a man carrying a pill bottle on his back

More of My Thoughts on Medication Compliance

Recently I shared that I had been experiencing some health issues after a period of non-compliance with my medication. After that results call with my doctor's office, I spent time and got myself organized, determined to change my results.

Seeing lab work improvements

After a week of being a good girl and taking my medications as I should, I went back for another set of lab work. Two of the particularly concerning results had decreased by approximately 50% each within that 1 week. Still above the desired range, but drastic improvements.

Coming to terms with relying on medication

New tests that were conducted all came back the way we had hoped - negative. Thankfully, that eliminated the possibility of another chronic condition. The results were as I had expected, but the doctor still wanted to run them.

All of the usual test results had improved with my medication adherence. That's a good thing and a bad thing. The good part is that the medication works. The bad part is that I have to depend on medication (yes, I'm stubborn! I already know this). I've struggled with medication compliance for some time.

An emphasis on mental struggles with medication compliance is needed

The common theme across numerous academic and professional sources regarding medication adherence is to remove the barriers the patient has to take medications. The one thing that was not always addressed in the dozen or so articles I read reviewed was mental barriers to medication adherence.

My journey with bladder cancer

Having been a healthy child, teen, and adult until the age of 40, I was still viewing taking medications regularly as something that only older people did. At 40 years old, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. While I survived it and am cancer-free, the aftermath has left me with a growing list of physical challenges that have led to needing more medications on an ongoing basis. At 45 years old, I did not want to consider myself as "old."

My struggle with medical PTSD

The other mental barrier I needed to overcome is medical PTSD. In my 20's and 30's, I was the caretaker for my father, who had a completely different set of medical conditions. I witnessed a lot that no parent ever would want their daughter to witness. At 40 years old, when I received my own major diagnosis, I had surreal moments where I "watched" myself move through some harrowing situations and extremely close calls. Things I would never want to see a loved one have to endure, let alone experience them myself.

The lasting impact of trauma on my medication compliance

Those kinds of things leave a lasting impression on a person. You would think that I would have wanted to dive headfirst into medication compliance because of those experiences. Still, the trauma and accumulation of them all blinded, and sometimes paralyzed me, figuratively. In other words, I couldn't see the forest for the trees, as the phrase goes.

Accepting that I'm dependent on medications

My past experiences were getting in the way of my present. It took a lot of journaling and therapy to get through to that. I'm not quite clear of it, but I'm getting better. It all boils down to it that I am begrudgingly admitting that I'll likely be dependent on medications for the remainder of my life.

This is not what I wanted life to look like at this point. It is what it looks like at this point, though. I will adapt, change and get used to it.

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