Tips to Being Proactive with Your Health - Elegantly Dressed and Stylish
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Tips to Being Proactive with Your Health


Happy Friday Ladies!

I hope you have had a great week. In honor of May being Ehlers Danlos Syndome Awareness Month, I thought I would write a topic on Health. I had 3 appointments this week, physical therapy, the Dentist and the Ophthalmologist. Ah, the joys of getting older, right?  I know we always have had appointments lined up for these things, but they seem a bit more prevalent these days.  Going to various appointments this week made me think of how important it is to be proactive with your health. If you aren’t looking out for yourself, who will?

Prior to being diagnosed with EDS a bit after turning 40, I was joking with a guitar student of the same age, saying that I turn 40 soon, and I heard everything falls apart after that! I was making a joke, knowing that more things certainly can go wrong later in life. ( Maybe, maybe not?) It is a matter of keeping up with things when they do, listening to our bodies, and taking action. We just do the best we can, and sometimes things are out of our control. However, of those things you do have control over, it is your health that takes priority. I have always been a person that educates herself on matters, especially when dealing with health.

Disclaimer- I do need to say I am not a medical professional in any way.

How to be Proactive-

  1. When you feel something is wrong, don’t ignore it.  At the same time, and ( I used to be guilty of this too) don’t run straightaway to the computer to look up your symptoms on Web MD or any other medical site. You could think you have a multitude of diseases when looking on-line!  🙂
  2. Write down questions you have for your doctor. I make sure i have a list of questions or things I want to tell him. This makes you informed. Do speak up if you don’t understand something or need to discuss things more. We live in a fast paced world, where average appts are 15 minutes.. make sure you effectively communicate with your doctor what you need.
  3. Know your medications and what they do, side effects etc. You would be surprised at people I have talked to that knew they ( took a little green pill… etc) but didn’t know the name of the med, dosage, what it did.
  4. Research the doctor. You can get referrals from friends for doctors or research their experience/qualifications on-line. We are picky about our hair stylists, and should be about our doctors!
  5. Have support. If you can, bring your spouse or someone who can listen to the doctor in the appointment. ( if possible) I may take notes on my phone, but having my hubby there for clarification helps me in case I miss something he said.
  6. Make sure the doctor is suited to your needs. If you need bedside manner, and it is a doctor you will be seeing more on a regular basis, do not be afraid to look for a different doctor. My main GP has a great bedside manner, is easy to talk to , and discusses matters with me. One of my specialists is not the “warm and fuzzy” type, but is professional and effective. Since I only see her every few years, I didn’t feel a need to change.

i like to think being proactive also has to do with prevention as well as when something goes wrong. Take a look at your lifestyle and think if there are any changes to be made., Do i meditate or take time out ? ( stress-relief), Do I eat well? Find an exercise I enjoy?

As I type this, I had been unable to sleep for the last several days as my trigger points in my shoulders, upper back and arms are very sore and painful. I presently go for a treatment called Dry Needling, which is quite effective for me. however, I do think I need to make a few changes myself. I have had chronic upper body pain for years now, and when muscles are weak, they can develop trigger points easier. For me to “take action”, I have purchased some kettlebells, a medicine ball, and some additional therabands to work on strengthening more. I am also looking to arrange trigger point injections.

It is so important that health be a priority. I have always been proactive, and I feel that if I had not been 10 years ago, I would still be in the dark about what condition i have. There is much talk about self-care these days. Do take the time to do just that. Take care of yourself. It is the only YOU, you’ve got!

I would love to hear from you. Tell me, how are you proactive with your health? 

Thank you for your input and comments!

Have a great weekend!


