Problems… Decisions… Solutions (hopefully)! What’s your approach?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2014-09-21 14:34:58 -0500
Started 2014-09-10 14:57:19 -0500

Just when you thought you could finally settle into your routine and take it easy… a problem comes up.

Maybe you’ve hit a snag with your insurance provider. Your doctor is leaving the practice and you have to find a new one. A side effect of a new treatment. Another diagnosis. Or one of the other challenges that can pop along the way when your living with a chronic condition.

Problems leave us with a decision to be made. Possible solutions to consider. And, most likely, lots of feelings.

Let’s face it: Making decisions about your health can be scary. Why? Well, for one reason, problems remind us that life can feel pretty uncertain at times. Who wants to be reminded of that? Also, solving a problem may involve a lot of time and energy when you may not be feeling up to the challenge. And – worse yet – solving your problem may mean making some kind of a change. And humans aren’t all that good with making changes.

Awhile back, I posted an article on how to problem solving. Here is a link:

How do you approach the problems that come up along the way? How do you come to a decision about which way to go to solve your problems? Need some ideas?

33 replies

Chopstix 2014-09-21 14:34:58 -0500 Report

Hello Dr Gary,

The biggest problem I've had happened the first week after I started taking meds. The doctor had me on Lisinopril, Glucophage, Lipitor and DiaBeta. About three days after starting meds I was out walking and my feet begin to hurt to the point it was almost difficult to walk. I was 20 minutes from the house at that point. I knew it was one of the meds since they were the newest things introduced to body. I didn't have a cell phone to call my wife so I hobbled back to the house. I didn't want to call the doc because I just knew he would put me on another pill decided to the process of elimination. First thing was to let the meds get out of my system and start back to taking them one by one. Every three days I started back to taking one until there was one left without my feet hurting. It was the DiaBeta! That was April 1995 and to this day I refuse to take it again. As long I keep doing what I'm doing the only thing I have to take now is a blood thinner and aspirin.

lorider70 2014-09-15 10:28:18 -0500 Report

Problems? Surely not! The almost daily struggles with eating, bathroom problems, depression, varied reactions to meds(that haven't been changed) Doctors constantly wanting to "test" for this or that; getting into off Summer weather and facing 10 months of almost constantly being cold, having more and more trouble walking(neutopathy and arthritis)…problems? I don't have any…lol

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-15 11:10:56 -0500 Report

Hey lorider,

Nice to see you again! I appreciate your honesty here. I know you have a lot going on in your life, a lot of challenges. And winter coming, with its own unique set of challenges. I hope you are getting lots of support. Stay in touch with us!

And take good care of yourself.


lorider70 2014-09-15 15:53:59 -0500 Report

Earlier post wasn't really anything "new". Just venting a little. Seems like doing that helps and no one in the family really "gets it" if you know what I mean. Usually understanding until it puts a crimp in whatever they want to do; then it becomes my fault. No one really gripes about it, but it's apparent they don't much like adapting to my limitations as much as they would have people believe. I'll handle it…just needed to relate it to someone that has similar problems. Thanks

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-09-12 18:23:04 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary,

I know from experience that the best way to deal with problems is to face them and solve them. Making decisions do not have to be scary unless you choose to make them scary.

Actually facing reality is the easiest route. You know you have the problem. Putting off doing anything about it is not going to make it go away and could make it worse. The final decision comes down to the ] person with the problem. Others will give you all kinds of advise but it is up to each individual to make his or her own decision.

Doctors come and go and as patients we can't do a thing about it. Depending on your insurance and where you live you might be able to find another doctor. If you have friends you can ask what doctor they see. If there is more than one doctor in the practice, find out if they are taking new patients.

Until you take the medication, a person won't know if they will experience side effects. This is why it is very important to talk to the doctor and pharmacist about new medications and how it will effect medications you are currently taking.

No one can predict what is going to happen health wise. However arming you self with information and question the medical staff.

At the end of the day, rationalize thinking is what is going to solve the problem.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-12 21:24:22 -0500 Report

Hey Joyce,

Nice to see you. And thanks for posting here!

