Baby Steps Toward Self Empowerment

Pact blog writer Jim Sliney shares his advice and knowledge on how to plan for the unplannable.


Every person with gastroparesis knows that at any moment things can get bad. When things get bad, they get expensive. That lingering fear of “when is the other shoe going to drop” is probably one of the greatest sources of stress for any chronically ill household.

In a recent article by friend of G-PACT, Carolanne Monteleone, she laid out that the monthly cost to keep her alive runs about $1,885 a month. There’s no movie budget in there, or concert tickets, that money is for glamorous items like rent, liquid-nutrition, copays and out of pocket health costs. With such high costs of surviving there is not a lot of room for things to go wrong. That’s the sort of thing that keeps a person up at night, which only makes everything worse.

Here are some tips borrowed from reliable sources on how to plan for the unplannable.

KNOW WHAT GP HAS IN STORE FOR YOU

Taking the time to research what the natural progression of gastroparesis is can help prevent surprises. It might not prevent you from needing something like parenteral nutrition someday, but knowing that it is a possibility means you and your allies can mobilize early to find deals, find options and apply for aid or assistance (a long process). Nothing is more expensive than what appears by surprise.

HAVE A FINANCIAL PLAN

It is possible that your bank offers financial planning either for free or at a modest fee to customers. There is a big difference in the kinds of risks you take with your money or investments when you can look ahead at potentially large expenses. Advanced planning might leave you with more savings should you need it in the future. Save when you can.

ASK YOUR COACH

Navigating insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, prior authorizations, specialists and so much more, is hard work. Having GP is almost like having a full time job. But did you know you could invest some of that busy time with a Wellness Coach? Wellness coaches can help you feel more in control of your present and future health. They can help you plan for the future and find healthy ways to persevere.

Those suggestions are all very practical, but what about the deep down fortitude that you need to weather the storms life with throw at you?

PRACTICE WINNING

It is so easy to get overwhelmed by the challenge in our lap right now. Keeping your dreams and hopes alive sounds almost ridiculous when you’re throwing up. But how, when life seems to keep kicking you, can you find the grit to keep fighting? You take baby steps.

You don’t have to save the universe all at once, you just have to stand up. Are you standing? Okay great! Now, you just have to walk to the bathroom. There? Awesome! Now, brush your teeth. You didn’t just do one thing; you did three things. You’re a rock star! You just set them up and knock them down. Might seem silly, but on bad flare up days, it’s as impressive as parting the Red Sea.

So try breaking your big tasks down into smaller ones. Still having trouble? Break it down even smaller. Buddhist meditation starts every task with successfully inhaling and exhaling your breath. The whole universe grows from there.

Once you start realizing that you are meeting your goals dozens, hundreds of times a day, you build a confidence, that confidence leads to determination, that determination leads to drive. Use that drive to meet with a wellness coach, or the financial planner at your bank and don’t forget to live your life along the way. Plans don’t always work, but it sure is good to have them.

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