Expressing Your Feelings
Expressing your feelings can be one of the most difficult things a patient can do when fighting a chronic illness such as hepatitis C. First, your emotions will be all over many days - happy to sad, frustrated to angry, agitated to giggling and being goofy. Depending on how the patient may be feeling, it might more times than not determine their means to communicate and participate in daily relationships.
Tips for talking to the doctor
If you have a friend, partner, or family member who can go with you to a doctor visit, this will cut down on the time trying to convey how you feel. Under stress, such as in front of a doctor if you are like myself, I got flustered and basically unable to recall things that were important to me to discuss during my visit.
Prior to your appointment, keep a log of some sort where you put questions, concerns, feeling, and symptoms you are having, including those of extreme emotion. Bring this to your appointment and share with the nurse and doctor that you have a few things you need to talk about, giving them the heads up to remind you once the exam is over or even prior to beginning the liver exam. By doing this, you are eliminating the frustration of getting into the car and getting upset for not getting questions answered or assurance to what you are feeling is appropriate or not.
My experiences with difficult emotions
Ask the person with you to jot down things the doctor shares during the visit. Having been here myself, I will tell you I fixated on one topic and usually the first one the doctor brought up, forgetting anything else - not because it was so interesting, but because my attention span was limited with the brain fog, etc. Later I would get so upset and felt unheard.
It helped to have my daughter there to advocate and be my so called “brain” for that period of time. Sticky notes have become my best friend. Still to this day I have bad and good days and leaving these notes around helps me cope. When dealing with brain fog and fatigue, notes are your best communicator to those around you. I share what I need, what I would like to have to eat for dinner, or simply to share a thank you for being there for me and helping me during my trials.
It's okay to ask for help
It is ok to feel all I mentioned above. Keep in mind if the extreme of anger or depression becomes hindering to your life, you must seek help from your doctor. Do not think you must suffer, or that you are weak, for needing help during these times.
Does reading hep C patient stories aid you in your journey?