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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges and their family caregivers, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.

I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Here is this week’s question:

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION:  You write about cultivation of medical self-efficacy,  but how can those of us without any medical background develop that knowledge and skill?

 ANSWER:   You don’t really need a medical background. What I recommend is the following:

Learn everything you can about your specific diagnoses.

Learn about all the various treatments for your condition.

Get the name of someone in your area who specializes in your diagnosis and work with that clinician. Depending on where you live, it may mean traveling.

Get into a study. My immunologist at UCSF recommended a study at NIH. I didn’t meet the exclusion criteria for that study due to all my co-morbid conditions, so, I asked the researcher to find me another study. She did, and I’ve been going to NIH in Bethesda for the past five years. All tests and treatments are free to study participants as long as you remain in the study and there are travel reimbersements.

Prepare for every appointment with a complete list of your most important questions. Take out your mobile device and record the discussions. When you get home, transcribe it onto a document, which you will be able to easily refer to in the future. Keep that document in your mobile device or tablet for easy reference.

Read my book (release date January 2014) entitled In Your Own Hands: New Hope for People with Chronic Medical Conditions—Mindfulness-Based Practices for Mastery and Wellbeing.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health? 

Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box. I will post a reply to your comment, but your question may not appear in this column. 

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