Alison gazing levelly at the camera.  To the right, white text reads "Medical care decisions feel overwhelming?" and in smaller brown text "Click here to learn about my medical care coaching".  The far right of the banner holds the Thriving While Disabled logo

Preserving our quality of care

Even with the pauses and delays in making appointments, Al and I have done our best to keep up with our needs.

I had to delay getting Botox for a bit due to Covid-19 precautions (nonessential invasive procedures weren’t permitted), and that combined with the somewhat ridiculous cost of Botox, even with insurance coverage, propelled me to investigate other options.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve now found something that seems to be working (one of the new injectable CGRP inhibitors), so I’m close to hitting that personal goal of having a specific medication to pursue for migraine treatment next year.

I’m also now giving Al B-12 injections most months, so he’s getting what he needs too.

Stepping up on making the appointments we need to double-check that things are as all right as they seem is the next step—so I’m planning to start making those appointments for Al soon, and am grateful that I’m caught up on mine.

It’s a vital part of self-care to manage all ot this, but it often feels hard and exhausting.

Disciplining myself

Through everything, I’ve done my best to protect my mental and physical health by maintaining discipline in my self-care routines.

By that, I mean that I meditate most mornings (some days it turns into a nap and that’s okay too) and get out for a walk as much as possible (I cover about three miles on a good day).

The past month the walks have been a little rough, with the fish die-off, but I’ve kept going out anyway because I need the exercise.

Last year, I didn’t give myself any real time “off” from this work.

Nigel(brown sparkle tabby) is laying down with his head and front paws resting on a planner
Even when you enjoy it, working on something constantly can be tiring.

By that, I mean that I wrote a new post every single week and wasn’t able to plan things out more than a week or so ahead.

That means that I’ve been constantly trying to get something new out every week, and to be honest, I’m feeling a bit exhausted by that.

I’ve decided to give myself July and August off, which means writing ahead to cover those two months (and having some guest posts, hopefully).

The mental and emotional fatigue from all the impacts of Covid-19 this past year plus has added up. Plus with the fish die-off and a family member being diagnosed with late-stage cancer, I’m feeling pretty beat.

But I want to keep going and provide the best material I can for you—and build up this business as well.

I’ve been a bit more apt than usual to play little games on my phone or sleep in or stay up late, and I’m doing my best to maintain some discipline.

I want to keep providing quality posts and talks and then truly enjoy my time off in July and August (and don’t worry, I’ll also have something special to offer while I’m away).

left side holds a picture of Alison gazing levelly at the camera.  To the right, white text reads "Medical care decisions feel overwhelming?" and in smaller brown text "Click here to learn about my medical care coaching".  The far right of the banner holds the Thriving While Disabled logo

Stretching my identity as a coach/educator

This past year, I’ve also been investing energy and money into improving my ability to run Thriving While Disabled as a business.

I’m working on the mindset shift from being a blogger who coaches and educates to being a coach/educator who blogs!

I’m staying focused on my goals, to write the right posts and to offer the right talks.

To that end, I’m proud to announce that my May talk, “Managing your doctors: Finding Dr. Right!” will be at 6 p.m. on May 18!

Doctor looking surprised and a little excited
Dr. Right is going to look different for everybody.

Basically, this talk will focus on the hunt for a quality doctor—we’ll discuss why it’s so important to find the right doctor, and discuss different angles to approach it.

We’ll also discuss how to do background checks on the doctor so that you can feel secure that they are indeed a good prospect.

In June, I’ll be doing a follow-up to it, “Managing your doctors: Deciding if you want a second date.”

The second talk will dig into what to anticipate for the appointment, what to look for during the appointment, and how to evaluate their follow-up afterwards.

My goal is to help you feel secure in your doctor search, and confident that you can find your best possible option—and know if, when, and how to say no to a second visit if they aren’t a good fit.

Thanking the universe for a quality safety net

I have a lot to be grateful for right now.

On the medical front, both Al and i have decent health insurance and are generally able to use it.

I’ve been able to find quality doctors for both of us—and the replacement hunting that we do need to do isn’t too bad.

Losing Dr. Schneider is a tragedy, but that’s because he was so excellent a doctor and I feel blessed to have had his support for the years that I did.

I currently have two quality neurologists helping me, so I don’t think I need to go out searching for replacements.

Al does need a new PCP, and needs to check in with his endocrinologist, but his hematologist is keeping good track of the bloodwork she’s concerned about, and so Al is getting the support he needs.

Al sits on the coach, controller in hand and headset on, his legs and lower chest covered by a red blanket.  His feet are resting on an ottoman.  Nigel and Rorschach are flanking his legs, comfortably curled up by him.
I’m so grateful that my little family has weathered Covid-19 so well.

In the meantime, both of our families survived Covid-19 (so far), and most of us are now vaccinated.

I’ve been able to continue seeing my therapist through everything, and Al and I have been providing one another with good moral support.

We now have friends we can see (as they also are vaccinated) and things are generally looking more hopeful.

Al not only got a job during the pandemic, he seems to be keeping up with it pretty well, and while it’s had its stresses, overall he’s adjusted well and is relatively happy.

We have more income than we’ve had the entire time we’ve been together, and things seem to be relatively stable—which is an absolute blessing during this stressful time when so many people have had their lives completely disrupted.

I’m also working on growing this business, and while it’s slow-going, I hope that all of you have been enjoying the supports I have to offer!

Altogether, I know that I have a lot to be grateful for, and I want to share the joy with you!

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  1. I’m definitely guilty of putting off doctor’s appointments because of Covid. My original excuse was because I didn’t want to catch it in a waiting room, but then it took me several months after vaccination to even make an appointment! Doctors just stress me out too much.

    1. I’m sorry you’ve been so traumatized by doctors! I still haven’t made those appointments, but I’m seeing both my neurologists this week, so that should count for something, right?

      Al and I just got vaccinated(Al got his second shot on Saturday) so now I feel like it’s time to get things going. Finding the right doctors definitely helps – I hope y9u can make my talk – it may be helpful!

  2. What a terrific update, Alison! I hear you on the burnout and needing to take time off from blogging, especially with the current output of posts you’re doing for your readers. I hope you enjoy your well deserved time off in July and August!

    I also love your mindset with this: “I’m working on the mindset shift from being a blogger who coaches and educates to being a coach/educator who blogs!”

    It sounds like you are well on your way on your new journey into coaching and being an educator. Well done! Take good care, both of you!

    1. Carrie, Thank you so much! I’m really looking forward to giving myself some time off, and to getting some time with my sister, mother, nieces, and nephews(two beach days a week is the plan!). Al isn’t sure how much he’s up for doing because his work is getting stressful, but I’m making plans to see friends and doing my best to make my time off really fun!

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