I agree with you on the importance of facing reality. It's not going away, as much as we might want to wish it away or ignore it. The sooner we jump in and deal with life on life's terms, the sooner we are going to get to a decision. And yes, ultimately the decision is on us. We can get lots of input and support but we have to come to our own decision. As you said, getting educated, talking to professionals, can help.

There's a lot to be said for rational thinking!


ReaderReader12 2014-09-12 16:10:22 -0500 Report

Thank you this was very good for me. I am much better at solving problems and even facing them and dealing with them. Just in over the last 2 months my life has gotten so much better. I am eating better and with that so much has fallen into place. It is amazing. I like the new way much better. I notice I am saying "I feel" when talking about something much more than I ever did before. It is hard to problem solve if I didn't want to say it out loud much less to another person.


Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-12 21:16:37 -0500 Report

HI Pam,

You're welcome! Wow, this is very good news. It's amazing how making good can have such a positive impact on the rest of your life. And keep using those feeling words, get your feelings out and encourage others to do the same.

Thanks for checking in.


ladybugsluck9 2014-09-10 20:27:22 -0500 Report

If you are smart, you just roll with the punches… Having said that, we all know it isn't quite that easy. Last Fall I was told I had uterine cancer. My first thought was. Geesh brain cancer wasn't enough. let's try another one! But then I remembered a quote that got me through some tough times. God only gives you enough. Enough for you to handle. And you are never alone! I had to decide whether to go through radiation after surgery or not. Always rely on a strong support system too, to bounce thoughts off of. It's good to talk decisions over with someone you trust.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-11 21:24:50 -0500 Report

Hi ladybugsluck,

Nice to see you! You are an inspiration! Making cancer treatment decisions is a difficult, wrenching experience. I can only begin to imagine what this must have been like for you. Having a strong support system can help a lot, just people who can listen and help you sort through things.

Thanks for sharing this, my friend!


ladybugsluck9 2014-09-11 22:06:48 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary, Making the cancer treatment decisions were difficult, but when it comes down to. " Do you want to fight to live or just give up, the decision was pretty easy even if the treatment ended up being pure hell! I love your feedback & not just to me, you just always give great feedback to everyone! Thank you for that!

Fairlawngirl 2014-09-10 21:04:35 -0500 Report

I am very sorry that you are needing to deal with the issues. Hopefully, one day at a time. Appreciating positives in life. Meditation. My thoughts are with you

ladybugsluck9 2014-09-10 21:23:32 -0500 Report

thank you for your thoughts! I'm a very positive person, otherwise I would not be a 21 year brain cancer survivor, especially since they gave me 5 yrs, sent me home to make my arrangements! I know I am blessed! :)

robertoj 2014-09-10 19:58:48 -0500 Report

I have had problems with insurance many times. it's hard not to get angry but it's pointless to let it linger. When I first started working insurance didn't rate a second thought. My employers provided excellent coverage with no copays for visits or meds. Good doctors weren't hard to find either. Today it's a different story. History is great but I live in today. No matter what I just regroup and carry on.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-11 21:20:05 -0500 Report

Hi Roberto,

Good point. The insurance companies require patience and tenacity. That's what will lead to success. And yes, I agree. It's become a whole lot more challenging -- higher copays, getting to the best doctor, getting things covered. That's the world we live in.

Thanks for jumping in.


robertoj 2014-09-11 21:30:07 -0500 Report

No sense i either living in the past or ignoring it. We should do what we need to do and advocate for future generations. The ACA is a good start the real heavy lifting is yet to begin.

brazosbelle 2014-09-10 19:55:23 -0500 Report

I pray a lot and think things through as I exercise. Keeps my focus and makes the exercise time go by faster~

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-11 21:18:30 -0500 Report

That is a great idea, brazosbelle. A good combination -- exercising two sets of muscles! Physical and spiritual! A great use of that boring exercise time.