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  • Michelle Churchman
    Posted at 13:31h, 19 January Reply

    You’ve touched on some points regarding healthcare that many overlook – like researching your doctor, and making certain that you are simpatico with your doctor. I find myself in a weird position in that regard right now. My primary care doctor moved to Seattle this past summer, so I sought out a new one. It’s always a bit of hassle, because we are in an HMO. Unfortunately, the new doctor couldn’t be more unfriendly and disinterested if she tried. However, a brief visit to the clinic for allergies in Sept brought me in contact with her APRN. He is really attentive and easy to deal with. It didn’t make changing doctors seem as imperative, although it was still my intent. But before taking the time to go through the process of changing doctors, I started seeing the out of network doctor in LA. The APRN has been very amenable to to ordering all the tests the LA doctor wants so that my insurance can cover it. I’m afraid if I search for another practice, I may end up with someone who refuses to do that. So for the moment, I’m staying put. Our healthcare system is crazy.

    I hope you get relief for your shoulder trigger points soon! I am all too familiar with those painful trigger points.


  • Ronnie
    Posted at 10:31h, 04 May Reply

    Thanks SO MUCH for sharing, Jess! I understand on a deep level what you’re relating to us. I was diagnosed in my mid-thirties with fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome and then degenerative disc disease, but then we looked back over my history and realized I’d probably had fibro/cfs since I was a teenager. Educating yourself is SO important! You can’t let yourself just be a victim of your illness. You have to take control. Your points about researching for yourself…knowing about your doctor…so true!
    And taking care of your health…people have no idea how important that is – how fragile that is. I do slow yoga and light weight training, and am very careful about what I eat – very low carb: no sugar or flour, get my carbs only from fruits and veggies and nuts. You get out what you put in.
    Great post! So important! You are in my thoughts and prayers!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 11:20h, 06 May Reply

      hi Ronnie! I know that must have been hard. i get fatigued rather easily as well with EDS. Sounds like you are quite proactive and do what you can to manage your illness. Thank you! xx

  • Jodie
    Posted at 09:10h, 04 May Reply

    If it’s one thing I learned, it’s that you really need to be your own advocate. I realize most doctors may know more clinical facts than us, however we know our bodies better. And it’s never bad to get a second (or third) opinion. Even doctors only know what they know!!
    Have a wonderful weekend, Jess!!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 12:22h, 04 May Reply

      Thank you Jodie for your comment. Yes, I do feel we know our bodies. So true about getting more than one opinion! Enjoy your weekend too Jodie! xx

  • Rebecca
    Posted at 08:45h, 04 May Reply

    I feel we always have to advocate for our health needs and to not ignore aches and pains as just a sign of aging. I sympathize with what you are experiencing in the shoulder/arm areas. Having bad arthritis also can keep you up at night because moving just stirs up the pain. I do work out regularly but was told to limit the amount of weights I lift. Good luck with strengthening your upper body.

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 10:46h, 04 May Reply

      Hi Rebecca! I think that is what is tough sometimes for people.. like you said, she assigning pain to “getting older’. i am sure arthritis must be difficult as I have joint pain in my hand at times and know just how that feels. I do value my sleep! Yes, I too, have to be careful with weights and am lifting light weights, quite different from what i did before EDS. I hope you have a great weekend!

  • thisblondesshoppingbag
    Posted at 06:57h, 04 May Reply

    Jess, you are 100% correct – prevention and maintenance are important! I am amazed at how many women stop going to the doctor for a yearly wellness exam after having kids! We have to take care of our bodies as they are the only ones we’ll get. I feel as good as I did when I turned 40 but my eyesight has certainly needed attention and my feet are a mess but overall I feel great! I am accepting of my older and aging body but I am also aware that we have to keep moving. My family has such a history of arthritis and I am trying my best to keep it at bay!
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 10:58h, 04 May Reply

      Hi Kellyann, i think it is so important . I can relate about the eyesight! i do think we need to prevent what we can. Have a great weekend too! xx

  • Codrut Turcanu
    Posted at 04:35h, 04 May Reply

    Having support is key, also having strong friends/family/spouse support after a consultation/surgery, etc… is essential… thanks for sharing!

    • Jess Jannenga
      Posted at 10:50h, 04 May Reply

      Thank you Codrut for your comment. It really is quite important! x

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