Being your own GP! (When medicines aren’t being effective or condition is untreatable…)

My condition has not improved; at times it feels as if it is steadily getting worse and so as my condition has been significantly bad recently, it has meant that I have spent a lot of time in bed and watching television.  I have particularly been enjoying spending time watching medical dramas – Saving Hope, Grey’s Anatomy, Emily Owens and M.D and notably Monday Mornings.

Although, I love these types of show, as a spoonie however, I do find them to be quite unrealistic.  In one episode of ‘Saving Hope’ for example, one doctor immediately diagnosed a brain tumour  (even before ordering an MRI!) in her patient after observing a symptom, although most common in this particular type of brain tumour but can also be indicative of other neurological conditions.  Although many spoonies, go through endless hospital appointments and tests before receiving a definitive diagnosis, patients depicted on such medical dramas such as Grey’s Anatomy are quickly diagnosed and  treated – if only the reality was that simple!!





But what if the condition is untreatable?  My condition is one such illness that is sadly untreatable.  Sure, I am prescribed several medications designed to control the symptoms that I experience; such as Gabapentin for the pain in my legs.  Other symptoms however, there are no such medications to even control them, for example, the trembling in my legs.  And although there are a lot of different medications to help control dizziness, unfortunately I have not found a successful tablet to control the dizziness or vertigo that I experience, especially since that one of the commonest side effects of many such medications is dizziness!

So, how should we cope with these untreatable conditions?  Surrender and give up? No.  We find ways that we can take control over our illness and its symptoms.  My good friend Marissa over at who writes about creating our own daily prescriptions as a way of taking back control over our conditions and more importantly to combat the depression that is very often a result of living with a chronic illness.

It’s a simple yet effective tool to increasing the quality of life that often diminishes when chronic illness takes hold on your life…and best of all there are no unwanted or horrible side effects!   It may also be a fun and unique way to not only make you take back control over life but also as a way of distracting yourself from the pain or other symptoms that medications does not seem to help.


Be your own GP! Prescribe some little treatments for yourself to raise spirits and distract you from symptoms
Be your own GP! Prescribe some little treatments for yourself to raise spirits and distract you from symptoms



So, what are some of the things that we can ‘prescribe’ ourselves to bring us comfort during relapses, or when we need to spend a lot of time in bed.  Here are some examples of the little things that I ‘prescribe’ myself when my condition becomes too unbearable to cope with:

  • Phone a friend – a good friend, someone who understands what I am going through and will offer sympathy and good advice.  Also important to choose somebody who is going to make you smile and laugh so you can take your mind off your problems if only for a little while
  • Watch a heart-warming or funny film – my top picks are ‘The Proposal’ starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds; ‘The Blind Side’ another Sandra Bullock film and ‘Little Women’ starring Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon
  • I always make sure to have Netflix also on standby as well as my iPad as thanks to new technologies I can stream films either from Netflix or even from my computer so means that I can still watch the films and TV programmes I love without having to leave my bed
  • Read an uplifting book; something light.  I would recommend ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count your Blessings’ which contains over 100 stories of gratitude, fortitude and silver linings.  A perfect book to read when suffering a relapse as it makes you reevaluate your own life and appreciate the small things in life
  • A cuddle with a pet – my dog never fails at making me feel better
  • Practice meditation or other relaxation techniques – they really help you feel better and calmer
  • Listen to uplifting music
  • Keep a journal – a really cathartic way to release pent-up emotions
  • If you can sit outside and admire your garden or other surroundings
  • Pain your nails or give yourself a face pack – pamper yourself!

So, they don’t have to be big gestures or even something which is going to cost a lot of money.  Give it a go!

Any other things that you would like to prescribe yourself more time for?  What would you choose?  As ever would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.  Comment below!

4 thoughts on “Being your own GP! (When medicines aren’t being effective or condition is untreatable…)

  1. Certainly Netflix. Them days I am too sick to be out of bed and all I can do is Ly there so I don’t result in being sick. I choose this time to watch films I would never normally watch, something that sucks you in. I have even tried taking up learning more about the immune system. Its sad but I have felt enjoyment watching lectures to medical students and stimulating my mind learning something. I may not be able to remember things by word or names, but I still feel as though I am learning something new, and even better as its something close to my heart now that I’m poorly. Painting my nails on the days I have the energy can really put a smile on my face. My hair may be messy, no make up for a long time, just in Jim jams or leggings most of my days, nice nails can still make me feel pretty or glamorous haha. As long as I look a well kept tidy mess I don’t feel as bad looking like a mess. I can still feel fresh. And at time I really have the energy and wellness, I blog when I can. And get engrossed into books, I feel like im escaping my world that way. If I’m having a hard time with my health perhaps, reading into a book can just take you away from all. I do though, sometimes, get annoyed when I can’t read for long as sickness rakes over, but I enjoy the little moments I can grasp.

    Your take on them medical programs, I too feel the same, its all so easy on there that it can be rather frustrating. I was so naïve to this world until I was thrown in it, and now I really see it for what it is.

  2. Absolutely Rhiann! I have a rare form of thyroid cancer, and so few medical people know anything about treatment (no chemo, no radiation, it metastasizes very early, but prognosis is usually years). A patient must “drive your own bus”! Listen and consider, but you must make the final decision, after learning all you can. Doctors usually will treat you based on their own training. So an internist will try to treat with medication, a radiologist will use radiation, a surgeon will want to cut. Like my daddy used to say, “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” So who incorporates the diet and exercise and all the possible alternative treatments. It’s up to you.

    Cancer changes you. And it changes those around you. “The Dogs of Cancer” journals a thyroid cancer patient’s journey through many of these changes. It has been on the Amazon Top 25 of books about cancer. Chapters include:

    1. General, holistic approaches to understanding cancer, including the role of nutrition and environment and the recently established causal role that stress plays in developing cancers.

    2. Another chapter is on “Tumor Humor”, that out-of-the-box brand of humor that only people facing their own mortality can enjoy.

    3. A fellow writer contributed an evocative chapter about caregivers that elegantly brings to light the psychological and emotional pressures on a cancer person’s primary support.

    4. The favorite chapter of several reviewers is about the things people say (including medical people!), usually with the best of intentions, to someone with cancer.

    The Dogs of Cancer is an open and uplifting exploration of cancer and its effects on not only the cancer patient but also on the lives of those around him. The book explores dealing with cancer, and thyroid cancer in particular, and it delves into the rewards of personal understanding and spiritual growth. The reader may discover glimpses of an inner god-consciousness, a spirit in each of us that often remains covered and controlled, but has the ability to leap and connect with universal energy. This beautifully written memoir assures the reader that although cancer is bad in so many ways, it can lead to a better understanding of self and the universe that surrounds us.

    Bill McClain

  3. I have iPlayer etc on my iPad so I can catch up on TV whilst in bed. I’ve started a blog too. It gives me something to write about when I’m up to it and takes my mind off things a bit. Using Twitter a lot recently too for local things to keep a sense of community when stuck in. I have Psoriatic Arthritis so it can fluctuate from day-to-day. I’m lucky I’m still managing to work some hours but this post is great for my days at home and bad days. Great read, thanks.

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