Follow-Up Appointments and Their Importance With COPD
About 3 weeks ago I went for a follow-up CT scan for my lungs. Yesterday after much anxiety and stress, I received the results. The anticipation was nerve-wracking, to say the least. I was grateful to have my family with me. It was Rebecca's birthday and we were all together when I read the news.
At first, I wasn't too sure what I was reading, but after reading the results a number of times, I realized that it all made sense. All the symptoms were there, bar the blood in my phlegm. The unexplained weight loss, the unnecessary coughing, the wheezing. Although it's not a full diagnosis, the doctors suspect I have something called aspergillosis.
What is aspergillosis?
It's plain and simple: mold on my lungs. The only way to find out for sure is with a blood test. I'm a little disappointed because I lived in a house in South Africa that was literally a death trap.
We would get mold on our en suite bathroom ceiling every winter and we were forced to clean it with bleach on a regular basis. I am however a little relieved that after months of worry, tests, and confusion, I may finally have a proper diagnosis. Now I will wait for an appointment to be sorted out for me so we can get to the bottom of my problem.
Follow-up appointments and tests
Getting the best care
Follow-up appointments are vital in ensuring that you get the best medical care for your symptoms. I know how stressful and anxious it can be. Managing any chronic illness is so important for your health. Coping with chronic diseases can be quite challenging if you don't take control of your illness.
Preparing for the next visit
I try to make notes of things that may have changed during the interim period between appointments. Always let your doctor know how you are feeling. It's important that he or she knows how your illness is affecting your mental wellbeing. When you have a chronic illness, it doesn't just affect your physical health, but your mental health too.
Do you get anxious while waiting for a follow-up healthcare visit?
Waiting for the next appointment
I know from personal experience how stressful it is while waiting for follow-up appointments. The periods in between can be difficult and an anxious time for most people.
We all have different ways of dealing with stress. I generally find that keeping myself busy definitely helps me cope better. I try to focus on all the positive reasons to look forward to my next appointment. At least something is being done about my problems. I also believe that follow-up appointments are there to give us an indication of how to overcome whatever issues we are faced with.
One day at a time
Be in the moment, don't stop living your life just because you haven't got all the answers yet. Be present for your family. They need you. Don't be afraid to live. The world doesn't stop turning because we feel like we're in limbo. Take one day at a time. There's no need to rush.
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How has your experience been navigating the healthcare system as someone with COPD?