Monday, February 13, 2017

Chapter 11 - Becoming an Active Self-Manager



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  I could have withdrawn from life.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.”


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