rolly123 2014-09-10 19:02:31 -0500 Report

Solving problem I usually let my family do! But I ask freinds family what they think then make decision! I don't do good with changes but I can adopt to when I move! To change with my disease I have problem adjusting but when Docter says I can't or hard I like prove them wrong so do everything possible only short cuts ! Then if can't I pray about it and wait till get answer or forget avoid person I need talk to! I want short cuts to everything!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-11 21:17:16 -0500 Report

Rolly! Hi! It's a good idea to get input from other people. I hope you aren't taking short cuts that get in the way of your health. Take it one step at a time, do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Nice to see you!

rolly123 2014-09-12 19:17:16 -0500 Report

I took short cut in everything! I'm taking the right way when comes my health! It's hard I want get things fast! I'm getting older and know that going get harder but does get wiser!

Type1Lou 2014-09-10 16:37:51 -0500 Report

Most of my problems lately seem to be dealing with my insurance provider. I make certain to follow-up on each and every claim, documenting any calls and problems as I go along (date, time, who I spoke with and about what) in case I need to escalate an issue. I've already made 5 calls about an RX refill for diabetic test strips that seems to be stalled and I will be following up with the insurer again tomorrow morning until it is resolved. Tenacity is essential, I'm finding.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-11 21:15:47 -0500 Report

Hey Lou,

Good to see you! Wow, sorry to hear you are having so many insurance company hassles. That is one of the worst things to go through when you are living with diabetes. That's a smart approach you have. It takes a little extra time, but it can same you a lot of time and frustration later on. I have more than once felt like kicking myself for not taking the time to document and keep good records.

Yes, tenacity wins the day. I hope you are able to get this resolved soon!


CaliKo 2014-09-10 16:11:17 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary,
How are you doing?
Before my T2 diagnosis, my favorite method of thinking over a problem was to curl up with a big bowl of ice cream and think, think, think.
Well, that's out now, my occasional 1/2 cup of ice cream is spent focusing on the ice cream!
Now, I use my walks to think over a problem and come up with the steps I need to take to work on a solution. I try to imagine the outcome for any of my actions. If it's a really big or complicated problem, I may discuss with my husband or a friend, whichever seems more appropriate.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-11 21:13:39 -0500 Report

Hey CaliKo!

I am fine and hope you are too. I always think of you as one of my first DC friends. I know what you mean about Ben & Jerry therapy. Ice cream can be comforting but the results aren't so positive. Definitely a temporary fix.

Taking a walk is a great idea. A good way to contemplate, try on a few solutions, and figure out which one fits the best. Sitting down and bouncing ideas off someone you trust also helps.

Thanks for chiming in. And great to see you!


PetiePal 2014-09-10 15:28:41 -0500 Report

Prepare ahead of time.

When I was diagnosed some 4-5 years ago I decided to learn as much as I could about my disease, get a super care-team put together and adjust my lifestyle to minimize any side effects or long term health detriments as much as I could.

Since being diagnosed I've been through 4 jobs. No insurance is a scary thing, and paying for COBRA is scarier! (Obamacare is probably the most terrifying thing of all lol) I've worked with my care providers to ensure that I always have at least a 30-60 backup of the three medications I take, and that has been this far invaluable. Being without medications isn't an option when you're a diabetic.

My strategy is to be as well informed as possible and to have a team of well-educated doctors/advisers that can coach me on the best option personally for me.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-11 21:09:27 -0500 Report

Hey Petie Pal,

Nice to see you!

There is a whole lot to be said for being proactive. That's a very good idea. It sounds like you are taking responsibility for your healthcare, getting educated and really advocating for yourself. Having a good team in place can take some work, but it's worth it. Congratulations!


Pegsy 2014-09-12 17:50:50 -0500 Report

Like PetiePal, I try to get as much info as possible in order to make the best decision. But sometimes this backfires on me. I tend to hit the internet for info and there is a lot of misinformation there as well as good information and sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. I have been duped more than once by someone who insists that their way is the only/best way and has something to sell. Trying different things have both helped and harmed me. Time wasted, money wasted and discouragement is the price I have paid for that. Now, I take what I read on the web with a grain of salt. I do the best I can with what I know and have become very cautious about new information, diet plans, medications, etc.

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