After Each Medical Setback, a Greater Comeback Begins

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by Brittany Foster |

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Whenever I go through an emotionally difficult or physically painful period in my life, I always take time for reflection.

After the crying is done, the tantrum is thrown, and I have cursed, yelled, and convinced myself I can’t keep doing it anymore, I pause and allow myself to breathe.

During that pause, I think with a clearer mind, talk to those who support me, and reach out for help when it is needed. I allow my intuition about the best next step to guide me, and then create a plan of action to make that step happen.

Although I have experienced “one step forward, two steps back” when it comes to my physical and mental health, I have learned that where there are setbacks, there are comebacks.

2021 has gotten off to a difficult start. Chronic illness does not take a break on holidays, although I would like it to. My nutritional status has declined, my mental health has felt scattered, and on the first day of the year, I wondered how I would keep pushing forward. I was overwhelmed by my physical pain, a new medical diagnosis, and an upcoming heart catheterization. I felt trapped in a body and mind that seemed out of my control.

This past week, I allowed myself to feel my heartache and pain, both physical and emotional. I reflected during my pause and reminded myself that I have experienced pain before, I have been in the dark before, and I have pulled myself through it. This year, I am going to remind myself that every single setback I have faced will eventually lead to a comeback that has the potential to be even greater than I had imagined.

Setbacks are not easy, and the comeback does not happen overnight. I feel frustrated, anxious, and even fall into depression when it feels like life keeps knocking me down. It helps to allow myself to fully feel the hurt of the setbacks I experience. I have learned that if I manage my chronic health conditions by convincing myself that I’m fine, I end up not managing anything at all. Putting my walls up and shutting myself off from my health just sets my body and mind up for failure.

When I allow myself to be honest with my emotions and how my body is handling what it’s going through, it opens doors to better management of my physical and mental health. Instead of feeling stuck in my setback, asking for help from medical professionals or those in my life that support me clears a path for change. It sets me up for new therapies, treatment plans, and procedures. An upcoming surgery and a new medical diagnosis may feel like devastating losses in the moment, but where there are answers, there is hope.

Although the path after the setback is not always what I want it to be, at least I can be confident that I am reaching for something better. I am enduring, and will continue to endure, everything that I go through and will choose to pick myself up after each fall.

The setbacks may be devastating and leave me feeling hopeless for a moment, but my comebacks are stronger. This year, I choose to keep making comebacks. I choose to pause when I need to. I choose to remind myself that I never stay down for long.


Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


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