Thursday, November 7, 2013


Assessment and Reflection

It’s been 30 days and as the ICHope Module recommends, I went back online to re-take the assessment portion of the Module.  

As I completed the questions in the first 10 percent of the assessment, I was told that based on my answers, my pain level is in the severe range, which is the same as it was 30 days ago. The Module recommends that I talk with my doctor about my progress, which I am actually doing. I feel good that, even though there has been no change in pain level, I am actively working on this with my doctor as the Module suggests. 

The Module helps with three important areas when it comes to helping us “manage our pain”:
  1. Finding and working with a healthcare provider who is committed to helping you manage your IC pain.
  2. Doing what you can do to manage your pain.
  3. Staying hopeful and empowered.
For me, I feel I already have #1 worked out. My doctor is committed to helping me and is always looking for ways to manage my pain. He has never given up on me, where I believe other doctors might have a long time ago. This is a never ending challenge for a patient like me who doesn’t respond to pain management therapies, but my doctor and I always discuss this at every appointment. It is ever present, and I am comfortable with where we are in this process.

However, #2 and #3 are areas where I feel the Module gives me, personally, the most benefit. I am doing all I can to work on improving my pain, including being actively engaged in the process as recommended. The Module gives me key tips to help me find strategies to cope and remain positive. Proceeding through the assessment for the second time reinforces the things I know I need to work on and keeps the strategies in the forefront of my thinking. 

These are all strategies I have learned over the years and have talked about in therapy and written about in my Blog. However, to see them in this Module really did two things for me. It made me realize that these are scientifically proven techniques that can really make a difference in how I manage and cope with my IC pain and also helped me see I am heading down the right path.

By going through the assessment a second time, I discovered that I have made progress in certain areas of self management and will continue using the tools and working toward making necessary changes. In other areas, I found out that I am now in the Maintenance stage, which means I am doing what I need to do in order to manage and control my self-care strategies. Repeating the assessment gives you an opportunity to see where you are in the process of self management and get suggestions about finding alternatives if a particular strategy isn’t working. If you are stuck in a certain stage and need to move on to the next, the Module gives you the tools to create an action plan.

I loved the section at the end of the assessment where you can evaluate your self-image. This is something that has changed for me over the course of my IC journey. I started therapy because I was feeling powerless, defeated, negative—all things many of us go through. By using the Module, I realized that I am moving the needle on these feelings. I am more positive and more in control of my care—I no longer feel hopeless. To be able to actually see that I have made progress in the area of self image is really empowering. 

I hope everyone is working with the ICHope Self Management Module. There is so much to be learned about yourself, where you are emotionally in dealing with your IC pain, and ways to make changes!

ICHope Module

Be The Change

You can also read this on the ICA Voices of Hope Blog

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