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A plate sits on a table cut up into multiple pieces with a hand on each side, on each piece of the meat is a task grilled into the meat. A hand holding a fork has plucked a piece of the steak up. Black, female, nails, food, eat, bites, knife, fork, broccoli

That Could Have Been 2 Bites

I am sure every parent had had those times when a child inserted more food in their mouth than they thought possible. When that happened at our table, the child was gently chided, "That could have been 2 bites."

My kids tease me and say it was one of many dad sayings that have haunted them well into adulthood. It was a gentle, humorous way to get the little person to think before taking huge bites and risking choking. It also cuts down on chewing with an open mouth.

For those facing ongoing medical challenges, it may be helpful to employ the same wisdom.

Being completely overwhelmed

When I was diagnosed, I remember being completely overwhelmed. So many decisions had to be made, all within a matter of seemingly, minutes. Had I known then what I know now, I would have been less overwhelmed and more able to process the exciting news.

If you are faced with many decisions and plans, I recommend employing the wisdom of breaking them down as far as possible. First and foremost, take a few deep breaths.

What works best for you?

I am a huge fan of whiteboards: nice lines and diagrams, and planning points. Take time to make some notes and lists if it helps you. Use whatever works best for you.

Break the situation into manageable "bites." What has to be done today? What support do you need for transportation or treatment? Who is available, and at what times to help you? What insurance questions need to be answered? Can anyone help with that?

Taken all at one time, this becomes too much real soon. Broken down and addressed in some rational order can relieve some of the stress.

Divide and conquer

My wife is super organized about medical stuff and keeps me on track.

She knows when my appointments are and if I need any tests or bloodwork ahead of time. I cannot thank her enough for taking that stress off my shoulders.

My kids will come by and help with anything around the house if I am unable. Knowing they are a resource if I need them helps minimize worrying about the little things.

I have 1 personal day a year at my job, and my dispatcher knows I use it for my scope day. That may sound like a small thing, but it is one less thing I have to be concerned about.

Who can you depend on?

Make a list of support people. Some may be willing to drive, and others may be able to sit with you at a doctor's office.

If the appointment promises to be a stressful one, I highly recommend taking someone to listen and take notes. The calendar feature on a cell phone or tablet is also a great way to stay on top of appointments and needed tests.

Having Jan with me was so helpful. I missed so much of what was said. My mind was headed into some really dark regions, and she was able to listen and hold information for later.

Take everything in bites

Taking everything in "one bite" is daunting, to say the least. Taking it in smaller nibbles may well be the key to not choking. Take time to live your best life, and make it a daily practice.

Be well, my friends.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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