Becoming an Active Self-Manager
The advice that I was given by the medical professionals dealt mainly with lymphedema as a physical condition. I share some of this with you, carefully, because I am not a professional, nor am I qualified to assess your situation.
It seemed at the time that I had to gather my management information piece by piece. I wonder now if I simply had a slow absorption rate. I may have not been able to understand or utilize the advice because of the stress and grief I was experiencing. My emotional well-being needed attention as well.
I was fortunate that I had great flexibility in my life, I was retired and I had a partner that would share the household duties. I am grateful.
In the end, I realized that self-management skills are learnable and with my back against the wall, I had no doubt that this was the time to learn them. This list outlines self-management tasks that I felt applied to my situation.
1. To manage my condition.
2. To function in my chosen roles.
3. To manage my emotional well-being.
4. To find the resources and information that would enable me to be an active and effective self-manager.
As everyone, I had some choices in what type of self- manager I would be. I chose to be active and effective, to manage my lymphedema as I should and to get on with my life. I could as easily choose to make lymphedema the center of my existence. I could have demanded sympathy, I could have chosen to be dependent and expect others to accommodate me. I could have become the pathetic victim. I could have withdrawn from life.
I chose instead to pick up the tools that I was taught - the action plans, the problem solving techniques. I chose instead to use my writing skills, and my research to accept new ideas and to become the type of self-manager that I wanted to be.
Just a note about the research – I approached everything with some skepticism but I also tried to be open. I used this as my criteria, the advice should not harm. If it helped I would know it and I would adopt it.
The task of self-management, especially as it included addressing my disordered eating, seemed monumental. That proved to be exactly the ‘gift’ that I needed to move past the challenges to build a better future. When the tough started, I found the strength that I needed. Thank you, lymphedema.
“I assumed there would be an answer and I would find it. It surprised me how many times that answer was in my own thinking.”