Sam Peaceful-Day lives with Transverse Myelitis and is supported by Anya de Iongh, her self-management coach, to manage her health needs and live well.
Here, Sam and Anya reflect on the difference health coaching has made for Sam’s life.
My new doctor gave me a leaflet. I ignored it, just like I had ignored the depression I was in, due to years of pain and fatigue caused by Transverse Myelitis which makes me one in a million! It was a rare virus that affected my nervous system. But like millions of others my days had become disorganised and shorter - my life mostly put on HOLD.
But I rang… a friendly voice invited me to meet a self-management coach who told me all about the things they do to help. ‘Who could help me?’ I thought negatively as I dragged my numb, heavy feet and legs in and out of the taxi to the first meeting. I have not looked back since that day - my self-management coach has become my life saver!
The first thing to be arranged was a meeting with a pain clinic - my medication was completely changed after six years and this has made a real difference to how I feel. I have found my trust with my coach and they have helped to rebuild my confidence, by setting small do-able daily goals and one or two that really challenge me!
They also organise social meetings once a month which is really good to meet up with all the other groups and people struggling along like me. This meeting together I have found to be amazingly good - a real boost - and I feel a lot better for having some company again. I am getting out and about and the dog is even getting two walks a day!
I am also back swimming this month which I had given up on. And I plan to go riding with RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) once the weather warms some more. I feel stronger and happier. Illness is not easy, we all need a little help now and then.
As Sam’s coach, it has been a privilege to see her confidence in living with her health condition grow. Self-management is about managing the conditions, symptoms and appointments as a patient, which Sam has done, but it is also about supporting the emotional and day to day impact of all of that too. Sam has worked really hard at finding solutions to feel more confident in all of these areas. She is an inspiration to us all!