Happy National Healthcare Decisions Day!

As the new recipient of National Carpe Diem Day, I feel it’s my responsibility to properly “seize” and celebrate every day, and that includes today, which is, among other things: National Healthcare Decisions Day! 

NHDD is about being prepared with healthcare decisions and having crucial conversations with your loved ones. You can check out the variety of resources available on the site and check out this blog post for ways to connect and celebrate National Healthcare Decisions Day.

I’m inspired to write this blog post because I stumbled upon a Fitbit Community blog today, asking readers to “Share Joy.”  Responses included quotidian things like:

  • Daffodils blooming
  • Clean kitchen drawers
  • Snuggling pups
  • Birds singing

just to name a few. Many of the responses noted (often quite poetically) having more time for creativity,  relaxation, bonding, and connectedness.

Inspired by this blog, I found Fitbit’s Community Blog Program with April’s theme being none other than National Healthcare Decisions Day and “hard healthcare decisions”:

You may know that National Healthcare Decisions Day is in April. We all face tough healthcare decisions in our life, whether it’s for ourselves or someone else we love. What have you faced? How did you make the decision? What data did you use? What support did you need – and how did it change your life? 

My tough decision was this: About a year and a half ago, I was told I had two degenerative back problems (severe scoliosis and osteoporosis). One doctor sounded so dire that it sounded as though I needed to prepare myself for a life of pain.

After talking to my kids about it, my daughter suggested I get a second opinion and that doctor was much more optimistic.

However, given the uncertainty of my future, I decided to retire a bit early, and make my health a priority. Most doctors agreed I should stop running, but, instead I did more weightlifting, walking, and dancing, avoiding anything that would compress my spine.

I’ve never felt healthier and happier since making these changes. I miss my work and running, but giving those things up have allowed me to have more time to travel and pursue other hobbies. I enjoyed a wonderful 60-weeks-until-60 project, having a different adventure every week. 

I know that many people are suffering from hardships associated with the coronavirus, but I’ve been lucky. My friends and family are healthy and most are able to work from home.

So for me, similar to giving up running and my job, the changes due to the coronavirus have brought unexpected benefits. I actually have found more connection than ever with so many opportunities to help, to learn and to connect online. It’s heartwarming to see the world unite and work to collectively and creatively find ways to help one another.

Thinking about a future of pain or even thinking about death is scary, but facing those fears and making some decisions may help us cope better and feel more prepared should our worst fears be realized.

Let’s take today to be grateful for all the joys in our life, with renewed commitment to live each day fully (and at ease with our healthcare decisions)!

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