The Dilemma of Choice in Chronic Disease

Over the summer, I had a massive liver tumor removed. My PT found it. I had a CT scan. I met with a liver surgeon. He said it had to come out a.s.a.p. The surgery was scheduled for the following week.

A student later asked me if I learned anything from the situation. Nope, I thought. But then I realized I did learn something (or at least something become very evident). I learned that one of the worst things about chronic conditions is the dilemma of choice.

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In the 12+ years since I was diagnosed with MS, I have had to choose whether or not to go on medications (and if so, which one or ones), whether to try to treat a symptom, determine if the side effects are worth the risk, try diets (or don’t and wonder what would have happened differently if I did), take supplements or don’t take them, figure out which brands were best, etc. I chose medical teams and when new drugs come to market, I considered whether I might try them.

On a day-to-day basis, a person with a chronic disease might decide whether her leg feels good enough to go for a walk, and if so, how far she should go before you risk it getting bad. Will she do rehab or does her body want to rest? Speaking of rest, how about a nap?

Quite frankly, having a neurological disease is exhausting if for no other reason than the dilemma of having so many choices to make all of the time. I’d rather have a liver lobectomy a dozen times over because that choice – that one was easy. There wasn’t another option.

And by the way, your suggestions and information are welcome because I am always trying to learn as much as I can about working with neurological conditions. But, yes, they do sometimes add to the dilemma.

In health,
Mariska

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